This past Saturday, the Oregon Ducks traveled to Seattle, Wash. to face one of their bitter rivals in the Washington Huskies.
After the first quarter, there was good reason for Oregon fans to become a bit worried.
The Huskies shut out the Ducks in the first. If it weren't for the repeated stand-up performances by the Oregon defense, the Huskies probably would have held a lead larger than three points going into the second quarter.
But all it took was one amazing play on special teams for the Ducks to bring themselves right back into the game.
A blocked punt by Rory Cavaille rolled into the end zone, and was fell upon by another Ducks player, resulting in a touchdown. Nate Costa then ran in the ball for a successful two point conversion.
In a matter of seconds, the Ducks took the lead, and never looked back.
This was the second game in a row where Oregon's special teams acted as the catalyst.
And even though the 43-19 score would indicate that Oregon dominated the Huskies yet again—the sixth time in a row to be exact—Oregon did not play a perfect game.
The Ducks committed nine penalties for 88 yards, the most penalties the Ducks have committed all season.
Many of these penalties were ones that are completely inexcusable. Holding, false starts, hands to the face, and illegal blocking in the back. All of these penalties are 100 percent avoidable if the players are disciplined, and Chip Kelly is one hell of a disciplinarian.
Maybe the fact that the game was a rivalry contributed to the amount of penalties called.
But if Oregon is going to beat USC, they cannot make as many mistakes as they did against Washington.
Oregon State proved that even USC is vulnerable at home. The Trojans barely held off a late rally to escape with a victory.
What does this say about how vulnerable USC is on the road? Well, for one, they lost to the Washington Huskies by three points in Seattle.
But aside from that lone hiccup, USC has played well this season.
If Oregon is going to beat USC, the Ducks' offensive and defensive lines need to keep performing at the level that they have been ever since the Boise State fiasco.
This game has all the makings for a disaster for the Ducks.
ESPN College Gameday is coming. The game is in Eugene, which could help to create a sense of overconfidence in the team and/or fan base.
This game could very well decide who goes to the Rose Bowl, and who goes to San Diego thinking about what could have been.
Chip Kelly will have his men prepared mentally and physically for the game.
I call each and every Duck fan to be prepared as well.
The game is this Saturday. The Ducks haven't won yet, nor have they lost yet.
Keep a level head Duck fans. We've still got a long way to go before the blackout on Halloween night at Autzen.