Oregon Ducks

Former Duck active in Lithuania

Mike Moser's career takes him to the Baltic States for league, EuroCup play
Jan. 18, 2014 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

Mike Moser make some noise with his workouts for NBA teams in summer, but that wasn't enough to earn a selection in the 2014 Draft. It didn't stall his basketball career, though.

Moser, a former Grant High and University of Oregon standout, landed with the Lithuania club BC Lietuvos rytas, which plays its home games in Vilnius in the 11-team Lithuanian league. He is one of three U.S. nationals playing for the team: Travis Leslie out of Georgia, and Billy Baron out of Canisius; are the others.

Moser had training camp invitations from several teams, according to his agent Adam Pensack, but opted to sign with Rytas for one season. The contract does not contain an NBA opt out. "Great opportunity for him. Couldn't pass it up," Pensack, told MassLive after he signed. "Great team. Good opportunity financially."

His current club is one of the most successful in the league history, having won five league titles and finishing second 10 other times in the 21-year history of the league. Last season, though, the team finished third and played its way into the second-tier league amongst European club teams - the EuroCup.

In a recent game, Moser had 20 points and nine rebounds in a 91-61 victory that moved the team to 13-2 overall, 0.5 games behind league power Zalgiris, which is led by 2010 Big 12 Player of the Year James Lee Anderson. Anderson played last season with the Philadelphia 76ers before moving to Lithuania.

In EuroCup play, Rytas is 7-2 and leads its six-team group.

 

Beavers lead in-state NCAA sweep

OSU, Oregon, PSU and Portland all score conference wins Thursday
Jan. 22, 2015 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

Oregon State’s incredible home-court run continued unabated on Thursday night as the Beavers knocked off UCLA 66-55 to remain undefeated at Gill Coliseum on a night all four of Oregon’s NCAA Div. I schools won.

The Beavers (13-5, 4-2 Pac-12) improved to 11-0 at home, equaling their best start since the 1981-82 team won all 11 of its home games. They have now defeated UCLA three times in a row at Gill Coliseum for the first time since 1989-91.

Junior guard Gary Payton II had 18 points, seven rebounds, six assists and five steals in leading the Beavers to their fourth win in their last five games. He had 15 points five rebounds and four steals in the first half alone.

In Eugene, Oregon beat Southern Cal 75-67, Portland beat visiting Pacific 72-69, and Portland State beat Weber State on the road, 69-63.

A week ago, all four schools lost on Thursday night.

OSU sophomore guard Malcolm Duvivier went 8-of-8 from the line in the closing 54 seconds and finished with 19 points, six rebounds and five assists as the Beavers scored another emotional win before an energized crowd of 6,024 - the memory of the team’s upset of No. 7 Arizona two weeks ago still fresh.

The Beavers shot 51 percent (22-43) from the field, hit 16 of 18 free throws and limited the Bruins (11-8, 3-3) to 31 percent shooting overall (19-62) and 24 percent (6-25) from 3-point range.

OREGON
The Ducks ended a two-game losing streak with a late surge against the Trojans, who rallied back from a 16-2 deficit to tie the game at 61-all. Oregon then hit a 9-0 run to take over the game before a crowd of 5,652 at Matthew Knight Arena.

Joseph Young led Oregon with 19 points.

PORTLAND
Sophomore guard Alec Wintering hit a 3-point shot at the buzzer to provide the winning margin for the Pilots at the Chiles Center.
Kevin Bailey led the team with 21 points, and Thomas Vander Mars added 17 points and eight rebounds for teh Pilots, who take on St. Mary’s Saturday. The Gaels lost at Gonzaga

Thursday in a battle for the WCC lead.

PORTLAND STATE

Thursday’s win boosted the Vikings into fifth place in the Big Sky Conference, and bumped the Wildcats to seventh - the standings would have been switched had the outcome been reversed. PSU plays at last-place Idaho State Saturday.

 

Semifinal pairings could not be better

The storylines make the College Football Playoff Committee shine
Dec. 7, 2014 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

No matter what Texas Christian fans might be thinking today, and those from Baylor, too, college football fans definitely got their money's worth out of the committee that selected the four teams that will play for the national title - they got drama and excitement.

There could not have been a better finale to the regular season than Saturday's games - none of them upsets, which led to all the hype over what the committee would do with Big 10 champion Ohio State and the two co-champions of the Big 12: TCU and Baylor.

Would TCU drop from its spot at third last week to lower than fourth and miss the playoffs?

Would Baylor move up to fourth because of its win over TCU during the regular season?

Would Ohio State's stunning victory over Wisconsin in the Big 10 title game boost it to fourth, despite being No. 5 last week?

Would the Big 12 teams get the shaft for not having a title game? And, why doesn't the conference have a title game - it doesn't like money?

So many questions, so much hype. It's exactly what the playoffs are supposed to create, and it did - the SEC West even played its way out of any discussion it should have two teams involved thanks to Mississippi State losing not only to Alabama, but then to Mississippi.

Ultimately, Ohio State got the nod as the fourth playoff team, and it was clear-cut in the voting, too, in remarks made following the release of the pairings. And, that's what should have happened - the four conference champions earned their spot in the semifinals, while the Big 12 co-champions were left to ponder what would have happened if they had played a conference title game ... or just went unbeaten.

TCU lost 61-58 to Baylor (defense, eh?), while Baylor lost at West Virginia the week after its win over the Horned Frogs.

What a season, and it's not over. Remember Mississippi State's rise from being unranked to No. 1? That seems like such a long time ago. And, Oregon dropping from No. 3 to 12 in one week after it's humbling loss at home to Arizona. But, that was the week before seemingly the entire nation got upset on a single day - Baylor included.

The semifinals are not just great in terms of teams involved, but storylines, too. Oregon and Florida State are likely to have two Heisman Trophy winners involved, while Alabama and Ohio State have coaches with numerous games between them.

There's nearly a month to pump up the games.

Look out ratings records.

 

 

 

OSU's million-to-one shot

The Beavers get a rare chance for historic glory Saturday against Oregon
Nov. 26, 2014 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

Corvallis is plenty off the beaten path in the college football world, so it's hard for the Oregon State football team to get a lot of publicity. But, that won't be true Saturday, so it's as big an opportunity to make an impact in front of the nation's fans and incoming recruits as the program is going to get.

The Beavers get to play in-state rival Oregon at home and on national television with the Ducks needing only win by any margin to continue their path toward the College Football Playoffs.

Oregon State, meanwhile, is playing for its football life - especially its seniors. The Beavers have five wins and need a sixth to become bowl. So a win Saturday extends the season by a month. And, a sixth win qualifies coach Mike Riley for a bonus of more than $1.5 million as it would add another year onto his contract for winning six games.

Riley has never seemed like someone motivated by money (and his contract already runs through 2021), but the game is being played at Reser Stadium, and being on national TV with the win moving his team to a bowl game, it might just be what his staff needs to produce what would be one of its biggest upsets.

There's plenty of elements in place for Saturday, too.

First, it's at home. The Beavers just seem to be a different animal at home. Almost all of their big wins are at Reser these days, starting with USC. OSU hasn't beaten USC in Los Angeles since 1964, but it's owned the team in the past decade at Reser, regardless of the Trojans' rankings.

Two weeks ago, the Beavers beat No. 7 Arizona State at Reser, 35-27.

Saturday is the final home game for seniors, led by quarterback Sean Mannion.

Second, the Ducks are ranked No. 2, and have beaten the Beavers six straight times - so they should win. The betting line is by nearly three touchdowns, too. This is one of the best elements an underdog has available - surprise, even if the Ducks publicly say they're fully ready. In Oregon's lone loss - to Arizona on its home field, it was rated a 23-point favorite.

And, Oregon has shown it's available for a big loss, too. At Utah, the Ducks were on their way to being down 14-0 when fate intervened in the form of a historic "Not Top 10" play. Even then, the game was 30-27 in the second half.

Third, it's on ABC. If there's a way to pump up a group of seemingly overmatched football players, just put some cameras in their faces and tell them every play they make has the potential to be a national headline.

Oregon is already in the Pac-12 Conference Championship Game, so it realistically only needs to win by one point, which it did last year, 36-35 at Autzen Stadium. That's going to be in player's heads throughout the game.

Oregon Stat's best chance is a dominating start, especially on defense. And, it's performed well on defense. Against ASU, the defense gave up only 20 points as one of the Sun Devils' scores was on a fumble return.

Saturday's game looks like a blowout on paper - for Oregon fans, and maybe the world. But, it's one of the biggest wins the Beavers can ever have, one the program will celebrate for decades, and that opportunity doesn't come along very often.

Ducks get their due in rankings

The Playoff Committee has Oregon awaiting SEC losses
Oct. 28, 2014

The Oregon football program got left out of the important part of first version of the College Football Playoff rankings  - a spot in the four-team playoffs. But it’s right where it needs to be to finish where it wants to be.

Oregon is fifth.

Mississippi State, Florida State, Auburn and Mississippi are the top four teams in the first rankings, meaning those four teams would play for the national title if the season ended today.

The first of seven Top 25 rankings compiled by a 12-member selection committee was released Tuesday night. The selection committee will ultimately pick the four teams to play in the national semifinals and set the matchups for the other four big New Year’s Day bowls that are part of the playoff rotation.

“It was extremely difficult, more difficult than any of us had expected having gone through our mock selections before,” Arkansas athletic director and committee chairman Jeff Long said. “There are 18 one-loss teams in FBS at this point in time, and the difference between many of them is very slim.”

Alabama was sixth, giving the Southeastern Conference’s West Division four of the top six teams. There are still four games remaining matching those SEC West rivals, starting with Saturday’s matchup of Auburn and Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi.

“We don’t analyze it by conference,” Long said. “We look at those teams and evaluate the teams they played and the success they had, or the failures they had.”

The final rankings will be released Dec. 7, the day after the most of the conference championships are decided.

“Everyone on the selection committee recognized that our rankings will change over the next six weeks,” Long said. “I think that’s important for us to emphasize. We expect our rankings to change over the next six weeks. One week’s rankings won’t influence the next week’s rankings.”

TCU was seventh, Michigan State was eighth, Kansas State ninth and Notre Dame was 10th.

Mississippi State and defending national champion Florida State are the only undefeated teams left among the Big Five conferences.

“It’s cool,” Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott said. “That’s something you can never take away from the university or this program. First-ever ranking, first team to be No. 1, so that’s pretty cool for the university.”

The Bulldogs and Seminoles also hold the first two spots in the AP Top 25. No. 3 was where the differences started between the playoff rankings and the media poll.

The AP voters had Alabama at No. 3 and Auburn at No. 4. Oregon was fifth, Notre Dame was sixth and Ole Miss was seventh after losing for the first time this season at LSU on Saturday. Ole Miss beat Alabama at home earlier this month.

This is the first year for the playoff format in college football, and the list is the first indication of how the committee is evaluating teams’ playoff potential.

While Ole Miss received a better ranking than Alabama, head-to-head victories weren’t always the deciding factor for the committee.

Arizona, which won at Oregon, is 12th. Baylor, which beat TCU, is 13th.

Long said in both cases the head-to-head loser had the better overall resume. Long said Oregon’s victories against Michigan State and UCLA stood out. And Baylor’s lack of quality opposition so far held back the Bears.

“They have not had a strong schedule outside of their win against TCU,” Long said.

Time for a statement victory

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 9:13am
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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.

 

Stanford is just what Oregon needs

The Ducks have a major score to settle Saturday against the Cardinal
Oct. 28, 2014 / By Cliff Pfenning

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.

And, another huge opportunity for Mariota to move forward in the program's destiny of winning a Heisman Trophy.

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.

Ducks button up Bears, 59-41

Mariota passes for five TDs in routine road victory
Oct. 24, 2014 / Associated Press

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Marcus Mariota matched his season high with five touchdown passes, and broke the Oregon record for career passing yards in a 59-41 Pac-12 Conference victory over California on Friday night in the first college game at Levi’s Stadium.

Mariota completed 18 of 30 passes for 326 yards, and ran for 36 yards. He also threw his first interception of the season, ending his streak of passes without an interception at 253.

Royce Freeman ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns to overcome a critical early turnover, and Charles Nelson scored on a 58-yard punt return to help Oregon (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12) win its sixth straight against Cal.

Jared Goff passed for 360 yards and two touchdowns for Cal (4-4, 2-4), which led 14-7 in the first quarter.

Oregon plays at home Nov. 1 against Stanford at 4:30 p.m.


Mariota pushed his career total to 8,625 yards, breaking Bill Musgrave’s record of 8,343 on the Ducks’ opening possession with the first of two touchdown throws to Dwayne Stanford. The junior quarterback has at least one TD pass all 34 of his career games.

“You might want to go buy a lottery ticket, Marcus made a couple of mistakes,” Helfrich said. “I’m actually glad, I think, that that happened to get him off the schneid.”

Royce Freeman ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns to overcome an early turnover, and Charles Nelson scored on a 58-yard punt return to help Oregon (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12) win its sixth straight against Cal.

Jared Goff passed for 360 yards and two touchdowns for Cal (4-4, 2-4), but the Bears couldn’t overcome multiple breakdowns and lost their third straight.

Mariota had scoring throws of 22, 9 and 24 yards in the first half alone. That made it easy to overlook his interception.

“It’s almost funny, you just expect him to be perfect,” Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. “Marcus is such a stud. It’s great that he has another 1 1/2 years left.”

The game drew an announced crowd of 55,575 at Levi’s Stadium, home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers. Large sections of Oregon fans attended the game, negating any home-field advantage Cal might have had.

Mariota and Co. didn’t disappoint the faithful and moved Oregon one step closer to playing for the Pac-12 championship in December. That game also will be played at Levi’s Stadium.

Dwayne Stanford caught six passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns, and Byron Marshall added four catches for 133 yards and a touchdown.

The Ducks got a lift from their defense, too.

Oregon forced a fumble by Goff deep in Cal territory to set up Aidan Schneider’s 24-yard field goal in the first half. Oregon also stopped the Bears on fourth-and-1 near midfield, and Mariota capitalized with a 9-yard touchdown pass Pharaoh Brown.

Nelson’s 58-yard punt return made it 31-14. He took off down the Oregon sideline before cutting back near the 25 and outracing a trio of Bears.

Cal cut it to 31-28 late in the second quarter before the Ducks pulled away.

“We made too many mistakes in the ballgame to beat a team as good as Oregon,” Bears coach Sonny Dykes said. “We’ve just got to get more disciplined. Guys are trying to make some plays and sometimes are trying to do too much.”

Mariota threw a 54-yard touchdown pass to Marshall in the third quarter and a 21-yarder to Brown in the fourth. Freeman added a 2-yard touchdown run.

The Bears stayed close early behind their ground game.

Backup quarterback Luke Rubenzer scored on a 12-yard keeper up the middle, then freshman Vic Enwere added a 19-yard touchdown run after he bounced off a pair of defenders at the 5, spun and stumbled into the end zone to give Cal a 14-7 lead.

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.

 

What's Oregon, Portland need?

The Ducks are almost an elite-level program, while Timbers can't win
April 8, 2014 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

After two consecutive berths in the NCAA Tournament, and at least one win each season, the University of Oregon's men's basketball program is definitely headed in the right direction toward winning a national title.

When that might happen is a big question. That's the opening topic of Episode 8 of Sportland, Oregon 2014, recorded at Blitz Pearl in Northwest Portland.

Coach Dana Altman has led the Ducks to consistent success since taking over the program from Ernie Kent in 2010. Cast members Cliff Pfenning and Derek Weber chat up the next step for Oregon starting with an unprecedented third consecutive trip to the tournament next season.

Then, it's off to the Portland Trail Blazers, who are back in the NBA Playoffs for the first time in three seasons. The Blazers are headed for a final record that's 20 games over .500, but they were that far above .500 at mid-season. Since then, they're .500, and might be the least dangerous playoff team in the Western Conference.

The Portland Timbers are as dangerous and exciting as any team in Major League Soccer after five games, but they just can't turn those qualities into a win so far. Saturday's 4-4 draw with Seattle showed off that factor as the team led 4-2 entering the final 15 minutes.

The Winterhawks get some air time, as well as the Roofball World Championships.

 

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