Posted on: November 26, 2011 7:00 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
OREGON WON. The Beavers had won just three games all year but that didn't mean they were to be taken lightly by the Ducks in the Civil War. It looked like Oregon came out flat and uninspired early in the game however, missing several chances to easily take control of the game with two early interceptions of Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion. But, as they've done countless times, a few quick scoring drives put the game away as home team not only won their traditional rivalry game but put up some style points heading into next week's Pac-12 Championship game.
WHY OREGON WON: The defense did a good job against Mannion and the Beavers' passing attack but Darron Thomas starting hitting his targets in the second quarter to really get the offense going. A week after having his struggles against USC in the first home loss ever under Chip Kelly, Thomas tossed touchdown passes to David Paulson, De'Anthony Thomas, Kenjon Barner and Colt Lyerla on the way to a 25 for 38 and 295 yard day. LaMichael James had no issues on the ground, rushing for 143 yards and a touchdown before hurting his wrist late in the third quarter.
WHEN OREGON WON: After two interceptions, Mannion bounced back with a 58-yard touchdown pass to Jovan Stevenson to even the score at 7-all. The Ducks came right back and turned on the jets with a few big plays on back-to-back scoring drives of 75+ yards led mostly by Thomas' passing. Oregon added a third touchdown drive right before halftime to put things away as it was much of the same in the second half - all green, all the time.
WHAT OREGON WON: The win secured the North division for the Ducks and hosting duties for the first ever Pac-12 Championship Game, which will be Friday at Autzen. Though they are out of the national title race - baring complete and utter chaos - the Rose Bowl is still a pretty good consolation prize for Oregon. Beat UCLA next week and flower shops around Eugene will be out of red roses.
WHAT OREGON STATE LOST: Another loss in a disappointing season as the Beavers fall to 3-9 in 2011. Mike Riley certainly had higher expectations but the team had to replace a lot from last year's mediocre squad and it showed. Although James Rodgers has now played his final game in orange, it's an encouraging sign for the offense to see the progress Mannion has made in the passing game as a redshirt freshman. The defense needs a lot of work as well, just one of many things to work on in what should be a long offseason.
Posted on: November 20, 2011 12:07 am
Edited on: November 20, 2011 12:31 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WINS. On probation and disrespected, USC was going up to Eugene with nothing but house money to play with. Obviously they were talented - Matt Barkley, Robert Woods and the dynamic newcomer Marqise Lee especially - but they were significant underdogs against an Oregon team that had blown them out their previous two meetings. The Trojans hadn't won in the state of Oregon since 2005* and taken two brutal losses this year to the other top teams in the Pac-12.
USC jumped out to a big lead and held on late as Oregon rallied to within three but pulled off a monumental upset with far-reaching implications after Alejandro Maldonado missed a field goal of 37 yards to preserve a 38-35 win. Two streaks - 21 straight home wins and 19 straight conference victories - were snapped for the Ducks, as were their slim hopes of getting back to the national championship game.
WHY SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WON. Marqise Lee had the best game a Trojan has had in years, finishing with eight catches for 187 yards and a touchdown and made play after play after play when the team needed it. Barkley was big as well, throwing for 323 yards and four touchdowns to get a signature win to hold his hat on in what could be his final year wearing the cardinal and gold. Monte Kiffin's defense also played its part, forcing two fumbles to prevent scores, blocking a punt and containing the Oregon speedsters all night to limit big plays.
WHEN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WON. Coming out of the second half, Oregon went three and out, had their punt blocked and set USC up with a 1st and goal. But the Ducks' defense held the Trojans to just a field goal on the drive - and nearly picked off Barkley - then got a big return from De'Anthony Thomas on the ensuing kick return for a touchdown. It seemed like the momentum had completely flipped at that point, with the Autzen crowd coming alive and LaMichael James capped off a four play drive with a touchdown.
USC came back with an impressive answer on a five play, 76 yard drive in just over two minutes to keep the lead where it was. Monte Kiffin's defense got a stop and it was upset alert with a silent crowd up in Eugene after Barkley found Randal Telfer for a touchdown on the next series to give Oregon their biggest deficit since 2008. The Ducks came roaring back however, scoring 21 straight. It looked like things were headed for overtime with Oregon marching down the field after Barkley fumbled handing off to running back Marc Tyler. Some curious clock management by Chip Kelly left Maldonado with a 37 yard field goal and he missed it to preserve a 38-35 win.
WHAT SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WON. With just one more game left as they serve out their final year of a bowl ban, the Trojans didn't have much more than pride to play for Saturday night. They felt disrespected - the lowest ranking in school history with a 8-2 record - and determined to get back in the national conscious in a big way with their first win in the state of Oregon since 2005. Lane Kiffin's squad jumped out to the early lead and hung on just like so many others haven't. Everybody came into this game saying it was USC's bowl game (their third this season after Notre Dame and Stanford) and they won it to show quite a few people around the country what they're made of.
WHAT OREGON LOST. Given Kelly's persona and his continuous focus on the task at hand, you wonder if he got Phil Knight to pony up some cash to fly in Jim Mora to shout, "Rematch? You're talking about a rematch? You kidding me? Rematch? I just hope we win a game," over and over. That's all everybody was thinking about after beating Stanford, not USC but LSU. Despite an Oklahoma State loss that made a game against the Tigers more likely, Oregon couldn't put the game at hand away and now have to beat rival Oregon State to secure the Pac-12 championship game that looked like a lock at the beginning of the day.
THAT WAS CRAZY: Team Nike filled the sidelines as NBA All-Stars LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul all made their way down to Eugene to check out the football game. LeBron was even throwing the ball around during pre-game warm ups until politely being told by security to move back behind the lines. What's a jobless guy have to do to get some respect? Ducks fans might just be glad he wasn't suited up to play the 4th quarter. Or maybe he was.
Tags: Alejandro Maldonado, Bryan Fischer, Carmelo Anthony, Chip Kelly, Chris Bosh, De'Anthony Thomas, Dwayne Wade, Jim Mora, LaMichael James, LeBron James, LSU, Marc Tyler, Marqise Lee, Matt Barkley, Monte Kiffin, NBA, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Oregon State, Pac-12, Phil Knight, Quick Hits, Quick Hits Week 12, Randal Telfer, Robert Woods, Stanford, USC, Week 12
Posted on: November 19, 2011 8:55 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Say this about Oregon: the athletic department's not shy about, well, anything. We're talking about Nike's playground here, and if Nike does anything, it does it big. Witness, if you will, this very special guest on the sidelines for Saturday's game against USC.
Now, LeBron James is just there visiting; it's not like he's in pads. Oh man, what if he was in pads, though? What if he was going to play for Oregon? He was throwing passes, so... what if he was going to play quarterback? WHAT IF LEBRON JAMES WERE OREGON'S STARTING QUARTERBACK RIGHT NOW? LET'S TALK ABOUT THIS.
PROS: The most athletic athlete ever.
CONS: What, are you serious? He can't be their quarterback. This is insane.
PROS: Never went to college so he's probably eligible.
CONS: No he's not! He's a professional athlete.
PROS: NBA's locked out. He has a ton of time.
CONS: He has a ton of endorsements, too. Is he just going to give all those up?
PROS: Can you imagine, LeBron James in the same backfield as LaMichael James. LBJ and LMJ.
CONS: OK, how about this: he's not a student at Oregon so how could he possibly be a student-athlete for Oregon?
PROS: Do you think LeBron and LaMichael are related? I bet they are. Makes sense.
CONS: THEY'RE NOT RELATED ARE YOU KIDDING ME
PROS: Has the physical frame of a Byron Leftwich, with the height to see over the line and not get "lost in the trees."
CONS: Has never played quarterback in his life? Hello?
PROS: Probably knows a ton of celebrities.
CONS: SO WHAT????
PROS: It would be so cool to see a 6'8", 260 guy run a read option, admit it.
CONS: But he can't possibly know how to run a read option. That's the thing.
PROS: Can't possibly be worse at making the right reads than Darron Thomas was in the BCS Championship.
CONS: Well, that's ridic... rid... actually, that's a good point.
PROS: Wouldn't it be awesome to see him do the "dunk on the goal posts" move after a touchdown?
CONS: OK, yeah, it would. It would be really awesome.
PROS: WHOA WAIT WHAT IF YOU DID THAT BUT WITH AN ALLEY-OOP?
PROS: LEBRON JAMES FOR OREGON STARTING QUARTERBACK RIGHT NOW
Posted on: November 16, 2011 12:26 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2011 12:29 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
As the fourth-oldest college football award, the Walter Camp Player of the Year award is considered one of the most prestigious individual honors in the game. The award is named for Walter Camp, who is considered by many to be "The Father of American Football." Although the criteria for the Player of the Year award is similar to the Heisman Trophy, the races have had different winners for three of the last four seasons. Only Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith and last year's winner, Cam Newton, have pulled in both honors in the last half decade.
On Wednesday, the Walter Camp Football Foundation announced the 15 "Semifinalists" for the 2011 Player of the Year Award. The group is headlined by Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and Oregon running back LaMichael James, both finalists for the 2010 award.
The list of fifteen will be narrowed to five finalists on Wednesday, November 30. The award will be presented on Thursday, December 6.
2011 Walter Camp Player of the Year Semifinalists
Matt Barkley, Junior, QB, USC
Justin Blackmon, Junior, WR, Oklahoma State
Morris Claiborne, Junior, DB, LSU
LaMichael James, Junior, RB, Oregon
Robert Griffin III, Senior, QB, Baylor
Chandler Harnish, Senior, QB, Northern Illinois
Landry Jones, Junior, QB, Oklahoma
Case Keenum, Senior, QB, Houston
Luke Kuechly, Junior, LB, Boston College
Andrew Luck, Senior, QB, Stanford
Kellen Moore, Senior, QB, Boise State
Trent Richardson, Junior, RB, Alabama
Sammy Watkins, Freshman, WR/KR, Clemson
Brandon Weeden, Senior, QB, Oklahoma State
Russell Wilson, Senior, QB, Wisconsin
What do you think about the list? Any omissions? Leave your thoughts on the group and even your predictions on the winner in the comment section below.
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Tags: ACC, Alabama, Andrew Luck, Baylor, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Boise State, Boston College, Brandon Weeden, Case Keenum, Chandler Harnish, Chip Patterson, Clemson, Conference USA, Houston, Justin Blackmon, Kellen Moore, LaMichael James, Landry Jones, LSU, Luke Kuechly, Matt Barkley, Morris Claiborne, Non-BCS, Northern Illinois, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pac-12, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, Sammy Watkins, SEC, Stanford, Trent Richardson, USC, Walter Camp Award, Walter Camp Award Projection, Walter Camp Finalists, Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, Wisconsin
Posted on: November 15, 2011 11:41 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WILL WIN IF: The Trojans have retooled on defense with faster linebackers and are better equipped to handle the Ducks speed than they have been in previous years. Creating stops are as important as containing big plays and getting the ball back to an offense that has more weapons than anybody Oregon has seen all years. The emergence of Curtis McNeal and Marc Tyler have given a nice boost to the running game and they'll need to continue to have Robert Woods and Marqise Lee making big plays if USC wants to pull off the upset.
OREGON WILL WIN IF: The game plan is always the same for the Ducks, apply pressure by scoring quickly on offense and apply pressure - more literally - on defense by being aggressive with the front seven. Chip Kelly was very aggressive against Stanford and we'll see if he continues to keep that up against a team that has a lot more athletes that can create big plays on both sides of the ball. Oregon is in the driver's seat for the Rose Bowl and could even be playing for a rematch in the BCS title game so don't be surprised if they want some style points on national television and for Heisman Trophy candidiate LaMichael James.
X-FACTOR: Matt Barkley turnovers. USC has been in games with Oregon for a half but, like most of the Ducks opponents, have fallen apart in the second half. If Matt Barkley continues to be efficient in the passing game and spreads the ball around to his receivers, the Trojans have a chance. If he turns the ball over once or twice though, it will be hard to see an upset. The margin is just that thin for this team but no doubt they have the talent to get a win if Barkley plays well.
Posted on: November 13, 2011 1:27 am
Edited on: November 13, 2011 1:28 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
STANFORD, Calif. -- Heisman moments tend not to just happen, they're built up. Sure they'll catch you off guard from time-to-time but they rarely just come out of nowhere to the front of our collective concious.
Every bit of the listed 6-foot-4, 237-pounds, Andrew Luck was deemed better than any of his peers or predeessors by pundits, NFL coaches, general managers and scouts. For every two minute drive, red zone touchdown or play action fake, it was a work art. Saturday's game against Oregon was supposed to be his. Another trip to New York was certain but, in Stanford's biggest game in decades, this was supposed to be his moment.
"Not good enough to win," Luck said, in an aww-shucks manner, of his performance in a 53-30 loss. "Worst game of the year I guess."
Statistically, you could make the argument it wasn't. Realistically? It's hard to think of anybody giving Luck as much trouble as the Ducks' defense did. Pressured all night, he finished 27-for-41 for 271 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. He threw a pick six. He lost a fumble. He was sacked. He was un-Luck like but wasn't unlucky.
"They do present some exotic formations, such as four guys to one side and what not," Oregon coach Chip Kelly said. "We talked about it as a staff how to handle it, making plays."
Luck didn't have to be great on his home field to wrap up college football's most prestigious trophy but he did have to be good. Playing from behind entire night, it was clear that the future top draft pick lacked any kind of wide receiver to stretch the field and even his normally reliable tight ends dropped several passes to slow momentum as the nation's longest winning streak fell just as hard as the Cardinal's outside chance at playing for the national title.
"I knew it wasn't going to be a cake walk," Luck said. "I had no grand delusion of it for our team. We still have football left and, for that, I'm grateful."
Credit Luck for having a space between the two words, college quarterback, that describe him every Saturday though. Despite losing to the only team to beat him the past two years, he was as even-keeled as ever afterward, answering questions about a difficult loss like they were the easy questions one of his midterms.
"It's disappointing obviously. You always want to have a good game," he said. "A disappointment, yes, but life goes on. We have two more big ball games coming up."
There was no Heisman moment on the slippery turf for the signal-caller but that doesn't mean he has no chance of hoisting college football's most prestigious award up in New York. The clear front-runner when the day began, he's likely to keep his spot at or near the top of most lists but there's no question that every turnover against Oregon made others' chances that much better.
"This game is not fatal to Luck's Heisman hopes," said Chris Huston, who runs HeismanPundit.com. "Voters will not blame him for this loss. The Heisman race is an individual award and, while Luck will lose some ground, he remains the favorite."
In some minds the only one to put on a performance worthy of the award was LaMichael James, who rushed for 146 yards and three touchdowns as he continues to return to form following an elbow injury. Enough to get back in the discussion, maybe, but if you're looking for a moment in the game it was undoubtedly on one of James' long runs.
"His missing two games this year killed his Heisman chances," Huston added. "He just won't have the numbers to come close to winning."For James, the 23 point win might be enough for another trip to the Heisman ceremony. For Luck, the 23 point loss might be enough to hold him back from bringing the trophy home.
Posted on: November 12, 2011 11:37 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
PALO ALTO, Calif. -- The Game of the Century, West Edition, featured plenty of defensive plays, mistakes on special teams and one of the teams ready to press for a rematch in the BCS national championship game. The only difference between that tussle in Tuscaloosa last week and this defacto Pac-12 championship in the Bay Area? There were touchdowns. Plenty of them.
Oregon's speed went over, around and - at times - through Stanford's size as the Ducks ended the nation's longest winning streak with a 53-30 win over their division foe to take control of the conference title race. Both teams got off to their normal slow start in the first half but the Ducks, who are now 24-0 when leading at halftime under Chip Kelly, utilized big plays from Darron Thomas, LaMichael James, DeAnthony Thomas and Josh Huff to pull away from the Cardinal in the second half.
The most impressive performance of the night came from the Oregon defense that constantly put pressure on Andrew Luck and seemingly brought the Heisman Trophy front-runner back to the pack, of which James might have run his way back to. Without the team's top wide receiver (Chris Owusu) and top tight end (Zach Ertz), Luck was forced to throw into coverage often after his receiving corps could not create much separation, tossing two interceptions, one of which was a pick-six. Without a speed threat to guard against, Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti pressed his cornerbacks and used safety help over the top, limiting Stanford's bread and butter offense of quick short and intermediate throws.
That didn't mean Luck and company couldn't move the ball or get stops on defense. They just didn't do enough. It's not hard to argue that this was Stanford's biggest game in decades but they never could do enough to slow down Oregon, who proved that they're the Pac-12's best team and well on their way to their third straight conference title.
They even got a glimpse of the trophy, as commissioner Larry Scott officially presented it before the game in the press box. Given the way the South is playing out (UCLA lost, Arizona State and Utah are unranked, USC is ineligible), you wouldn't blame the Ducks' uber-booster Phil Knight for asking if he could take it home with him on his private jet.
He'll have to wait a few weeks to officially hoist the silver trophy for the first time ever but after Oregon settled things on the field Saturday night against #2 Stanford, it's a matter of when - not if - any more.
Posted on: November 8, 2011 7:24 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
With most of the college football world focused on the developing story at Penn State, Oregon found a convenient time to release multiple documents related to their ongoing NCAA investigation into the football program's relationship with scout Willie Lyles and possible recruiting violations.
According to the The Oregonian, the pages and pages of documents detail aspects of the combined NCAA and school investigations and include scouting reports, the cell phone records of head coach Chip Kelly, an invoice from the law firm Bond, Schoeneck & King - which is conducing the school's internal investigation - and email exchanges.
Also included was correspondence from attorney Michael Glazier, a partner in Bond, Schoeneck & King, indicating that he expected the firm to conclude it internal investigation by November of this year at the latest, and correspondence relating to NCAA interviews with Lyles.
The NCAA is looking at Lyles, a Houston-based football scout, and his relationship with several current and former Oregon players from the state of Texas such as LaMichael James, Lache Seastrunk and Dontae Williams. Lyles met with enforcement staff members in Los Angeles in late August to talk about the case. Following the meeting, USC assistant coach Willie Mack Garza abruptly resigned from his position after being connected to the probe after it was discovered he wired Lyles money for an unofficial visit while coaching at Tennessee.
The issue at the heart of the case stems from whether Oregon's $25,000 payment to Lyles for a national scouting package was similar to what it paid for other comparable packages. An invoice from Digital Sports Video Inc., of Aliso Viejo, Calif., was released to The Oregonian Tuesday showing at least one other scouting service billed the school $25,000 for scouting services.
Oregon received a verbal notice of inquiry from the NCAA in September.
Tags: Angie Cretors, Bill Clever, Bond Schoeneck & King, Bryan Fischer, Chip Kelly, Dontae Williams, James O'Fallon, Jim Fisher, Josh Gibson, Lache Seastrunk, LaMichael James, Michael Glzier, Oregon, Pac-12, Penn State, Ron Barker, Steve Duffin, Tennessee, USC, Will Lyles, Willie Lyles, Willie Mack Garza