All season long Oregon's offense ran the opposition out of the building. The Ducks had scored at will putting up 50-something points every time they took the field. It looked as if there was nothing that could slow down the Ducks' offense...then they played Cal.
Oregon could not get it going last week. The offense was flat, and the California defense hit the Ducks in the mouth all night long. After Oregon pulled out the victory there was buzz around the country that maybe the Ducks weren't the number one team in the nation.
Really? Oregon still remained undefeated and proved that they can win games even if the team doesn't bring its "A" game.
The Ducks' offense had a season low 317 yards and only accounted for one touchdown. For the first time all year Oregon wasn't able to rely on its offense to win the game. If the Ducks were going to pull this one out they were going to have to thrive in other facets of the game, and that's what they did.
Towards the end of the second quarter all world punt returner Cliff Harris returned a punt 64 yards for a touchdown which, with a successful two-point conversion, gave Oregon an 8-7 lead. Harris has been dynamite all year long in the return game, and he came up big when his team needed him the most.
The Ducks would score once more in the beginning of the third quarter on a 29 yard touchdown reception from Jeff Mahel. That would be the last time Oregon put any points on the board.
This week Oregon's under-rated defense won the game. The Ducks held Cal's offense to just 193 total yards of offense and only allowed Cal to pick up 69 yards through the air. In fact this last weekend may be best game we've seen Oregon's defense play given the circumstances.
Last week's win against Cal certainly wasn't the Ducks most convincing win of the season, but a win was still a win the last time I checked.
Good teams win games when the ball is bouncing their way. Championship teams find ways to win games even when they are having a bad day. Oregon looks like they have a championship team.