Oregon Football: Quarterly Report on the Ducks Part I

Brandon OliverContributor ISeptember 23, 2013

Oregon Football: Quarterly Report on the Ducks Part I

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    Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

    The 2nd-ranked Oregon Ducks are off to an impressive start in Mark Helfrich's first season at the helm. The Ducks are rolling their opponents by an average score of 63-9 in the first three games and, if you ask them, they haven't been very sharp. 

    There are just a few teams in the country that are even capable of beating the Ducks when the Ducks are on their game, but when conference play starts, things can get a little challenging. Teams know the style of play, they know the tempo, they know the personnel and they all want revenge on the Pac-12's highest flying program.

    Only Cal, Stanford and USC have beaten the Ducks more than once over the last six seasons. The Bears, Cardinal and the Trojans have all beaten the Ducks at home and at Autzen Stadium in recent years.

    Everyone else? No such luck.

    Here's a look at what has happened and what's to come as the Ducks march on towards what they hope will be a magical season, ending with a berth in the final BCS Championship Game.

Only Cal, Stanford and USC Have Beaten the Ducks More Than Once Since 2007

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    Mark Helfrich has things rolling for the 2nd-ranked Ducks during an impressive 3-0 start in his first year as a head coach.
    Mark Helfrich has things rolling for the 2nd-ranked Ducks during an impressive 3-0 start in his first year as a head coach.Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    The Ducks two biggest rivals, Oregon State and Washington, have lost five and nine straight, respectively. Cal last beat the Ducks in a sloppy, turnover-laden game in Berkeley in 2008. Washington State last toppled the Ducks in 2006.

    Arizona and UCLA both benefited from a depleted Oregon roster to defeat the Ducks in 2007. Oregon raced out to a No. 2 ranking before seeing half of their starters have their seasons come to an end due to injuries. Arizona State has been even less fortunate against the Ducks—having not defeated the Ducks since 2004, the Ducks only losing season in two decades.

    Neither Colorado or Utah has defeated the Ducks since joining the league in 2009. The Utes last beat the Ducks in 2003 when the Ducks traveled to Salt Lake City for an out of conference tilt. After smashing the Ducks in the 1996 Cotton Bowl and again in the 1998 Aloha Bowl, Colorado has lost three straight to the Ducks. 

    Arizona State and USC have the benefit of missing the Ducks in the regular season but could face them should they square off in the Pac-12 Championship Game.  

    With the Ducks' recent dominance, they have clearly surpassed the Trojans as their Pac-12 rivals' prime target. Now that the non-conference slate is mostly in the rear view mirror, let's take a look back and a look ahead at the Ducks 2013 season.

The Numbers for Oregon Are as Impressive as They Ever Were Under Chip Kelly

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    QB Marcus Mariota is off to an incredible start in 2013. His play has led the Ducks to new heights under Mark Helfrich.
    QB Marcus Mariota is off to an incredible start in 2013. His play has led the Ducks to new heights under Mark Helfrich.Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    The big question was whether or not the Ducks would fall off after losing coach Chip Kelly, Kenjon Barner, Kyle Long and many other valuable players after the Ducks' 2012 season, that left them as the defending Fiesta Bowl champions.

    The answer has been a resounding no thus far. 

    Marcus Mariota is one of the best players in the country. De'Anthony Thomas is the country's most dynamic and explosive star and the Ducks' wide receivers have turned the corner and taken their game to a whole new level of play.

    The Ducks defense is better than advertised in spite of the fact that they lost Dion Jordan and Kiko Alonso to the NFL draft and leading tackler Michael Clay after last season.

     

    The Numbers (National Rank):

    Offense:

    Total Offense- 672 (2nd)

    Passing Yards/Game- 316 (18th)

    Rushing Yards/Game- 355 (2nd)

    Points/Game- 62.3 (2nd)

     

    Defense:

    Total Defense- 319 (30th)

    Points Allowed/Game- 9 (T-5th)

    Passing Yards Allowed/Game- 189.3 (36th)

    Rushing Yards Allowed/Game- 129 (43rd)

    Yards Per Rush Allowed- 3.41 

The Ducks Have Been Dominant Through Three Games with an Average Margin of 63-9.

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    Heisman Trophy candidates Marcus Mariota and De'Anthony Thomas have helped the Ducks race out to a 3-0 start.
    Heisman Trophy candidates Marcus Mariota and De'Anthony Thomas have helped the Ducks race out to a 3-0 start.Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

    August 31 vs. Nicholls State @ Autzen Stadium

    The 411: Helfrich opened his head coaching career with a gimme against FCS bottom-feeder Nicholls State. The Ducks got off to a 38-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 66-3 win that could have been much worse. 

    Star of the Game: Quarterback Marcus Mariota threw for an easy 234 yards and a touchdown while adding 113 yards and two scores on just five carries.

    Stat(s) of the Game: The Ducks had three players break the 100-yard mark in a single game for the first time in school history, en route to a school record 772 yards—500 of those yards came on the ground. 

    De'Anthony Thomas and Byron Marshall joined Mariota in the triple digits. Thomas led the Ducks with 128 yards and two TDs. Marshall added 124 yards on just eight carries.

     

    September 6 vs. Virginia @ Scott Stadium

    The 411: The Ducks traveled to Charlottesville for their furthest game from home in decades, and the time change did little to affect their performance. Oregon tallied 557 yards of total offense, 350 of which came on the ground.

    Marcus Mariota wasn't at his best through the air as he threw for just 199 yards, but he did have two TDs. He also rushed for 122 yards on just four carries, including a 71-yard scoring dash up the middle on the opening drive that set the tone for the game.

    Star of the Game: De'Anthony Thomas rushed 11 times for 124 yards and three TDs, including a breathtaking 40-yard run around the edge.

    Stat of the Game: Thomas Tyner, Oregon's top recruit in the class of 2013, rushed for 51 yards and two TDs on just four carries in his first college action.

     

    September 13 vs. Tennessee @ Autzen Stadium

    The 411: After getting blasted 48-13 in Knoxville during the 2010 season, Tennessee completed the home and home by being dealt their worst loss is over 100 years. The Ducks' 59-14 win could have been much worse—they actually trailed 7-3 with six minutes to go in the first quarter and then coasted with the reserves in the 4th quarter.

    Star(s) of the Game: Mariota put himself right in the discussion for the Heisman Trophy by throwing for 456 yards and four TDs. He also added 27 yards and a TD on the ground.

    With star tight end Colt Lyerla out with an illness, freshman John Mundt burst on the scene with five catches for 121 yards and two TDs.

    Stat(s) of the Game: Mariota's 456 yards were the third most in school history. He's the first Oregon QB to surpass 400 yards since Kellen Clemens did it in 2005.

    The win pushed the Ducks record vs. the SEC to 4-2 since the turn of the century.

Cal Is on Tap for the Ducks in September

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    Cal's freshman QB Jared Goff leads the nation with 435 passing yards per game.
    Cal's freshman QB Jared Goff leads the nation with 435 passing yards per game.Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

    Saturday, September 28 vs. Cal @ Autzen Stadium

    After a bye over the weekend, the Ducks face the struggling, yet high-powered Golden Bears on Saturday as they look to reach 4-0. 

    Cal lost 44-30 to No. 16 Northwestern in Berkeley to open the Sonny Dykes era. Two deflected interceptions that were returned for touchdowns were the difference for the Wildcats.

    The Bears struggled against FCS Portland State in Week 2 but won 37-30 after falling behind 20-10. In their last game, the Bears put up points against 3rd-ranked Ohio State, but the defense was once again gashed and Cal fell 52-34.

     

    The Numbers (National Rank):

    Offense:

    Total Offense- 556 (9th)

    Pass Yards/Game- 438.7 (2nd)

    Rush Yards/Game- 117.3 (97th)

    Points/Game- 33.7 (53rd)

     

    Defense:

    Total Defense- 556.3 (121st)

    Pass Yards/Game- 294 (110th)

    Rush Yards/Game- 262 (121st)

    Points/Game- 42 (119th)

Colorado Is 2-0 to Start the Year for the First Time Since 2008

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    Ralphie isn't the only one running wild in Folsom Field as the Buffaloes are 2-0 for the first time in six seasons
    Ralphie isn't the only one running wild in Folsom Field as the Buffaloes are 2-0 for the first time in six seasonsDoug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Saturday, October 5 vs. Colorado @ Folsom Field

    Colorado is off to a 2-0 start and look better than they have in years.

    They defeated rival Colorado State 41-27 and Central Arkansas 38-24 in the first two weeks before the flooding in Colorado forced them to postpone their matchup with Fresno State.

     

    The Numbers (National Rank):

    Offense:

    Total Offense- 467 (44th)

    Pass Yards/Game- 370.5 (7th)

    Rush Yards/Game- 96.5 (110th)

    Points/Game- 39.5 (31st)

     

    Defense:

    Total Defense- 317.5 (29th)

    Pass Yards/Game- 240.5 (75th)

    Rush Yards/Game- 77 (7th)

    Points/Game- 25.5 (68th)

Is This the Year the Huskies Get over the Hump in the Pac-12?

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    A new attitude have QB Keith Price and the Huskies are rolling along at 3-0.
    A new attitude have QB Keith Price and the Huskies are rolling along at 3-0.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Saturday, October 12 vs. Washington @ Husky Stadium

    After a few years of mediocrity, Steve Sarkisian has the Huskies playing as well as they have in a decade. The Huskies have a solid senior quarterback, a very talented group of skill position players and a much-improved defense.

    They dominated Boise State, won a cross-country road game and shutout an inferior FCS opponent. None of those things would have happened in previous years. 

    The Ducks have beaten the Huskies nine straight by an average of almost three touchdowns. With this year's tilt in a renovated Husky Stadium, the Huskies' chances of ending the streak are as good as they have been in years.

     

    The Numbers (National Rank):

    Offense:

    Total Offense- 629 (3rd)

    Pass Yards/Game- 325.3 (17th)

    Rush Yards/Game- 303.7 (9th)

    Points/Game- 42.7 (18th)

     

    Defense:

    Total Defense- 279 (12th)

    Pass Yards/Game- 169.3 (22nd)

    Rush Yards/Game- 109.7 (25th)

    Points/Game- 10 (8th)

Washington State Is off to Their Best Start in Years in Pullman

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    After almost taking down Auburn down South, Mike Leach and the Cougars took down USC in Los Angeles and sit at 3-1.
    After almost taking down Auburn down South, Mike Leach and the Cougars took down USC in Los Angeles and sit at 3-1.Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

    Saturday, October 19 vs. Washington State @ Autzen Stadium

    The Cougars are vastly improved now that Mike Leach has been able to put his mark on the program. They should have beaten Auburn in Auburn, and they beat USC in Los Angeles. Their defense is tough and gives them the ability to stay in almost any game.

    They sit at 3-1 and could be headed for their first bowl game in years.

     

    The Numbers (National Rank):

    Offense:

    Total Offense- 391.8 (73rd)

    Pass Yards/Game- 328.8 (16th)

    Rush Yards/Game- 63 (119th)

    Points/Game- 31 (61st)

     

    Defense:

    Total Defense- 264.8 (10th)

    Pass Yards/Game- 118.3 (2nd)

    Rush Yards/Game- 146.5 (54th)

    Points/Game- 12 (13th)

Despite a Tragedy, the Bruins Have Triumphed Thus Far in 2013

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    Brett Hundley and the Bruins ran away from Nebraska and look like a serious contender for a BCS berth.
    Brett Hundley and the Bruins ran away from Nebraska and look like a serious contender for a BCS berth.Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

    Saturday, October 26 vs. UCLA @ Autzen Stadium

    UCLA has been as impressive as anyone in the league and maybe the country with a high-powered offense and a tougher-than-expected defense. The Bruins lost a teammate to a tragic accident, so the talented and emerging Bruins have even more to play for as they continue their Los Angeles takeover. 

    The monopoly is over—just a little later than expected.

     

    The Numbers (National Rank):

    Offense:

    Total Offense- 614 (4th)

    Pass Yards/Game- 330 (14th)

    Rush Yards/Game- 284.3 (12th)

    Points/Game- 52.7 (3rd)

     

    Defense:

    Total Defense- 329 (40th)

    Pass Yards/Game- 177 (28th)

    Rush Yards/Game-162 (69th)

    Points/Game- 18 (31st)

Stanford Looked Every Bit of What They Were Thought to Be vs. Arizona State

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    After a lackluster first two games, 5th-ranked Stanford dominated Arizona State in the first half on Saturday.
    After a lackluster first two games, 5th-ranked Stanford dominated Arizona State in the first half on Saturday.Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

    Thursday, November 7 vs. Stanford @ Stanford Stadium

    Despite the fact they won easily, Stanford was unimpressive in its first two games against San Jose State and Army. On Saturday, they looked every bit of a top-five team in rolling out to a 29-0 lead on then-No. 23 Arizona State. ASU made a furious comeback against the Cardinal backups but Stanford put an end to it and made their statement in the end.

    They are the toughest matchup for the Ducks year in and year out and this year's game, a Thursday night national TV matchup, will have the eyes of the country on Palo Alto.

     

    The Numbers (National Rank):

    Offense:

    Total Offense- 399 (T-69th)

    Pass Yards/Game- 187.7 (97th)

    Rush Yards/Game- 211.3 (41st)

    Points/Game- 36.7 (T-43rd)

     

    Defense:

    Total Defense- 333.7 (36th)

    Pass Yards/Game- 210.7 (54th)

    Rush Yards/Game- 123 (39th)

    Points/Game- 20.3 (T-42nd)

Utah Is on the Right Track in 2013 with a 3-1 Start to the Year

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    Utah is 3-1 with their only loss coming in overtime to conference for Oregon State
    Utah is 3-1 with their only loss coming in overtime to conference for Oregon StateChris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

    Saturday, October 16th vs. Utah @ Autzen Stadium

    Utah is off to a 3-1 start after winning the annual "Holy War" against BYU on Saturday.

    The Utes lost in overtime to Oregon State but they have been mostly impressive in 2013. The schedule is about to go to another level, but the Utes look like a lower-level bowl team in 2013.

     

    The Numbers (National Rank):

    Offense:

    Total Offense- 504.8 (20th)

    Pass Yards/Game- 286 (29th)

    Rush Yards/Game- 218.8 (36th)

    Points/Game- 42 (21st)

     

    Defense:

    Total Defense: 406.5 (73rd)

    Pass Yards/Game- 288.3 (108th)

    Rush Yards/Game- 118.3 (33rd)

    Points/Game- 24.3 (61st)

Arizona Is Always a Tough Place to Play and the Wildcats Have Looked Good Early

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    It hasn't exactly been a murderer's row schedule for the Wildcats but they are 3-0 with three blowout wins on the season
    It hasn't exactly been a murderer's row schedule for the Wildcats but they are 3-0 with three blowout wins on the seasonCasey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

    Saturday, November 23rd vs. Arizona @ Arizona Stadium

    Arizona is off to a dominant 3-0 start against a weak schedule. They travel to Washington and to USC in the next two weeks, so checking back with the Wildcats in two weeks would be a good idea.

    The Wildcats have given the Ducks some trouble in Tucson over years and a late season visit could be a challenge for the Ducks.

     

    The Numbers (National Rank):

    Offense:

    Total Offense- 431 (58th)

    Pass Yards/Game- 108.7 (177th)

    Rush Yards/Game- 322.3 (5th)

    Points/Game- 43.7 (15th)

     

    Defense:

    Total Defense- 310.3 (26th)

    Pass Yards/Game- 192.7 (41st)

    Rush Yards/Game- 117.7 (31st)

    Points/Game- 8.7 (T-3rd)

Oregon State Has Bounced Back from a Rough Start and Now Sits at 3-1 Overall

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    After an upset loss to FCS Eastern Washington in week one, the Beavers have recovered by winning three straight.
    After an upset loss to FCS Eastern Washington in week one, the Beavers have recovered by winning three straight.Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

    Friday, November 29 vs. Oregon State @ Autzen Stadium

    Oregon State, who began the year ranked 23rd, is off to a 3-1 start despite losing the opener to FCS power Eastern Washington to start the season.

    The Beavers have bounced back with three-straight wins, including a come-from-behind road win at San Diego State on Saturday. The passing offense, lead by QB Sean Mannion and WR Brandin Cooks is among the nation's best. The run game and the defense will need to improve in a big way if they hope to compete in the Pac-12.

     

    The Numbers (National Rank):

    Offense:

    Total Offense- 475.8 (38th)

    Pass Yards/Game- 420.8 (3rd)

    Rush Yards/Game- 55 (121st)

    Points/Game- 41 (T-24th)

     

    Defense:

    Total Defense- 432 (92nd)

    Pass Yards/Game- 287 (107th)

    Rush Yards/Game- 145 (52nd)

    Points/Game- 35.3 (107th)