Eugene-- As Marcus Mariota rolled out late in the fourth quarter to extend a play, the look on the Spartan's camera man's face said it all. It was 2nd down and the Ducks had to go 17-yards to get the first down. Mariota dropped back and didn't see any receivers open and decided to sprint 40-yards. I looked to my left where the Michigan State camera man couldn't do anything but look at his shoes because he knew it was all but over.
"I should have paid to watch that guy play," said head coach Mark Helfrich after the game. "It is unbelievable to watch him train, watch him prepare, and then to see him come to fruition when he is out there."
The game started out great with the Ducks capitalizing on an interception by Erick Dargan late in the first quarter. Thomas Tyner would eventually take the ball for a goal line score and give the Ducks an 8-0 advantage. On the next offensive series for Oregon, the Ducks got it all the way to the Spartans 10-yard line before settling for a field goal that would put Oregon up 11-0.
Freshman receiver, Devon Allen, had a coming out party tonight as he finished the night with 3 catches for 110-yards and 2 touchdowns.
"Devon Allen is a great teammate, a great guy," said senior receiver, Keanon Lowe. "I think he is one of the best athletes in the whole country."
Not only did Allen use his speed that won him a national championship in track, he also surprised the fans with his strength. On his first reception of the game, Allen caught a ball in stride and shrugged off a defender. The fans erupted and Autzen Stadium might have a new found favorite.
Another standout player today was defensive back, Troy Hill. Hill was talked about a lot after fall camp and defensive coordinator Don Pellum even said he was the most improved player the first couple of days during fall camp. When the game ended, Hill made numerous plays that helped the Ducks defeat the Spartans. Hill ended up with 7 solo tackles, but what fans probably didn't know was that when Hill came out of the locker at halftime, some coaches thought that he could be out for the year.
"We had a little bit of panic and I thought I lost him for the year," said defensive backs coach John Neal. "I didn't put him in, I didn't put him in and then sometimes I just trust people's courage and I just said, 'go, go."
The plan to put Hill back in worked as the Ducks shut out the Spartans in the fourth quarter. As the final fog horn blew at Autzen, the Ducks can finally shrug off the critics who say that they couldn't compete with big physical teams.