Pac-12

Time for a statement victory

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 8:13am
Cliff Pfenning
Cliff Pfenning's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 weeks 5 days ago
Joined: 2010-07-01

In the wake of the disastrous loss to Arizona, the University of Oregon football team righted itself and moved directly back into the national title hunt thanks to what you might call ... routine victories.

UCLA, Washington, California. The offense scored nearly 49 points per game, and the defense showed itself to be good enough to hold opponents long enough to allow the offense to get separation on the scoreboard.

The games weren't all that special, other than some big stats being put up by quarterback Marcus Mariota and freshman tailback Royce Freeman. And, the return of Jake Fisher on the offensive line, which got the nation buzzing.

Those were routine wins - solid wins that were in doubt only for short moments. The Ducks only have to repeat that over and over through the Pac-12 Title Game. But, they could use what you might call a "Statement Win." A win that shows off they're where they were for the 46-27 win over Michigan State in Week 2, when the offense took over the second half at the same time the defense absolutely shut down the Spartans.

There's no better team to make this kind of statement against than Stanford, which played its way through the Ducks and into the Pac-12 Title Game the past two seasons, each time dropping Oregon out of the National Championship picture.

Offense on track. Defense on track - especially throughout the second half. Statement.

It certainly doesn't need to be 59-0, or 82-27, but a solid win that shows off to the nation the Ducks still own the Pac-12. Forget about the last two years with the Cardinal, and now Arizona, Oregon's in charge.

There's no Oregon fans who will complain for one second about a one-point win - the result only has to go into the win column. But, a Michigan State-level win is what the rabid UO faithful want, followed by another series of routine wins over Utah, Colorado and Oregon State. Then, another statement win over Arizona in the league title game. That should put some major flavor into the playoff semifinals, keep season tickets in high demand - and keep the recruits for coming seasons looking at Eugene as much as Tuscaloosa.

 

College football drama lines up

Oregon's road to the college playoffs is scheduled out
Oct. 20, 2014

The SEC West may be the top college football division in the US, but does that mean two of its teams should wind up in the four-team Div. I playoffs in January?

Sportsland, Oregon co-hosts Cliff Pfenning and Derek Weber debate the merits of the SEC against the rest of the college football world amid the theory that the SEC West is so tough - four of the top five ranked teams were from the division this week - that they should deserve a shot at the playoffs, even if one only had one loss, but doesn't reach the SEC title game.

After a substantial drop in the rankings thanks to a loss to Arizona, Oregon returned to the ranks of teams voters want to see in the four-team playoffs, and is sixth in the latest ESPN Power Ratings. Winning out the rest of the season pretty-much guarantees a spot in the playoffs.

But, what of Michigan State? If the Spartans win out, including the Big 10 title, and have only a loss at Oregon against them, should they get a shot at the top four over an SEC team that didn't play in its conference title game?

Also, they talk NFL, Portland Timbers and their drive to reach the playoffs, and the Trail Blazers get some attention as well. It's all recorded at Blitz Pearl in Northwest Portland.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL BIG GAMES

SATURDAY: Mississippi at LSU

NOV. 1: Stanford at Oregon, Auburn at Mississippi, Arkansas at Mississippi State

NOV. 8: Oregon at Utah, Alabama at LSU, Ohio State at Michigan State, Notre Dame at Arizona State

NOV. 15: Auburn at Georgia, Mississippi State at Alabama

NOV. 29: Oregon at Oregon State, Auburn at Alabama, Mississippi State at Mississippi, Notre Dame at USC

DEC. 6: Pac-12 Title Game at Levi's Stadium; SEC Title Game at Georgia Dome; Big 10 Title Game at Lucas Oil Stadium; ACC Championship Game, Charlotte, N.C.

 

DAT heads for money game

Oregon's Thomas decides to leave school, enter the NFL Draft
Jan. 5, 2014

EUGENE - Running back De’Anthony Thomas will leave Oregon to enter the NFL draft, he announced Sunday.

Thomas had 594 rushing yards, 246 receiving yards and 10 total touchdowns this season despite being sidelined for nearly four games because of a right ankle injury.

He also excelled as a returner, running back four kickoffs and a punt for touchdowns in his three seasons in Oregon.

“I am officially withdrawing from the University of Oregon to pursue a professional career in the NFL,” Thomas said in a statement. “I want to express my deepest appreciation and thanks to the University and all of my teammates, coaches and fans. I look forward to staying connected to the University and visiting the sidelines as often as possible.”

Thomas’ 5,345 total yards are third in school history after LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner. He holds Oregon records for kickoff return yards with 1,885 and his 17.1 punt return average.

The 5-foot-9, 170-pound Los Angeles native ran for two touchdowns in the Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin after the 2011 season. The next season in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl win over Kansas State, he ran the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown.

“De’Anthony has been a spectacular talent in college football and has been a part of some of the most memorable plays in the history of the University of Oregon,” Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. “We wish him success going forward with his career.”

Thomas also ran track for the Ducks, anchoring their 4x100-meter relay team.

Thomas joins cornerback Terrance Mitchell as early entries to the draft. Cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu has not yet made a decision on whether to turn pro.

In early voting amongst viewers of Espn.com, nearly half predicted Thomas would be a back-up as a professional.

 

Oregon tops the list for 2013

The Ducks didn't reach the title game, but they had our attention
Dec. 30, 2013

The University of Oregon football team took its fans through highs and lows pretty well this season, and that put the Ducks at the top of the list for memories of the 2013 calendar year for the cast of Sportsland, Oregon, which recorded its 28th episode Monday night.

Oregon had the BCS Title Game squarely in sight until and loss at Stanford, and then slipped out of a BCS game with a punishing loss at Arizona, both of which had fans beginning to look in the direction of first-year coach Mark Helfrich.

But, at 11-2, it's tough to claim Helfrich isn't qualified for the job. So, it's time to relax, find a successor to Nick Aliotti at defensive coordinator, and look toward winning the 2014 Pac-12 title and a spot in the BCS Playoffs.

The show cast: Derek Weber, Marlon Thomas and host Cliff Pfenning, then move on to the NFL and its glorious final day that broke the hearts of Dallas Cowboys fans everywhere.

And, the Portland Trail Blazers, who've quietly dazzled the pro hoop world, took another late-game shot to the chest in the form of a two-point loss at New Orleans, which gave the team its first two-game losing streak of the season with a game at Oklahoma City up next.

It's all recorded at Blitz Pearl in Northwest Portland.

Barner, Mariota lead Pac-12 stars

Coaches name six Ducks, five Beavers to first and second teams
Nov. 26, 2012

Redshirt-freshman Marcus Mariota won his starting position prior to the season and earned the respect of coaches across the Pac-12 Conference they named him Freshman of the Year for offense in all-conference voting announced Monday.

Mariota threw for 30 touchdowns and had the fifth-highest passer rating among college quarterbacks to deserve the award, especially after guiding the Ducks within a win of the national title game.

Oregon placed six representatives on the first or second team, while Oregon State had five.

David Shaw of Stanford was voted Coach of the Year for guiding the Cardinal past Oregon and into the conference title game in only his second year at the helm.

Wide receiver Marqise Lee of USC was named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, defensive tackle Will Sutton of ARIZONA STATE the Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year and defensive end Leonard Williams of USC has been named the Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year.

SELECTIONS

First Team Offense  

QB Marcus Mariota, Fr., Oregon
RB Kenjon Barner, Sr., Oregon

RB Ka’Deem Carey, So., Arizona
WR Marqise Lee, So., USC
WR Markus Wheaton, Sr., Oregon State
TE Zach Ertz, Sr., Stanford
OL Hroniss Grasu, So., Oregon
OL Khaled Holmes, Sr., USC
OL Brian Schwenke, Sr., California
OL Xavier Su’a-Filo, So., UCLA
OL David Yankey, Jr., Stanford

Second Team Offense

QB Matt Scott, Sr., Arizona
RB Johnathan Franklin, Sr., UCLA
RB Stepfan Taylor, Sr., Stanford
WR Austin Hill, So., Arizona
WR Robert Woods, Jr., USC
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, So., Washington
OL Jeff Baca, Sr., UCLA
OL David Bakhtiari, Jr., Colorado
OL Sam Brenner, Sr., Utah
OL Kevin Danser, Sr., Stanford
OL Sam Schwartzstein, Sr., Stanford

First Team Defense

DL Scott Crichton, So., Oregon State
DL Dion Jordan, Sr., Oregon

DL Star Lotulelei, Sr., Utah (2)
DL Will Sutton, Jr., Arizona State
LB Anthony Barr, Jr., UCLA
LB Trent Murphy, Sr., Stanford
LB Chase Thomas, Sr., Stanford (2)
DB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, So., Oregon
DB Joran Poyer, Sr., Oregon State

DB Ed Reynolds, Jr., Stanford
DB Desmond Trufant, Sr., Washington

Second Team Defense

DL Henry Anderson, Jr., Stanford
DL Morgan Breslin, Jr., USC
DL Ben Gardner, Sr., Stanford
DL Datone Jones, Sr., UCLA
LB Kiko Alonso, Sr., Oregon
LB Michael Clay, Sr., Oregon

LB Brandon Magee, Sr., Arizona State
DB Deone Bucannon, Jr., Washington State
DB Alden Darby, Jr., Arizona State
DB T.J.  McDonald, Sr., USC
DB Nickell Robey, Jr., USC

First Team Specialists

PK Vince D'Amato, Jr., California
P Jeff Locke, Sr., UCLA
RS Reggie Dunn, Sr., Utah
ST Jordan Jenkins, Sr., Oregon State

Second Team Specialists

PK Andrew Furney, Jr., Washington State
P Josh Hubner, Sr., Arizona State
RS Marqise Lee, So., USC
ST David Allen, Sr., UCLA

RS=return specialist ST=special teams player (not a kicker or returner) (2) Two-time first team selection

Offensive Player of the Year:  Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year:  Will Sutton, DL, Arizona State
Freshman Offensive Player of the Year:  Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Freshman Defensive Player of the Year:  Leonard Williams, DL, USC
Coach of the Year:  David Shaw, Stanford

ALL-PAC-12 HONORABLE MENTION

ARIZONA: WR Dan Buckner, Sr.; LB Jake Fischer, Jr.; OL Kyle Quinn, Sr.; DB Jared Tevis, So.

ARIZONA STATE: LB Carl Bradford, So.; DB Deveron Carr, Sr.; TE Chris Coyle, Jr.; OL Evan Finkenberg, Jr.; RB D.J. Foster, Fr.; RB Marlon Grice, Jr.; DT Jaxon Hood, Fr.; DB Osahon Irabor, Jr.; DB Keelan Johnson, Sr.; QB Taylor Kelly, So.; RS Rashad Ross, Sr.

CALIFORNIA: WR Keenan Allen, Jr.; RS Brendan Bigelow, So.; DB Josh Hill, Sr.; LB Chris McCain, So; ST Avery Sebastian, So.; DB Steve Williams, Jr.

COLORADO: DB Kenneth Crawley, Fr.; TE Nick Kasa, Sr.; OL Alex Lewis, So.; DB Marques Moseley, Fr.; OL Daniel Munyer, So.; P Darragh O’Neill, So.; DL Will Perciak, Sr.; RB Christian Powell, Fr.; OL Yuri Wright, Fr.

OREGON: OL Jake Fisher, So.; DL Taylor Hart, Jr.; WR Josh Huff, Jr.; DL Wade Keliikipi, Jr.; TE Colt Lyerla, So.; DB Terrance Mitchell, So.; DL Isaac Remington, Sr.; RS De’Anthony Thomas, So.    

OREGON STATE: WR Brandin Cooks, So.; OL Grant Enger, Jr.; DB Raashad Reynolds, Jr.; PK Trevor Romaine, So.; DL Andrew Seumalo; OL Issac Seumalo, Fr.;

STANFORD: DB Usua Amanam, Sr.; DB Terrence Brown, Sr.; DB Alex Carter, Fr.; ST Alex Debniak, Sr.; OL Cameron Fleming, Jr.; RB Ryan Hewitt, Sr.; QB Kevin Hogan, So.; RS Ty Montgomery, So.; DB Jordan Richards, So.; LB Shayne Skov, Sr.; DL Terrence Stephens, Sr.; RS Drew Terrell, Sr.; TE Levine Toilolo, Sr.; P Daniel Zychlinski, Sr.; 

UCLA: DB Andrew Abbott, Sr.; OL Jake Brendel, Fr.; WR Shaq Evans, Jr.; TE Joseph Fauria, Sr.; QB Brett Hundley, Fr.; LB Eric Kendricks, So.; DL Cassius Marsh, Jr.; RS Damien Thigpen, Jr.;

USC: LB Dion Bailey, So.; QB Matt Barkley, Sr.; ST Tony Burnett, Sr.; TE Xavier Grimble, So.; PK Andre Heidari, So.; DL Wes Horton, Sr.; OL John Martinez, Jr.; P Kyle Negrete, Sr.; LB Hayes Pullard, So.; RB Silas Redd, Jr.; OL Max Tuerk, Fr.; DL George Uko, So.; DL Leonard Williams, Fr.

UTAH: DB Brian Blechen, Jr.; DL Nate Fakahafua, So.; DL Joe Kruger, Jr.; TE Jake Murphy, So.; OL Jeremiah Poutasi, Fr.; LB Trevor Reilly, Jr.; DB Eric Rowe, So.; P Sean Sellwood, Sr.; OL Tevita Stevens, Sr.; RB John White, Sr.;

WASHINGTON: LB Travis Feeney, Fr.; ST Justin Glenn, Sr.; DL Andrew Hudson, So.; DB Sean Parker, Jr.; RB Bishop Sankey, So.; OL Drew Schaefer, Sr.; DL Danny Shelton, So.; LB Shaq Thompson, Fr.; LB John Timu, So.; WR Kasen Williams, So.;

WASHINGTON STATE: WR Brett Bartolone, Fr.; OL Elliott Bosch, Jr.; RS Teondray Caldwell, Fr.; LB Cyrus Coen, So.; DL Xavier Cooper, Fr.; LB Travis Long, Sr.; LB Darryl Monroe, Fr.; DB Daniel Simmons, Sr.

Oregon's football drama is on the other sideline

Mon, 11/05/2012 - 4:15pm
Cliff Pfenning
Cliff Pfenning's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 weeks 5 days ago
Joined: 2010-07-01

For the University of Oregon football fans who can remember the 1994 season that culminated with a trip to the Rose Bowl, times have certainly changed.

The team wins more - a lot more, and it's expected to win basically every week. Heck, not basically, just flat out. And, it does.

Oregon wins so often that it's sort of moved right out of the Pac-12 and into the nation's BCS title contenders.

Look at the Ducks' schedule this season and is there another game that sparks any real interest like Nov. 3 at USC?

Washington? Saturday's opponent? Maybe the Huskies will hang on for a half, like Washington State did last year.

If there's one down side to the Oregon football team being so good, it's that there are never any real wins anymore. They're all just waiting to happen. They're all supposed to be victories. The only real drama in any of the games nowadays, is if they can prevent a loss. The real drama for every game the Ducks play is on the opposing sideline. That's what will always make the 1994 season special, because Oregon was the other sideline.

And Washington was Oregon's big rival. OSU hadn't done anything in decades other than lose, and Oregon had been to a couple bowl games in the recent past, so they were due for a special run. The best way to know it was going to happen? Washington. Beat Washington.

The 1994 game, played at Autzen, provided the Ducks the opportunity that set the program up for two decades of success. Kenny Wheaton, just a freshman, returned an interception the lentgh of the field for a touchdown and the Ducks won 31-20.

But, that was a long time ago.

In the following decade, OSU started winning and even went to a BCS game, which made the Civil War important again. And, the Huskies just haven't kept pace. They win sporadically and celebrate when they are able to beat Stanford. The Huskies are ranked thie week - wow!!!

Oregon fans will get pumped when they start drawing votes for No. 1 away from Alabama.

So, Saturday, get out the frankenweenies and marshmallows as the Ducks roast the Huskies across Autzen. Again.

Oregon needs only minutes to handle pressure

Oregon scores 43 points in 18 minutes and pounds Arizona State
Oct. 18, 2012

It didn't take long for Oregon to show off its game to a national television audience Thursday night.

Only about 19 minutes.

Kenjon Barner ran for 143 yards and three touchdowns, Marcus Mariota added 135 yards, and No. 2 Oregon manhandled Arizona State 43-21 at Sun Devils Stadium in Tempe, Ariz.

Facing its first true road test, Oregon (7-0, 4-0 Pac-12) turned what was supposed to be a duel in the desert into another we've-seen-this-before rout by running over the Sun Devils in the first half.

The Ducks had their way against what had been the Pac-12's best defense, racing to a 36-point halftime lead and rushing for 406 yards to win their nation-leading 12th straight road game.

Arizona State (5-2, 3-1) got the start it wanted, forcing a fumble on Oregon's second play and scoring a touchdown on its first.

The Sun Devils wilted after that, unable to make up for the early loss of star defensive tackle Will Sutton or find a way to slow down the Ducks as they raced past.

Taylor Kelly, the Pac-12's pass efficiency leader, threw two interceptions that set up Oregon touchdowns in the first half and had 93 yards on 10-of-18 passing while being chased by the Ducks most of the game.

Arizona State's defense, its anchor through the first six games, allowed 454 total yards, including 48 more rushing than it had the previous four games combined.

Mariota threw for one touchdown, ran for another and had one receiving in his first true road game.

Oregon took a 43-7 lead with 11:33 left in the first half on a 1-yard touchdown run by Barner, a play set up by an interception and return to the 1.


Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/ncaa/gameflash/2012/10/18/49787/index.html#ixzz29kkLqyYq

Pac-12 goes on trial at Arizona State

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 9:27am
Cliff Pfenning
Cliff Pfenning's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 weeks 5 days ago
Joined: 2010-07-01

With the college football season heading for the second half and the BCS Rankings entering every fans' inner man cave, Oregon's game at Arizona State Thursday night carries a lot more weight than just a regular Pac-12 game.

It's an Oregon victory just waiting for the opening kickoff, but the key part most of the nation will be watching isn't the Ducks, but the Sun Devils. The nation won't be looking at how much the Ducks win by, but how the Devils lose - can they make the game interesting for 60 minutes?

How Oregon blows apart the league - other than USC and Stanford last year, is the key reason why Oregon got bumped behind Florida in the BCS even though the Gators have a loss on their record. That's the same deal that happened last year with Alabama and LSU (which ultimately led to the least entertaining championship game in years).

ASU enters the game at 5-1, so it's got the record to promote there's an exciting game waiting to happen. But, the Ducks have gone right through those cases on the way to the conference title the past three seasons.

So, ASU looks like a good team - on paper, but can they put it together on the field and not only play well, but make Oregon have to play really well to win?

What's a good score that'll show that off to the BCS computers?

Oregon 31, ASU 23

The Devils have the ball at the end of the game, but Oregon shuts 'em down at the 25.

 

OSU takes care of another road test

Beavers tame BYU with back-up Cody Vaz at QB and a solid defensive effort
Oct. 13, 2012

Led by a stellar performance from junior Cody Vaz, the Oregon State Beavers not only beat Brigham Young on its home field, it continued moving up in the national rankings with a 42-24 victory Saturday.

Vaz, making his first start, guided the Beavers to a touchdown on their opening poessions and went on to throw for 332 yards and three touchdowns, which earned him the Pac-12 Player of the Week award and even a spot on the ESPN poll for "Impact Player of the Week."

OSU (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) moved up to No. 8 heading in the national coaches' poll into a home game with Utah Saturday night. The Beavers are No. 10 in the first BCS Poll.

 

TIME FOR "WE ARE OREGON STATE" TO START FILMING

Oct. 10, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

It was bound to happen, happen to OSU and Beaver Nation.

Injuries. Or just one injury.

Sean Mannion. He certainly has not been the most instrumental player in OSU's four-game win streak to open the season, but he's been close.

With Mannion leading the offense at quarterback, the Beavers have done just enough to beat four good teams - three who were either in the Top 25 or had gotten votes that week. Just enough is four wins by a combined 26 points - less than a touchdown per game, and last week's 19-6 win accounted for half that total.

The OSU defense has been the center of the team's rise from preseason obscurity to No. 10 in the nation. Mannion's exit with a knee injury for an unspecified time has cast junior Cody Vaz, who's been on the field for games, but never as THE center of the offense, into a role he wasn't expected to fill this season. So, now, a surprising season that's gotten a school record for attendance at a home game, and dreams of facing Oregon at home in the Civil War for the right to play USC (we all expect that) for the right to play in the Rose Bowl - or better, rests on the offense doing just enough with Vaz at QB.

Just enough has been seven points or less in two of the four wins. That's what the Beavers need to focus on this week as they head for BYU, which is 4-2 with all of the wins at home. The Cougars have scored 21 points or better in four of their games, including three wins.

BYU can put points on a scoreboard. But, the nation will be watching for how many points the Beavers don't allow, and the Cougars also haven't scored a lot. They've scored just six points in a game twice, including last week's 6-3 win over Utah State.

With the untested Vaz at QB, the Beavers will be looking to their ground game to pound out some points, but that's been an issue all season. The team's passing game has been it's core with Mannion throwing for an average of 340 yards per game. Rushing? That's 135 yards per game - 3.1 per carry, and four TDs.

If ever there were a time to break out Markus Wheaton as an older version of Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas, this would be the week.

Without having seen Vaz play even one play, it's hard to assess what his impact on a game will be, but that might be what Beaver fans could look for Saturday - that Vaz doesn't need to be a big part of the game because the other parts of the Beavers work so well together - especially on defense.

If OSU clamps down on the Cougars, especially early, there's room to take another step forward into the Top 10 heading into a road game at Washington.

 

Ducks, Devils get a national audience

It won't just be an Oregon win, but a BCS test at Arizona State
Oct. 18, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

With the college football season heading for the second half and the BCS Rankings entering every fans' inner man cave, Oregon's game at Arizona State Thursday night carries a lot more weight than just a regular Pac-12 game.

It's an Oregon victory just waiting for the opening kickoff, but the key part most of the nation will be watching isn't the Ducks, but the Sun Devils. The nation won't be looking at how much the Ducks win by, but how the Devils lose - can they make the game interesting for 60 minutes?

How Oregon blows apart the league - other than USC and Stanford last year, is the key reason why Oregon got bumped behind Florida in the BCS even though the Gators have a loss on their record. That's the same deal that happened last year with Alabama and LSU (which ultimately led to the least entertaining championship game in years).

ASU enters the game at 5-1, so it's got the record to promote there's an exciting game waiting to happen. But, the Ducks have gone right through those cases on the way to the conference title the past three seasons.

So, ASU looks like a good team - on paper, but can they put it together on the field and not only play well, but make Oregon have to play really well to win?

What's a good score that'll show that off to the BCS computers?

Oregon 31, ASU 23

The Devils have the ball at the end of the game, but Oregon shuts 'em down at the 25.

RSS feed