EUGENE - It's been a long 242 days since the Ducks were last in action but the wait is finally over.
Saturday the men in green and yellow will storm out of the tunnel in front of a electrified Autzen stadium in their season opener against Arkansas State.
Fans might see a few open seats on Saturday evening as Oregon’s 82 home game sellout streak will most likely come to an end due to high ticket prices and an unworthy opponent. Rest assured that the Autzen crowd will be fired up and louder than ever.
Encased in the stunning new uniforms will be a bounty of new talent. Most notably will be redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota in the starting quarterback role.
This QB race was so closely fought that it gives the Duck faithful much comfort in the depth at the position. If something were to happen to Mariota it would seem that the Ducks wouldn’t miss a beat with Bennett behind center. Experience will be the biggest limiting factor in the young quarterback's success but luckily he will have a few games to break in his skills.
Oregon opens the season with a four-game homestand against less-than-intimidating opponents, which is perfect for a quarterback with zero in-game experience. Depending on how teams defend Oregon, Mariota might bring a more dynamic running game to the offense.
Last season, Darron Thomas saw a significant decrease in rushing having only attempted 56 plays as opposed to the previous season in which he took off running 93 times. Mariota is likely to run more.
Filling the shoes of David Paulson at tight end might be the most daunting task that the Oregon offense faced this offseason. Sophomore Colt Lyerla will be getting a majority of the reps but veteran Jennings Stewart could bring some maturity to the position. Being a fifth-year senior and having played on both sides of the ball, Stewart has a great football IQ, which will come in handy while he assists his younger teammates. This mentoring role he will play to the younger tight ends might cost him his starting spot on the roster, but his attitude is geared toward team success not individual glory.
Defense will stand out on Saturday as this fierce squad is finally getting the recognition they deserve. Head Coach Chip Kelly attributes their BCS three-peat to the defense, and, although he won’t say it’s the best group he’s coached, he will admit they are good.
Oregon’s defense ranked fifth in the conference in pass defense last season and the young secondary unit looks to improve upon that this season.
Terrance Mitchell and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu will be the starting corners and with a year of experience under their belts, opposing quarterbacks better think twice before heaving the rock into coverage. Last year Mitchell broke up 10 passes and took 2 the other way, he’s a threat anytime the ball is near.
Oregon should put a mark in the win column with ease come Saturday, but this game will provide much needed growth to the young starting squad. Chip Kelly and company pride themselves on preparation and one can only assume they have prepared for this game just as they have prepared for every other game which is a recipe for success.
A drama-filled bloop single scores the winning run for Kent State
June 11, 2012
EUGENE –With its season on the line, the University of Oregon baseball team fell just a few feet short of reaching the College World Series for the first time in six decades Monday night at PK Park.
By scoring in the bottom of the ninth, Kent State earned its first berth in the CWS with a 3-2 win over Oregon in the deciding game of the best-of-three series over the Ducks.
Jimmy Rider drove in the winning run with a shallow pop fly that landed just inside the left-field foul line in the bottom of the ninth to score Derek Toadvine from second to make the Golden Flashes the first team from the Mid-American Conference since 1976 to qualify for the CWS.
Oregon finished its season at 46-19 in the third year since the program was restarted. Oregon last reached the CWS in 1954.
Rider's hit off Oregon closer Jimmie Sherfy fell just out of the reach of shortstop J.J. Altobelli and left fielder Brett Thomas, who appeared to lose track of the ball when it was hit.
OREGON 3, KENT STATE 2
Jake Reed battled back after allowing two early runs, and so did the rest of the teammates as No. 10 Oregon kept its College World Series hopes alive with a 3-2 victory at PK Park on Sunday night.
With the Super Regional series even at one game apiece, the rubber game that will determine which club travels to Omaha is unofficially scheduled for 4 p.m. PT on Monday at PK Park. An announcement of the official game time will be released Monday morning.
Reed (8-4) helped Oregon halt Kent State’s 21-game win streak by holding the Golden Flashes (45-18) to two runs on five hits and two walks, while fanning six in six and 2/3 innings. After surrendering a run in the fourth, the La Mesa, Calif., native retired nine consecutive batters until giving up a two-out single to Derek Toadvine in the bottom of the seventh.
The Ducks (46-18) trailed 2-0 entering seventh, but Oregon finally put the pressure on Kent State starter Ryan Bores, as a wild inning allowed UO to turn a two-run deficit into a one-run, 3-2, advantage.
Ryon Healy started the rally with his second hit of the game, roping a single into center field. Brett Thomas followed with a single into left field that troubled Kent State’s Alex Miklos, allowing Healy to score and Thomas to move to second. With a runner in scoring position, Kyle Garlick was walked, but Ryan Hambright delivered a game-tying RBI single that found a hole through the right side.
With runners on the corners and just one out, Kent State elected to go to its bullpen, and brought Michael Kent to the mound. With Brett Hambright at the plate, Oregon orchestrated the squeeze as the bunt down proved problematic, allowing Garlick to score the go-ahead run.
A last-second foul helped Colorado squeeze past Oregon in a battle among leaders of the Pac-12 Conference Saturday.
Nate Tomlinson hit one of two free throws in the final second after being fouled to give the Buffaloes a 72-71 win before a packed house.
Oregon got 18 points from Devoe Joseph and 17 points from Olu Ashaolu, who had a chance to give the Ducks the lead with 7.6 seconds left, but missed a free throw to complete a three-point play.
Tomlinson drew the crucial foul from E.J. Singler with under a second left in the game.
Oregon fell to 16-7 overall, 7-4 in Pac-12 play, while Colorado improved to 16-7, 8-3.
Singler finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Oregon plays host to conference-leading Washington Thursday night.
OREGON 79, UTAH 68
The Oregon Ducks shook off the second-half malaise from Sunday's loss to Oregon State in time to win at Utah Thursday, and keep pace with Washington in the race for the Pac-12 Conference regular season title.
Devoe Joseph had 20 points, E.J. Singler scored 12 and Carlos Emery added 14 points off the bench as Oregon outscored the Utes 43-32 in the second half and won 79-68.
The Ducks hit 28 of 57 (49 percent) shots from the field and 15 of 17 (88 percent) of their 17 free-throw attempts to improve to 16-6 overall, 7-3 in Pac-12 play.
Washington beat UCLA Thursday to improve to 15-7, 8-2.
The Ducks, who play at Colorado Saturday, trailed 59-58 when they scored the next 11 points to take control of the game.
Colorado also improved to 7-3 in Pac-12 play with an 82-60 blowout of Oregon State Thursday.
Coming off only the second sweep of the Arizona schools, the Oregon men's basketball team has a chance to move up into the conference leaders with Southern Cal and UCLA headed to Eugene.
Oregon enters the games, starting with USC Thursday, in fourth place in the Pac-12 at 4-2, 13-5 overall.
Following Thursday's game with USC (0-5, 5-13), the Ducks play host to UCLA (3-2, 10-7) on Saturday in the second set of home games in confernce play.
Having played four of its six Pac-12 games this season on the road, the Ducks have been impressive in posting a 3-1 road record in league play. The other 11 Pac-12 teams have managed a combined 6-22 record on the road in conference action.
CALIFORNIA 77, OREGON 60
Oregon got hit by a careeer-topping performance from California's Allen Crabbe and dropped a 77-60 decision to the Bears Sunday at Matthew Knight Arena.
Crabbe connected on six 3-point shots and scored 26 points to lead Cal, which improved to13-4 overall, 3-1 in Pac-12 play.
Oregon got 14 points from Devoe Joseph and 12 from E.J. Singler, but couldn't follow Thursday's win over Stanford and fell to 11-5, 2-2, earning its second split in two conference series.
The Ducks play at the Arizona schools this weekend - Arizona State on Thursday and Arizona on Saturday.
OREGON 78, STANFORD 67
Senior Devoe Joseph scored a career-high 30 points and led the Oregon Ducks to an impressive 78-67 win over Stanford in Pac-12 Conference men's basketball action Thursday at Matthew Knight Arena.
Joseph, who transferred from Minnesota during the summer, connected on 9 of 15 shots from the field, including five three-point shots, to help Oregon improve to 2-1 in conference play and 11-4 overall.
E.J. Singler made 10 free throws in the final three minutes and finished with 13 points to back up Joseph.
The Ducks continue a weekend homestand against Cal Sunday at 4:30 p.m.
Josh Owen led Stanford (12-3, 2-1) with 19 points.
Ducks beat UCLA 49-31 in an all-around lackluster performance
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
As Chip Kelly prepared to head for the locker room after the first half, FOX Sports sideline commentator Tim Brewster asked Oregon coach Chip Kelly how he felt about his team's play and he talked about the need to limit mistakes and catch passes. Fans watching the game could only agree with Kelly on the opportunities the Duck missed to make a statement to the nation.
Forget, of course, that the Ducks had 35 points at the time. The inaugural Pac-12 Football Championship Game was that frustrating to watch with any kind of perspective as the Ducks won 49-31 and earned a spot in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 2.
Oregon blew out UCLA in the first half, but the score could have been even more of a blowout if just a couple plays had gone differently.
The Ducks were never in danger of losing to a team that lost 50-0 last week and was playing under its coach for the final time after his firing Monday. Oregon had dreams of playing in the BCS Title game just two weeks ago. The Ducks caused a turnover in two plays, then scored in four, with LaMichael James running untouched through the Bruins' version of the Sahara Desert Defense that included no linebackers or even one safety.
So, how would a 70-0 win in a conference title game look?
Then Oregon relaxed. Its next two drives ended in turnovers, including one that got returned for a score and tied the game 7-all. Oregon played undisciplined in all facets of its game, including a flock of penalties, and still scored 49 points. That would've led some people to Tweet something like "we sucked, and still creamed them."
UCLA never had a chance to win, but it won by not getting absolutely blown out.
So, what score would've made the Pac-12 look better - 70-0, where Oregon played at the level it would've needed to beat USC? Or the actual 49-31, where Oregon played at a level where coaches would've busted blood vessels had they been playing an elite-level opponent, yet still won by three scores?
The Pac-12, which had four of its 12 coaches fired this year, didn't fare much better, especially with the game coverage on FOX Sports. Audio didn't work regularly. There were numerous points where camerawork seemed to be without any direction, including the halftime Tuition Toss. De'Anthony Thomas disappeared from the game for an unknown reason, but showed up on the sideline, which caused Brewster to point out that only time would tell if Thomas would play again. That's some solid sideline work.
Of course, Oregon vs. UCLA isn't exactly Wisconsin vs. Michigan State. FOX Sports won't be making those errors in the Big 10 title game.
To put an exclamation point on the uneven evening, Kelly verbally pumped up conference sponsors Dr. Pepper and UPS on the stage quickly erected in an end zone, shortly after honoring outgoing University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere.
What an evening. It sure didn't make the Pac-12 look like an even competitor to a conference like the Big 10, but that can all be wiped away on Jan. 2 in the Rose Bowl.
James, Thomas lead Oregon past Oregon State, 49-21
Oregon shook off the hangover from last week’s loss to USC and what might have been in the BCS standings, and beat Oregon State handily in the Civil War, 49-21, at Autzen Stadium.
LaMichael James ran for 142 yards before leaving with what appeared to be a left elbow injury, and Oregon won the North Division of the Pac-12 Conference and will play host to the first conference championship game.
The Ducks (10-2, 8-1 Pac-12) will host UCLA on Friday night with a chance to win their third straight conference title and a spot in the Rose Bowl.
The Beavers (3-9, 3-6) will miss a bowl game for the second straight season.
James, who went into the 115th Civil War as the nation’s top rusher with an average of 142.78 yards per game, was hurt midway through the third when he was hit by Oregon State linebacker Tony Wilson.
The junior running back was already wearing a brace on his right elbow, which he dislocated on Oct. 6 against California. He missed two games because of that injury.
Not long after he left the field on Saturday, James’ elbow was wrapped in ice by a trainer. The injury did not appear to be serious because he danced a bit on the sideline with teammate Kenjon Barner during the timeout before the fourth quarter.
Oregon looked as if it was making a strong bid for a spot in the BCS championship game until last weekend, when the Ducks fell to Southern Cal 38-35. But Oregon State didn’t give them any trouble.
Darron Thomas threw for 305 yards and four touchdowns.
After a frustrating loss to Louisiana State a week ago, the Oregon Ducks are ready to re-open the college football season Saturday with a wini over Nevada Saturday at Autzen Stadium.
They just have to make it happen.
Oregon lost 40-27 to the Tigers in the Cowboys Classic in Arlington, Texas, and played less-than-impressively, especially on offense, where quarterback Darron Thomas attempted 54 pass. Running back LaMichael James, a preseason contender for the Heisman Trophy, gained just 54 yards on 12 carries, which most observers figure wiped him out of a place in the New York Athletic Club for the announcement of the winner.
Oregon coach Chip Kelly worked to keep the public focused on the length of the season following the game.
"It's one game and this is a long, long, long season," Kelly told reporters this week. "We talk about it all the time as being a 12-round fight. We're down. We didn't get knocked out in Round 1, but we lost Round 1. These kids will come back to work."
Nevada won't be a pushover. The Wolf Pack finished 13-1 last season and handed Boise State its lone regular season loss, a loss that kept the Broncos from any legitimate shot at a place in the national championship game - which Oregon played in.
Ducks make plenty of mistakes in 40-27 loss to LSU
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
The Oregon football team sure is a frustrating group to watch these days.
And, get this, the Ducks have a two-game losing streak.
Oregon's vaunted hurry-up offense with the magic play-calling that uses the four-quadrant flash cards did a whole lot of not much Saturday against what looked like a pretty average team in Louisiana State during a 40-26 loss in the Cowboys Classic.
The Ducks wouldn't give the ball to Heisman hopeful LaMichael James on consecutive plays, wouldn't use Darron Thomas as an option quarterback and even forgot to instruct punt returner Kenyon Barner to run toward the other team's goal line ... and hold onto the ball.
When they finally did start running the ball like it was the key to their offense they used freshman De'Anthony Thomas, who is just getting used to college-level defenders and he fumbled away two possessions.
Combined with the loss to Auburn in the national title game last season, the third-ranked Ducks have dropped consecutive games for the first time since 2007, when they lost three-straight games after opening the season at 8-1.