And when your fears subside
And shadows still remain
I know that you can love me
When there's no one left to blame
So never mind the darkness
We still can find a way
'Cause nothin' lasts forever
Even cold November rain
-Guns 'n Roses, November Rain
You would think that not only had the Oregon Ducks lost to Stanford today at a rain-soaked Autzen Stadium, but that they had lost big. Perhaps even been embarrassed.
You wouldn't know that the Oregon offense rolled up over 450 yards. Or that Jeremiah Johnson and LeGarrette Blount would combine for 225 yards on 25 carries (9.0 avg.) and 3 scores.
You wouldn't know they would improve upon last week's third-down deficiency by going 6-of-11, holding Stanford to just 5-of-15, and punting just once. Repeat...one punt.
You also wouldn't know that the Ducks would overcome four fumbles (against just one by Stanford on the opening kickoff), a fake field goal for a touchdown, a perfect strike dropped in the end zone, a penalty negating a 60-yard kickoff return, another botched snap for a safety, and a heartbreaking call reversal of a fumble at the goal line (which surely brought back horrifying memories of Cameron Colvin's last gasp against Cal last season).
And despite all of that and fighting against extremely poor weather conditions, the Ducks found themselves on their way to a 35-28 victory over a resurgent 5-4 Cardinal team, desperate for bowl eligibility.
And by the end of the day the Ducks would find their own Pac-10 record sitting at 5-2 and 7-3 overall.
And why wouldn't you know any of this? Well, the rarely appropriate, often unacceptable, yet seemingly all-too-common chorus of "boos" that came pouring down upon Oregon players.
And unfortunately, they seemed to drown out too many of the good things that were happening for the young Ducks.
The boos were most often directed at quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and came nearly as frequent as the rain showers in Eugene.
With just 2:18 remaining in the fourth quarter, and his Oregon team facing a 28-27 deficit, Masoli rolled out, found a receiver in the middle of the field, took aim...and missed.
Booooo! How dare he? Booooo! Does he know how much I paid for these tickets? An incompletion? Are you kidding me? He's been here too long to be throwing incomplete passes. (Just a few short months removed from San Francisco Junior College actually)
Never mind that he would he would shake off the "inexcusable?" mistake, as well as the bellowing buffoons, and fire a strike for a first down on the very next throw. And never mind that the 20-year-old sophomore would later make the biggest run of the game (and perhaps the season) on third-and-8 with just over a minute left on the clock.
Leading a drive perhaps reminiscent of Dennis Dixon or Joey Harrington, if it weren't for the inexplicable boos or for the fact that neither Dixon or Harrington did anything even remotely resembling what Masoli pulled off this early in their Oregon careers.
I realize some "fans" (and I use the term loosely) feel they've paid for the "right to boo." Whatever. From my viewpoint these people come to the stadium actually looking for a reason to boo. Where's the fun in that?
These kids (and I don't use that term loosely) need your support, as fans. This wasn't a day for Oregon fans to be hanging their heads, or calling for Bellotti's. This was a good win. A solid effort. In difficult conditions. Pick your heads up. Enjoy it.
If you truly want your team to succeed, how can you possibly think the boos will actually help? Check yourself. Take a good hard look, boo-birds. Is it worth your effort?
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