Welp, better late than never...
Yours truly had a playdate Saturday afternoon to watch Peter Jackson’s brilliant Get Back documentary, and it did not disappoint. Even if you are just a casual fan, check it out, especially parts two and three, though part one is particularly fascinating if you’d like to know how the sausage is made, songwriting-wise. Paul McCartney is a fucking wizard.
Oh, so anyway, because I was preoccupied with The Beatles, I stupidly forgot to set my Sling up to record TGFKATCW. So I had to wait until yesterday to catch the replay on ESPN, which of course was edited down to almost nothing because of ‘time constraints’. Sure didn’t stop them from airing DOUBLE the normal amount of commercials, but I digress. Anyway, as a result, I was only able to watch an expurgated version of TGFKATCW, so my review will be abridged accordingly.
This week, Oregon vs. Oregon State
What a difference a week makes.
Offensive Coordinator Akron Zips Head Coach Joe Moorhead had Oregon’s offense humming, especially in the first half. Four first-half drives, four scores. And it was nice to see the Ducks play some up-tempo ball for a change, it definitely had the Beavs on their heels for a while (note to Coach Moorhead: DO THIS AGAINST UTAH ON FRIDAY, PRETTY-PLEASE).
Quarterback Anthony Brown had one of his best games of the season, going 23 of 28 for 275 yards and 2 touchdowns with no interceptions. He even managed to drive the ball— successfully— down the field on occasion, with the highlight being the perfect, 50-yard bomb on the run to Devon Williams for the Ducks’ second touchdown of the day. One thing about Brown that I noticed while watching the game, and in retrospect he’s done this throughout the season, that on flares, screens, and check-down passes toward the boundary, he has a tendency to throw the ball behind his target, making it almost impossible for the receiver to gain any additional yardage.
Oregon’s running game was firing on all cylinders Saturday, with Travis Dye leading the way with 99 yards on 20 carries and 2 scores. And congratulations to TD, as he becomes the 19th player in Duck history to run for 1,000 or more yards in a season. One red mark against the offense is the continued sloppiness of the Offensive Line, as they wracked up FIVE false start penalties, which at this point in the season, and at home to boot, is simply unacceptable.
Conclusion: The Ducks definitely took their foot off the gas in the second half, but it was a great all-around effort nonetheless, the O-line penalties notwithstanding. 506 total yards, including 275 passing and 231 rushing, 10 for 13 on 3rd down conversions, 26 first downs, a 37-to-23 time of possession advantage, and 38 points. A solid game on all fronts.
Final Grade: A-
If we were grading simply the first half, Oregon’s defense would receive an A+. The Ducks absolutely stifled the Beavers through the first two quarters, allowing only 114 total yards, 7 first downs, and 3 points. A truly dominating performance from Defensive Coordinator Tim DeRuyter’s troops.
But oh that second half.
After the beat-down in the first half, a bit of a let up from Oregon’s defense was to be expected in the second, but holy cow. The Beavers moved the ball seemingly at will in the third and especially the fourth quarter, when Oregon State was able to turn a laugher into a bit of a nail biter, racking up 188 yards of offense and 20 points in the final frame. End Kayvon Thibodeaux had another solid game with 5 combined tackles, and 3 quarterback hits, menacing OSU signal-caller Chance Nolan throughout; linebacker Noah Sewell had a fairly pedestrian game with only 5 combined tackles before exiting the proceedings midway through the third with what appeared to be an upper body injury. And while the defense did a good job stopping the PAC 12’s leading rusher B.J. Baylor, holding him to only 59 yards on the ground, once again the sieve-like secondary of Oregon allowed the Beavers’ receivers to run wild, with Nolan throwing for 308 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Conclusion: A tale of two halves. Hopefully on Friday against Utah we’ll see more of the Ducks from the first half.
Final Grade: B
Cam Lewis made amends for last week’s debacle by hitting all 5 of his PAT’s and nailing his lone field goal attempt from 36 yards; Tom Snee punted only once for 36 yards. Seven McGee, filling in the for the departed Mycah Pittman, had a nice punt return of 16 yards in the second quarter.
But that onside kick.
The Beavers had just scored to cut the Ducks’ lead to 31-15; there were less then ten minutes to go in the game; everyone in Autzen Stadium KNEW that Oregon State would probably try an onside kick— everyone apparently except Oregon Special Teams Coach Bobby Williams, who obviously didn’t have his ‘hands’ team out on the field, as Oregon State easily recovered the kick, and then promptly marched down the field and scored another touchdown to further cut into Oregon’s lead. Luckily it didn’t matter, but the lack of awareness from the coaching staff and the Duck players was gobsmacking.
Conclusion: I don’t like to harp on one play, but it was such an abject failure, that could have had disastrous consequences, that it needed to be highlighted. Kudos to Lewis for shaking off his prior nightmare of a game against Utah.
Final Grade: C
A lot of fans were nervous coming into Saturday’s game, and rightfully so, considering Oregon’s effort the week prior against Utah. But a hat tip to Head Coach Mario Cristobal and his staff for getting the team focused and ready to play in a game that still had huge consequences for the Ducks. And while the second half let down was a bit discouraging, it wasn’t terribly surprising and fortunately Oregon fought through it and came away with a huge win over their in-state rival. Offensive Line Coach Alex Mirabal MUST get his line to play with more discipline, that many penalties won’t cut it against Utah on Friday.
Conclusion: Considering what Oregon was playing for the week before, and how they lost that game, the Ducks could have come out completely flat and lifeless against the Beavers. But instead, they played one of their best halves of football this season, and coasted to their tenth win of the campaign. And while the game got a little chippy at the end, for the most part Oregon’s players were able to maintain their poise and kept from getting the silly penalties that rivalry games so often generate.
Final Grade: B
Oregon’s uniforms: Simple. School colors. As it should be. A
Atmosphere: The largest crowd of the season at Autzen, and they were loud. Good job, errrybody. A
The Game Day Broadcast: A good crew from ESPN, though Dave Pasch isn’t the same without his foil Bill Walton by his side. And thank the gods for HIGH DEFINITION, A