Purdue's Train Will Not "Keep A Rollin'" Against the Oregon Ducks

Bleacher ReportAnalyst ISeptember 6, 2009

Music can have a very calming effect on the mind, body, and soul.

However, while I was listening to a great rendition of Aerosmith's "Train Kept a Rollin'" I could experience nothing but pure anticipation for the Oregon Ducks' upcoming home opener against the Purdue Boilermakers.

There are many reasons for my severe impatience.

One reason could be that I will be playing in the Oregon Marching Band for the first time, one of the best college marching bands in the Western United States.

Another could simply be that I am as huge of a Duck fan as you will ever meet.

But more importantly, the main reason why I am experiencing severe bouts of anticipation is that the Ducks have a golden opportunity for redemption when the rebuilding Purdue Boilermakers come to Eugene.

It's truly amazing how the actions of one person can severely affect the integrity of an organization.

Of course, I am referring to Oregon's former starting running back LeGarrette Blount.

No matter where I was located after this past Thursday's contest between the Oregon Ducks and the Boise State Broncos, I was bombarded with images of Blount's infamous sucker-punch that cost him his senior year.

All the effort that former coach Mike Bellotti put into bringing the Oregon Ducks into national prominence was flushed down the crapper when Blount made that fatal decision.

I commend current head coach Chip Kelly, and now Oregon athletic director Mike Bellotti for their swift and just actions.

Now Oregon needs to put these losses, both the loss against the Broncos and the loss of LeGarrette Blount, behind them and start to prepare for their upcoming matchup against the Purdue Boilermakers.

How can we forsee this matchup unfolding?

First, let's analyze Oregon's loss this past Thursday.

It was clear from the opening kickoff that both teams would play sloppily.

Walter Thrumond III returned the opening kickoff to the Ducks' 42-yard line; a good start to the game.

However, Oregon's offense could not record a first down.

The Ducks' opening drive was highlighted by a first down pass from Jeremiah Masoli to Jeff Maehl that was thrown behind the receiver. Maehl caught the pass but was tackled for a meager one yard gain.

The next play was a handoff to redshirt freshman running back LaMichael James for a gain of five yards.

Then on third-and-four, Masoli threw an incomplete pass, resulting in a three and out.

Boise State's first drive was better than Oregon's, but resulted in a missed field goal by the Broncos.

Fast forwarding through the first half, Oregon had not yet recorded a first down, and had gained a meager 14 yards of total offense.

Then in the third quarter, Oregon's offense started to show why it was feared across the nation last season. Jeremiah Masoli threw for four consecutive first downs, and ran the ball in for a score, completing a 54-yard drive in under three minutes.

The kicker? Oregon's lone scoring drive did not involve a certain running back by the name of LeGarrette Blount.

In the fourth quarter however, Oregon was plagued by the same menace that haunted them in the first half, missed opportunities.

Both the Broncos and the Ducks turned the ball over back and forth throughout the second half, with Oregon never being able to dig themselves out of the hole they made for themselves in the first half.

The name of the game this past Thursday was missed opportunities.

Had the Oregon offense been able to convert Boise's missed field goals into touchdowns in the first quarter, the Ducks would have won the game.

Both teams played awful, Boise just was not as bad.

Of course, for a new head coach like Chip Kelly, calling the game from the field as compared to calling the game from the box is a huge change, and required at least one game for adjustment.

Yes, I would have liked to see Oregon open up Kelly's coaching career with a victory, but the loss is not the end of the world.

It was only one game.

On the other hand, the Purdue Boilermakers will be coming into Autzen Stadium this coming Saturday undefeated.

However, the victory Purdue recorded against the Toledo Rockets was anything but a perfect game.

Both squads recorded three turnovers, and converted close to 50 percent of their third down attempts.

The Boilermakers did score 52 points, but gave up 31.

They gained 535 yards of total offense, but allowed 493.

The biggest difference for the Boilermakers was passing yards. The Rockets out-threw the Boilermakers 423 yards to 220.

The biggest difference for the Rockets was rushing yards. The Boilermakers ran up, around, over, and through the Rockets, 315 yards worth to be exact.

Now comes the time to predict how Oregon will handle their upcoming home opener against Purdue.

First off, Oregon will be able to play in near-pristine weather. Last season, strong gusts of wind messed with the Ducks all game in West Lafayette, IN, and barely escaped with an overtime victory.

Second, the Purdue Boilermakers have a new coach of their own. This will be Danny Hope's second game as head coach of Purdue football.

Thirdly, the Boilermakers are in a rebuilding mode. Nicknamed "Quarterback University" by many sports analysts, the Boilermakers have been struggling mightily in the Big Ten (11).

Now that Chip Kelly has a full game of head coaching under his belt, I believe the Ducks will be fine.

Like I said before, going from calling the game from the booth to calling the game from the sidelines is a HUGE change.

Many sports analysts will say that Oregon will not be able to make up for the loss of LeGarrette Blount, a 1000 yard back from last season.

Don't be fooled. The Ducks have a large crop of agile, capable, speedy, and swift running backs.

Redshirt freshman LaMichael James will most likely get the nod at starting running back, but senior Andre Crenshaw will also be getting many snaps.

Other sports analysts will tell you that Oregon's defense will not be strong enough to compete in the Pac-10 this year. Again don't be fooled.

What most people have overlooked about the Boise State game is that despite losing stalwarts Nick Reed, Jairus Byrd, and Patrick Chung from last season's defense, the Oregon defense played a much improved game against the Broncos as compared to last season's rendition.

And yet even more analysts will tell you that Oregon's offensive line is too inexperienced, and not strong enough to help out Oregon's spread-option offense.

While Oregon's offense line does not have much starting experience, all but one lineman played extensive amounts of snaps last season.

The offensive line did not play well against the Broncos, but as I stated before, it was the first game of the season. Things can only get better from here.

Mainly, sports fans should look for the Ducks to come out sprinting on Saturday against the Boilermakers.

Oregon has to prove to the nation that LeGarrette Blount's absence won't affect the Oregon offense as negatively as people make it out to be.

I would not worry too much. Oregon's team, albeit young, has many talented players, and a great coaching staff to help develop the raw talent into something great.

The Boilermaker's train will not "keep a rollin'" this Saturday.


Oregon Ducks: 27  

Purdue Boilermakers: 13


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