During yesterday’s game against Nebraska, the Oregon Ducks scored five touchdowns, but only scored 32 points out of it. Meanwhile, Nebraska also scored five touchdowns, but never went for two and wound up with the traditional 35 points you get off of five touchdowns and PAT’s. 80 percent of Oregon’s two-point conversion attempts failed, including each of their last four. But don’t try telling Mark Helfrich that.
“With the skill set of Charles (Nelson) and still being able to hold, it’s a rare combination out of something teams have to prepare for,” said Helfrich after the loss. “That’s something we’ll continue to do.”
Had Oregon kicked a PAT after each of their scores, the game would have likely gone to overtime. Had Oregon kicked a PAT on their last four touchdowns after successfully converting the first time, they would have won by one point.
Of course, there is never a single reason a team loses a game, but in this case, fans will only see this one reason. There were plenty of other things that the Ducks did wrong, like calling a play action pass on 4th and 18 with the game on the line. I’m not sure who Oregon thought they were fooling with a play call like that.
“Protection wise, he felt some pressure, tried to get out of there and everything else kind of broke down after,” said quarterbacks coach David Yost.
Yep, that’s usually what happens when you call a play action pass in a situation where 90,000 people know you’re passing the football.
Oregon is no stranger to going for two after scoring. The coaching staff will tell you the same thing every time. They will line up to go for two after every score, and if the numbers are in their favor, they’ll go for it. So in Oregon’s eyes, they had five chances where Nebraska wasn’t lined up properly to defend a two-point conversion.
Really? After the first time, you really think they won’t be prepared to defend it? You really think after how many times you go for two after scoring this year that they didn’t see that on game film? Assuming that Nebraska wasn’t prepared for Oregon’s “trickery” would be an insult to Mike Riley and his entire program.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with going for two on the first score of the game. Oregon has been doing it (mostly) successfully for years now. But going for two after literally every touchdown is just asking for trouble, and it bit the Ducks in the ass, potentially costing them a game.
“There is an evaluation for everybody, starting with me,” said Helfrich. “Everybody is evaluated every single game. That’s what makes it fun to second guess.”
Oh don’t worry, Mark. There is plenty of second guessing going on today among Oregon fans.
Maybe I’m still just riled up from the loss yesterday. Neither team outplayed the other. It was neck and neck all the way down to the wire. For a fan with no dog in the fight, it was one of the most entertaining games of the day. Both sides played their hearts out, but there has to be a winner and loser. In the end, it was Oregon that was the loser.
We all knew this was going to be a tough game to win. The first loss of the year always stings a little more, because your false illusion that this team is good enough to go to the College Football Playoff comes crashing down on you, but the season is still young. It’s not about if you stumble, it’s about how you respond. Now, Oregon can focus on Pac-12 play and go for the chance to turn some heads and make a miracle run to Pasadena.