Big ups to madmike for his wealth of Duck video. This article would be really boring without his hard work. Also, all videos should be timestamped to the right spot, but YouTube was being wonky and the videos weren't going to the right spot every time. So check the URL, the right time should be up there.
This is the dawning of the age of Helfrich, and we usher in the next chapter in Oregon football by paying tribute to the one that preceded it. We continue our look back at the Chip Kelly era with the most important statistic in the game: touchdowns. Since Kelly became offensive coordinator in 2007, Oregon has scored 430 touchdowns.
That's an average of just over 71 touchdowns per year, and over 5 per game.
That's a lot of win.
I've narrowed all those scores down to a legendary few, based on the highly scientific metric of 80% WOW factor, and 20% game significance. Most of these made the list on reputation alone: I remembered them as legendary, and my rewatching confirmed. And I was even reintroduced to a few I'd forgotten about entirely! Since it'd be damn near impossible to try and rank every touchdown, I'm going to group them by year instead, and let you decide your own favorite. Let's start with...
Dennis Dixon 80 yard run vs. Houston - Everybody remembers the mascot fight; I remember DD keeping on a read and running forever. I can't find a YouTube clip that doesn't include terrible music, so browse at your own risk for it.
Dixon to Brian Paysinger vs. Michigan - He'd connect with Derrick Jones later for another long score, but this one is just gorgeous. I wish I could throw a football 50 yards and make it look that easy.
The Fake Statue of Liberty - It's iconic at this point. The real genius of the play is the setup of running an actual Statue of Liberty earlier in the drive. And did they ever run it again? Not to my recollection.
Jonathan Stewart 88 yard run vs. Fresno State - In case you forgot how fast J-Stew was, watch that clip a couple times. Love the call by Jerry Allen, too.
Dennis Dixon 39 yard run vs. Arizona - I know, why you gotta bring this shit up you suck go die in a fire I hate you Tako. Hear me out. This was a monumental moment because for a second, Ducks fans had hope. We had hope that the bulky knee brace was enough, that he was actually okay. It ended in binge drinking and tears, but just for a second, things looked like they were gonna be okay.
Jarius Byrd punt return vs. Purdue - The offense had sputtered its way through two and a half quarters, but J-Byrd picks them up with a huge return to spark an overtime win. This was that weird "Chris Harper the QB" version of the offense that we don't really like to talk about anymore.
LeGarrette Blount run vs. Boise State - This isn't even his best touchdown where he hurdles a guy. Dude is scary.
LeGarrette Blount 69 yard run vs. UCLA - With all of LGB's highlight runs, this one gets lost in the shuffle, which is a shame, because it's beastly. Warning: audio features a particularly grating Petros Papadakis.
Jeremiah Masoli 66 yard run vs. Arizona, Patrick Chung pick-six vs. Arizona - Oregon had just taken the field in what were, at the time, the coolest uniforms in sports history. On the first drive, Masoli breaks a huge run. Three plays later, Chung houses an interception. The uniforms were magic, and the rout was on.
Jeremiah Johnson 83 yard run vs. Oregon State - It's one of the five best runs in Oregon history, and it was the first of many backbreakers delivered in the game simply known as "65-38".
Walter Thurmond III pick-six vs. Oregon State - Speaking of backbreakers...
Jeremiah Masoli 41 yard run vs. Oklahoma State - That "woo hoo" just after Masoli lowers the boom is the only thing I will ever like about Craig James.
LeGarrette Blount 29 yard run vs. Oklahoma State - I posed this question on Twitter last night; was the Civil War and the Holiday Bowl the most impressive two game stretch in Oregon offensive history? It's definitely got the most highlight appeal.
Masoli to Dickson vs. Cal - A great pass by Masoli, but 1:05 of that video is the moment we all fell in love with Scott Motherfuckin' Frost.
Kenjon Barner kickoff return vs. UCLA - Just like Byrd in '07, it's a big special teams play that serves at the catalyst for a sputtering offense. The burst of speed he summons at midfield to hit that last hole amazes me every time I watch it.
Masoli to Dickson vs. Arizona - Oh, that double move. It's a work of art.
Masoli to Maehl vs. Arizona - This is a 3rd down play. If this pass isn't completed, Oregon kicks a field goal, and Arizona wins when they score a touchdown on their possession. Oregon doesn't go to the Rose Bowl. And maybe everything is different.
Kenjon Barner's 5 first half TDs vs. New Mexico - Five? In the first half? Come on. No first half stat is more impressive than that one.
Cliff Harris' 2 first half punt returns vs. New Mexico - Oh yeah, right.
LaMichael James 72 yard run vs. Tennessee - As far as I'm concerned, this is the best touchdown of the Chip Kelly era. You can make an argument for others, but this is my favorite.
Kenjon Barner punt return vs. Tennessee - "This guy's extremely dangerous." Yup. Yup he is.
LaMichael James 76 yard run vs. Stanford - The exclamation point on a masterpiece.
Darron to De'Anthony vs. Nevada - The play that announced De'Anthony Thomas to the world. I mean, that head fake is such a simple thing. But combine that with elite speed, and it's all the Momba needs to spin a guy completely around.
Thomas to Paulson vs. Arizona State - David Paulson has strong, strong hands. It's a great throw from Thomas, who thrived on throwing those laser beams and trusting his receivers to make the play, but for Paulson
Kenjon Barner 84 yard run vs. Colorado - You can see it in the angles the Buffalo defenders take: they have no idea how fast Kenjon Barner actually is. They think he's normal running back fast. He's not. He's much faster than that.
Bennett to Thomas vs. Washington State - First off, Momba doesn't enough credit for shaking off that initial tackle. Second, WOOPWOOPWOOPWOOPENDZONE.
De'Anthony Thomas kickoff return vs. Washington State - This is the point at which teams should have stopped kicking to De'Anthony. Fortunately for Oregon, teams still do it. Foolishly. So, so, foolishly.
Darron to De'Anthony vs. Stanford - This is Chip Kelly at his best. 4th down, game changing moment, high-risk high-reward play, and a split-second where the other team thinks they've won. But they haven't. There's a tiny fast guy with the ball over there, heading for the endzone.
De'Anthony Thomas kickoff return vs. USC - Remember when I said it's in the best interest of teams to not kick to De'Anthony? Still true. I mean, ya'll can keep doing it. It makes me giggle and it gives Sportscenter less time for unfunny banter. But it's not a good way to beat Oregon at football games.
De'Anthony Thomas 91 yard run vs. Wisconsin - I've said it before, I'll say it again. 91 yards, in pads and a helmet, in 10,2 seconds. That's just stupid.
Thomas to Barner vs. Wisconsin - WHEEL ROUTES ALL DAY! WHEEL ROUTES ALL DAY! Sidenote: this is when the Wisconsin fans behind me at the Rose Bowl began to question everything they thought they knew about football. It was like cavemen seeing an iPhone for the first time.
Thomas to Tuinei vs. Wisconsin - This was the winning touchdown in the Rose Bowl. Therefore, it will be important forever.
De'Anthony Thomas 33 yard run vs. Arkansas State - It's runs like this one and the next one that make me feel okay about Momba as the feature back this fall. His two year body of work is matched by few others in college football history, and I hope he's ready to take the next step.
De'Anthony Thomas 51 yard run vs. Fresno State - Through a tackle, past a tackle, around a tackle, and through a block into the endzone. As a freshman, Thomas' weapon was his wheels. As a sophomore, he added strength. What will he show up with as a junior?
Mariota to Addison vs. Arizona State - This is just a perfect football play. The throw is impeccable, the catch is tremendous, and it's executed by a redshirt freshman and a true freshman. It's silly.
Marcus Mariota 86 yard run vs. Arizona State - This is the evolution of the Dixon run from 1500 words ago. Defenses have had six years to game plan for the zone read, and are putting themselves in the best position to make a play. And the Oregon quarterback is still running by and away from them.
De'Anthony Thomas punt return vs. Colorado - This is a stupid play. Kenjon Barner tried this against LSU, and it ended up in the other endzone. Fortunately for Momba, Colorado is awful, and he is spectacular.
Kenjon Barner 22 yard run vs. USC - Most people wouldn't be standing after running for as many yards as Kenjon Barner did against USC. But KJB somehow mustered the will to put home his fifth touchdown of the game and ice a landmark win over the Trojans.
Mariota to Huff vs. Cal - Mariota didn't air it out very often last year. It's really pretty to watch.
Marcus Mariota 42 yard run vs. Oregon State - It's a QB draw on 1st and 20, and it's executed to perfection. Is Marcus Mariota the perfect quarterback for this offensive system? It kinda looks like it.
De'Anthony Thomas kickoff return vs. Kansas State - I'm out of words. Just fresh out. All that's left is sore wrists and that headache you get when you stare at a screen for too long. ALLCAPS4MOMBA.