Oregon Ducks

Time for a statement victory

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 8:13am
Cliff Pfenning
Cliff Pfenning's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 3 hours ago
Joined: 2010-07-01

In the wake of the disastrous loss to Arizona, the University of Oregon football team righted itself and moved directly back into the national title hunt thanks to what you might call ... routine victories.

UCLA, Washington, California. The offense scored nearly 49 points per game, and the defense showed itself to be good enough to hold opponents long enough to allow the offense to get separation on the scoreboard.

The games weren't all that special, other than some big stats being put up by quarterback Marcus Mariota and freshman tailback Royce Freeman. And, the return of Jake Fisher on the offensive line, which got the nation buzzing.

Those were routine wins - solid wins that were in doubt only for short moments. The Ducks only have to repeat that over and over through the Pac-12 Title Game. But, they could use what you might call a "Statement Win." A win that shows off they're where they were for the 46-27 win over Michigan State in Week 2, when the offense took over the second half at the same time the defense absolutely shut down the Spartans.

There's no better team to make this kind of statement against than Stanford, which played its way through the Ducks and into the Pac-12 Title Game the past two seasons, each time dropping Oregon out of the National Championship picture.

Offense on track. Defense on track - especially throughout the second half. Statement.

It certainly doesn't need to be 59-0, or 82-27, but a solid win that shows off to the nation the Ducks still own the Pac-12. Forget about the last two years with the Cardinal, and now Arizona, Oregon's in charge.

There's no Oregon fans who will complain for one second about a one-point win - the result only has to go into the win column. But, a Michigan State-level win is what the rabid UO faithful want, followed by another series of routine wins over Utah, Colorado and Oregon State. Then, another statement win over Arizona in the league title game. That should put some major flavor into the playoff semifinals, keep season tickets in high demand - and keep the recruits for coming seasons looking at Eugene as much as Tuscaloosa.

 

Stanford is just what Oregon needs

The Ducks have a major score to settle Saturday against the Cardinal
Oct. 28, 2014 / By Cliff Pfenning

In the wake of the disastrous loss to Arizona, the University of Oregon football team righted itself and moved directly back into the national title hunt thanks to what you might call ... routine victories.

UCLA, Washington, California. The offense scored nearly 49 points per game, and the defense showed itself to be good enough to hold opponents long enough to allow the offense to get separation on the scoreboard.

The games weren't all that special, other than some big stats being put up by quarterback Marcus Mariota and freshman tailback Royce Freeman. And, the return of Jake Fisher on the offensive line, which got the nation buzzing.

Those were routine wins - solid wins that were in doubt only for short moments. The Ducks only have to repeat that over and over through the Pac-12 Title Game. But, they could use what you might call a "Statement Win." A win that shows off they're where they were for the 46-27 win over Michigan State in Week 2, when the offense took over the second half at the same time the defense absolutely shut down the Spartans.

There's no better team to make this kind of statement against than Stanford, which played its way through the Ducks and into the Pac-12 Title Game the past two seasons, each time dropping Oregon out of the National Championship picture.

Offense on track. Defense on track - especially throughout the second half. Statement.

It certainly doesn't need to be 59-0, or 82-27, but a solid win that shows off to the nation the Ducks still own the Pac-12. Forget about the last two years with the Cardinal, and now Arizona, Oregon's in charge.

And, another huge opportunity for Mariota to move forward in the program's destiny of winning a Heisman Trophy.

There's no Oregon fans who will complain for one second about a one-point win - the result only has to go into the win column. But, a Michigan State-level win is what the rabid UO faithful want, followed by another series of routine wins over Utah, Colorado and Oregon State. Then, another statement win over Arizona in the league title game. That should put some major flavor into the playoff semifinals, keep season tickets in high demand - and keep the recruits for coming seasons looking at Eugene as much as Tuscaloosa.

Ducks button up Bears, 59-41

Mariota passes for five TDs in routine road victory
Oct. 24, 2014 / Associated Press

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Marcus Mariota matched his season high with five touchdown passes, and broke the Oregon record for career passing yards in a 59-41 Pac-12 Conference victory over California on Friday night in the first college game at Levi’s Stadium.

Mariota completed 18 of 30 passes for 326 yards, and ran for 36 yards. He also threw his first interception of the season, ending his streak of passes without an interception at 253.

Royce Freeman ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns to overcome a critical early turnover, and Charles Nelson scored on a 58-yard punt return to help Oregon (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12) win its sixth straight against Cal.

Jared Goff passed for 360 yards and two touchdowns for Cal (4-4, 2-4), which led 14-7 in the first quarter.

Oregon plays at home Nov. 1 against Stanford at 4:30 p.m.


Mariota pushed his career total to 8,625 yards, breaking Bill Musgrave’s record of 8,343 on the Ducks’ opening possession with the first of two touchdown throws to Dwayne Stanford. The junior quarterback has at least one TD pass all 34 of his career games.

“You might want to go buy a lottery ticket, Marcus made a couple of mistakes,” Helfrich said. “I’m actually glad, I think, that that happened to get him off the schneid.”

Royce Freeman ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns to overcome an early turnover, and Charles Nelson scored on a 58-yard punt return to help Oregon (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12) win its sixth straight against Cal.

Jared Goff passed for 360 yards and two touchdowns for Cal (4-4, 2-4), but the Bears couldn’t overcome multiple breakdowns and lost their third straight.

Mariota had scoring throws of 22, 9 and 24 yards in the first half alone. That made it easy to overlook his interception.

“It’s almost funny, you just expect him to be perfect,” Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. “Marcus is such a stud. It’s great that he has another 1 1/2 years left.”

The game drew an announced crowd of 55,575 at Levi’s Stadium, home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers. Large sections of Oregon fans attended the game, negating any home-field advantage Cal might have had.

Mariota and Co. didn’t disappoint the faithful and moved Oregon one step closer to playing for the Pac-12 championship in December. That game also will be played at Levi’s Stadium.

Dwayne Stanford caught six passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns, and Byron Marshall added four catches for 133 yards and a touchdown.

The Ducks got a lift from their defense, too.

Oregon forced a fumble by Goff deep in Cal territory to set up Aidan Schneider’s 24-yard field goal in the first half. Oregon also stopped the Bears on fourth-and-1 near midfield, and Mariota capitalized with a 9-yard touchdown pass Pharaoh Brown.

Nelson’s 58-yard punt return made it 31-14. He took off down the Oregon sideline before cutting back near the 25 and outracing a trio of Bears.

Cal cut it to 31-28 late in the second quarter before the Ducks pulled away.

“We made too many mistakes in the ballgame to beat a team as good as Oregon,” Bears coach Sonny Dykes said. “We’ve just got to get more disciplined. Guys are trying to make some plays and sometimes are trying to do too much.”

Mariota threw a 54-yard touchdown pass to Marshall in the third quarter and a 21-yarder to Brown in the fourth. Freeman added a 2-yard touchdown run.

The Bears stayed close early behind their ground game.

Backup quarterback Luke Rubenzer scored on a 12-yard keeper up the middle, then freshman Vic Enwere added a 19-yard touchdown run after he bounced off a pair of defenders at the 5, spun and stumbled into the end zone to give Cal a 14-7 lead.

College football drama lines up

Oregon's road to the college playoffs is scheduled out
Oct. 20, 2014

The SEC West may be the top college football division in the US, but does that mean two of its teams should wind up in the four-team Div. I playoffs in January?

Sportsland, Oregon co-hosts Cliff Pfenning and Derek Weber debate the merits of the SEC against the rest of the college football world amid the theory that the SEC West is so tough - four of the top five ranked teams were from the division this week - that they should deserve a shot at the playoffs, even if one only had one loss, but doesn't reach the SEC title game.

After a substantial drop in the rankings thanks to a loss to Arizona, Oregon returned to the ranks of teams voters want to see in the four-team playoffs, and is sixth in the latest ESPN Power Ratings. Winning out the rest of the season pretty-much guarantees a spot in the playoffs.

But, what of Michigan State? If the Spartans win out, including the Big 10 title, and have only a loss at Oregon against them, should they get a shot at the top four over an SEC team that didn't play in its conference title game?

Also, they talk NFL, Portland Timbers and their drive to reach the playoffs, and the Trail Blazers get some attention as well. It's all recorded at Blitz Pearl in Northwest Portland.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL BIG GAMES

SATURDAY: Mississippi at LSU

NOV. 1: Stanford at Oregon, Auburn at Mississippi, Arkansas at Mississippi State

NOV. 8: Oregon at Utah, Alabama at LSU, Ohio State at Michigan State, Notre Dame at Arizona State

NOV. 15: Auburn at Georgia, Mississippi State at Alabama

NOV. 29: Oregon at Oregon State, Auburn at Alabama, Mississippi State at Mississippi, Notre Dame at USC

DEC. 6: Pac-12 Title Game at Levi's Stadium; SEC Title Game at Georgia Dome; Big 10 Title Game at Lucas Oil Stadium; ACC Championship Game, Charlotte, N.C.

 

What's Oregon, Portland need?

The Ducks are almost an elite-level program, while Timbers can't win
April 8, 2014 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

After two consecutive berths in the NCAA Tournament, and at least one win each season, the University of Oregon's men's basketball program is definitely headed in the right direction toward winning a national title.

When that might happen is a big question. That's the opening topic of Episode 8 of Sportland, Oregon 2014, recorded at Blitz Pearl in Northwest Portland.

Coach Dana Altman has led the Ducks to consistent success since taking over the program from Ernie Kent in 2010. Cast members Cliff Pfenning and Derek Weber chat up the next step for Oregon starting with an unprecedented third consecutive trip to the tournament next season.

Then, it's off to the Portland Trail Blazers, who are back in the NBA Playoffs for the first time in three seasons. The Blazers are headed for a final record that's 20 games over .500, but they were that far above .500 at mid-season. Since then, they're .500, and might be the least dangerous playoff team in the Western Conference.

The Portland Timbers are as dangerous and exciting as any team in Major League Soccer after five games, but they just can't turn those qualities into a win so far. Saturday's 4-4 draw with Seattle showed off that factor as the team led 4-2 entering the final 15 minutes.

The Winterhawks get some air time, as well as the Roofball World Championships.

 

Who do you root for?

Is there a Final Four underdog? And, can LMA lead Portland to a series win?
March 31, 2014 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

How can anyone root for Kentucky as an underdog in the NCAA Tournament? Well, they are, according to their seeding in this year's tournament at No. 8. Connecticut, a regular national champion, is seeded No. 7, but reached the Final Four along with UK.

So, who's an underdog this year?

That's a key topic for the Sportsland, Oregon crew during this week's episode, recorded at Blitz Pearl in Northwest Portland.

With Wisconsin reaching the Final Four, the cast of Cliff Pfenning and Derek Weber discuss the frustration of Oregon's second-half collapse against the Badgers in the third round. How far away are the Ducks from a regular trip to the Elite Eight and Final Four?

Then, it's off to the Blazers and the danger they faced just last week of seemingly being on a path to ninth place in the Western Conference. Once LaMarcus Aldridge returned from an injury, the team settled down and won three straight to reclaim their position as a potential No. 4 seed.

Portland Timbers, Portland Winterhawks and Roofball all claim some portion of discussion of the show.

 

FSU represents for the football world

Seminoles win an exciting title game, Oregon dreams of Ducks, Blazers
Jan. 6, 2014 / Staff

Auburn might not have been able to pull off another miracle finish, but the Tigers helped Florida State into a worthy national champion following a 34-31 win by the Seminoles Monday.

The game was exciting, and didn't involve any crowd shots of any player's partners, which made it a really great game.

And, of course, it's not the end of football season as there's still plenty of NFL action left.

That's the storyline for the first episode of Sportsland, Oregon, recorded at Blitz Pearl in Northwest Portland Monday night.

Cast members Cliff Pfenning and Marlon Thomas talk up the thriling nature of the college title game and where Oregon might be as the 2014 season unofficially began with FSU breaking the seven-year run of titles by the SEC.

The Blazers keep earning solid wins, but their recent lack of domination has the cast poking around for what they might be needing as trade/free agency talk begins to affect the league as the year progresses. Now that Portland is a quality team, what's the affect of proposed player movement going to be on the team?

It's all recorded at Blitz Pearl in Northwest Portland, with the first episode joined by guests Mike Stasiak and Ben Hamblen, who provide an Eastern View of the Oregon drama.

Oregon tops the list for 2013

The Ducks didn't reach the title game, but they had our attention
Dec. 30, 2013

The University of Oregon football team took its fans through highs and lows pretty well this season, and that put the Ducks at the top of the list for memories of the 2013 calendar year for the cast of Sportsland, Oregon, which recorded its 28th episode Monday night.

Oregon had the BCS Title Game squarely in sight until and loss at Stanford, and then slipped out of a BCS game with a punishing loss at Arizona, both of which had fans beginning to look in the direction of first-year coach Mark Helfrich.

But, at 11-2, it's tough to claim Helfrich isn't qualified for the job. So, it's time to relax, find a successor to Nick Aliotti at defensive coordinator, and look toward winning the 2014 Pac-12 title and a spot in the BCS Playoffs.

The show cast: Derek Weber, Marlon Thomas and host Cliff Pfenning, then move on to the NFL and its glorious final day that broke the hearts of Dallas Cowboys fans everywhere.

And, the Portland Trail Blazers, who've quietly dazzled the pro hoop world, took another late-game shot to the chest in the form of a two-point loss at New Orleans, which gave the team its first two-game losing streak of the season with a game at Oklahoma City up next.

It's all recorded at Blitz Pearl in Northwest Portland.

Ducks headed for San Antonio?

Oregon would face Oklahoma in the Alamo Bowl if predictions hold
Dec. 3, 2013

Well, the University of Oregon football team took care of not having to play in the Rose Bowl again with a disturbing loss at Arizona two weeks ago, but the bright side would be a trip to a bowl the team hasn't played in before - the Alamo Bowl.

More than one online site have the Ducks playing Oklahoma, Dec. 30, in San Antonio, Texas.

Reports from cbssports.com and espn.com, have the same match-up as major conferences head to their championship games, all of which will affect the BCS bowls, on Saturday.

Oregon would be one of eight Pac-12 teams to play in a bowl game. Oregon State became bowl eligible with six wins in midseason before finishing with five straight losses.

The Beavers are viewed as a replacement team for an SEC bowl spot, a spot that assumes Auburn will win the SEC title Saturday over Missouri. The Beavers are headed for the Independence Bowl to play Georgia Tech according to cbssports.com, while espn.com has them playing in either the Poinsettia Bowl or Heart of Dallas Bowl.

Stanford, Arizona State, USC, UCLA, Washington and Arizona are all slated to play in a bowl game, with Stanford being a heavy favorite to beat Arizona State in the Pac-12 Conference title game.

In other title games, No. 1 Florida State plays Duke for the ACC title, No. 2 Ohio State plays Michigan State for the Big 10 title, and Utah State plays Fresno State for the Mountain West title. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor and Texas are all alive for the Big 12 title.

 

 

 

 

Oregon gets its blood pumping

Ducks rally for last-minute win over Oregon State, 36-35
Nov. 29, 2013

Marcus Mariota threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Josh Huff with 29 seconds left and No. 12 Oregon overcame a tenacious effort by Oregon State 36-35 Friday night in the 117th edition of the Civil War rivalry.

Mariota threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns - all to Huff, who had nine catches for a season-high 186 yards - and the Ducks (10-2, 7-2 Pac-12) sealed their sixth straight 10-win season. It was also the team's sixth straight victory over the Beavers in the series.

With the Ducks holding a 24-23 lead, the Beavers scored on Sean Mannion's 4-yard pass to Tyler Anderson to pull in front 29-24 early in the fourth quarter. But Oregon answered with Mariota's fourth-and-11 pass to Huff for a 12-yard touchdown and the Ducks took a 30-29 lead with 7:56 left in the game.

Victor Bolden ran for a 25-yard touchdown to make it 35-30 for the Beavers with 1:38 remaining, but Oregon State's defense couldn't stop the Ducks on their final drive.

Mannion passed for 314 yards and two touchdowns for the Beavers (6-6, 4-5), who ended the season on a five-game losing streak, their worst since dropping six straight to conclude the 1997 season.

Freshman Thomas Tyner rushed for 141 yards and another score for Oregon, which finished undefeated at home for the first time since 2010.

The Ducks were coming off a deflating 42-16 loss at Arizona last weekend that ended their Pac-12 and national title hopes.

Oregon State are one of nine Pac-12 teams vying for a spot in the seven conference bowl games.

The Beavers were thwarted on the opening drive of the game when Mannion threw into the end zone on fourth-and-1 to Brandin Cooks and he was intercepted by Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.

Cooks was announced last week as one of three finalists for the 2013 Biletnikoff Award for the nation's best college receiver. Cooks went into Friday night's game as the nation's top receiver with 141.8 yards a game.

Following the interception, the Ducks drove 80 yards on seven plays, capped by De'Anthony Thomas' 5-yard touchdown dash to give Oregon a 7-0 lead. Tyner added a 13-yard scoring run before the first quarter was over.

The Ducks were without Byron Marshall, who injured his ankle in the loss to Arizona last week.

Storm Woods scored on a 2-yard run for the Beavers to make it 14-7. Trevor Romaine added an 18-yard field goal with 2:33 left in the first half. The Beavers got close again before the break, but Mannion's pass to Cooks was fumbled into the end zone for a touchback, and the Beavers came away with nothing.

Rashaad Reynolds intercepted Mariota on Oregon's ensuing drive and the Beavers went on to score on Mannion's 6-yard pass to Terron Ward to make it 17-17 at halftime.

Mariota had not thrown an interception this season until he had two in the loss to the Wildcats. He had two more interceptions in the first half against the Beavers.

Oregon's sophomore quarterback continued to wear a brace on his left knee. It is believed that he injured his knee during the Ducks' victory over UCLA on Oct. 26 and he's worn the brace since.

Oregon State pulled in front 20-17 on Romaine's 47-yard field goal to open the second half.

But Oregon woke up, and on the next drive Mariota took off on a 21-yard carry despite the brace, before finding Josh Huff with a 28-yard touchdown pass to retake the lead.

Terron Ward slipped on the turf on fourth-and-1 on the Oregon 5 and the Beavers missed a key opportunity to go back ahead. But they closed to 24-23 early in the fourth quarter on Romaine's 37-yard field goal.

Matt Wogan missed a 43-yard field goal for the Ducks with 12:49 to go.

RSS feed