Oregon Ducks

Ducks handle stubborn WSU

Oregon's miscues make a 61-31 victory look more like a tie
Oct. 19, 2013

EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota rarely gets rattled. But he does get concerned.

Never mind that the second-ranked Ducks handily defeated Washington State 62-38, or that Mariota threw for two touchdowns and ran for another.

The sophomore quarterback was kicking himself for a pair of fumbles, both of which led to first-half touchdowns for the Cougars.

"I've got to take care of the ball better," he proclaimed after the game.

Mariota kicked things off with a 57-yard scoring dash on the first series of the game for the Ducks, who wore pink helmets, cleats and socks for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Teammate Byron Marshall ran for 192 yards and three touchdowns.

Mariota's star has continued to rise as the Ducks (7-0, 4-0 Pac-12) have collected wins, and he is considered by many to be a leading Heisman Trophy candidate. The fumbles were his first turnovers this season, and he has yet to throw an interception.

"I'm just trying to handle it the best that I can," he said. "It's not just me that's doing well, it's the team."

Except for the fumbles, Mariota was his solid self, completing 23 of 32 passes for 327 yards.

Meanwhile, Washington State's Connor Halliday was breaking records.

Halliday completed 58 of 89 passes for 557 yards and four touchdowns for the Cougars (4-4, 2-3). His attempts broke the FBS-level record of 83 set by Drew Brees for Purdue on Oct. 10, 1998. His total attempts and completions also broke the Pac-12 records set by Arizona's Matt Scott last season, and his total yards set a Washington State record.

But Halliday also threw four interceptions, including one that was returned 51 yards for a touchdown by Terrance Mitchell early in the fourth quarter. The junior leads the nation with 17 interceptions.

"I knew going in, on about Monday of last week, that we were going to throw it a lot. I mean, nobody ever thinks 89 is going to be the number," Halliday said.

While Washington State pulled within 27-21 in the first half, Oregon cleaned up the mistakes in the second half and pulled away, racking up 719 yards in total offense. Freshman Thomas Tyner ran for 99 yards and two touchdowns.

The Ducks were coming off a 45-24 victory over Washington in Seattle last weekend. After Stanford's upset loss to Utah last week, undefeated Oregon is alone in first place in the Pac-12 North.

The Cougars were coming off a 52-24 loss to Oregon State in Pullman last weekend. The Beavers outscored Washington State 28-0 in the fourth quarter and Halliday threw three interceptions.

"One thing that is really impressive about Oregon is how decisively they play," coach Mike Leach said. "They're probably the most decisive team in how they play in the country."

Oregon remained without dynamic running back De'Anthony Thomas, who was in pads and practiced before the game but didn't play for the third straight game. Thomas, who has run for 338 yards and six touchdowns, has been out since his slipped on the rain-soaked turf at Autzen on the opening kickoff against Cal.

After Mariota's opening touchdown, Marshall plowed across the line for a 1-yard touchdown midway through the first to up Oregon's lead to 13-0. Halliday found Dom Williams in the corner of the end zone with an 11-yard scoring pass, but Marshall answered with a 26-yard scoring run to make it 20-7.

Tyner made an acrobatic catch to get to the Washington State 1, then powered into the end zone for the touchdown early in the second quarter.

Mariota was sacked and his fumble was recovered by Washington State, leading to Halliday's 22-yard pass to River Cracraft for the freshman receiver's first touchdown.

He was sacked and fumbled again on the next series and Xavier Cooper scooped up the ball and ran it in to narrow the score to 27-21 with 5:35 left before halftime.

"Our culture around here is always one play at a time," Mariota said. "Whatever happens you have to shake it off and move on."

Tyner scored on a 66-yard run for the Ducks before Andrew Furney kicked a 49-yard field goal for the Cougars as time ran out to make it 34-24.

Mariota found Keanon Lowe with a 10-yard scoring pass and Marshall scored on a 30-yard run in the third quarter before Mitchell's pick six early in the fourth.

Halliday threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Gabe Marks with 3:48 left and added a 3-yard scoring toss to Bobby Ratliff with 11 seconds to go for the final margin.

Halliday's passing yards surpassed Alex Brink's Washington State record of 531 against Oregon State in 2005.

"That's crazy. I don't think I could throw that many passes. My arm would hurt," Cougars defensive lineman Xavier Cooper said.

The Ducks extended their winning streak over the Cougars to seven straight.

Washington State defeated a ranked opponent earlier this season when they beat then-No. 25 USC 10-7, although it was before the Trojans fired head coach Lane Kiffin. The Cougars have not defeated a team in the top five since 2003, when they downed No. 5 Texas 28-20 in the Holiday Bowl.

Oregon planned to auction a number of the pink helmets off after the game to raise money for Kay Yow Cancer Fund, named after the North Carolina State women's basketball coach who died of breast cancer in 2009.

Oregon blasts through Huskies

Washington does well to hang within three scores of the Ducks, 45-24
Oct. 13, 2013

SEATTLE (AP) - In five previous outings this season, Marcus Mariota was wearing a baseball cap and sending in signals from the Oregon sideline by the time the fourth quarter rolled around.

When the Ducks were finally pushed on Saturday, Mariota and his teammates gave an emphatic response that added another notch to a decade of dominance over their rivals to the north.

Mariota threw for 366 yards and three touchdowns, added another 88 yards and one TD rushing, and the second-ranked Ducks beat No. 16 Washington 45-24 to extend their winning streak in the series to 10.

"Guys were able to battle. I definitely think we're a four-quarter type team, we just haven't had a reason to play four quarters," Oregon running back Byron Marshall said. "So the fact we got the first one under our belt to answer everyone's questions is good."

Mariota's passing was nearly spotless, he used his legs to make the Huskies pay when throwing options were covered, and he was easily the best player on the field. Mariota completed 24 of 31 passes, and ran another 13 times. He threw touchdowns of 4 and 3 yards to Bralon Addison and a 65-yarder to Josh Huff on Oregon's first possession of the second half. Huff had to be carted to the locker room with an apparent right leg injury in the first half, only to come back after halftime and burn the Huskies secondary.

Most impressive, Mariota answered every challenge Washington made. Twice in the second half the Huskies pulled within a touchdown. Both times, Mariota responded by leading the Ducks (6-0, 3-0 Pac-12) to touchdowns of their own. Mariota topped 300 yards passing for the sixth time in his college career.

"He was awesome. I haven't seen the stats but he played really well," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. "He played really smart and very productive. A bunch of guys made a bunch of plays for him too."

Marshall added 106 yards rushing and two touchdowns and while Oregon's streak of scoring at least 55 points ended at five games, the Ducks passed their first test of the season.

De'Anthony Thomas suited up for the Ducks but it was just decoration. Sidelined with a sprained ankle the past two games, Thomas went through pregame warm-ups but never left the Oregon sideline. Turns out they didn't need him.

The Ducks rolled up 631 total yards and averaged 7.8 yards per touch against a Washington defense that came into Saturday third best in the country allowing just 3.9 yards per play and third in pass efficiency defense.

Yet Mariota gladly exposed the gap that remains between the Ducks and Huskies. Mariota hit on 13 of his first 15 passes and now has 25 combined touchdowns and zero turnovers this season.

"Marcus was huge again for us today. He was taking care of the tempo and just leaving everything on the field for us," Huff said. "We stayed with him and were able to come away with the victory."

Bishop Sankey ran for 167 yards and touchdowns of 60 and 25 yards for Washington, but the Huskies (4-2, 1-2) defense that stood stout against Stanford last week was exposed. The Huskies gave up 633 total yards. Washington was third in the country giving up 3.9 yards per offensive play, but the Ducks averaged 7.9.

Sankey was responsible for a major first-half swing that left the Huskies playing from behind. Tied at 7-7 and driving, Sankey fumbled for the first time this season on a third-down run at the Oregon 31. The fumble was forced by cornerback Troy Hill and recovered by Torrondney Prevot. Mariota went to work, and connected with Addison for a 4-yard TD and a 14-7 lead.

Washington went three-and-out on its next series holding possession for barely one minute. Oregon followed with a seven-play drive, with three plays of 15 yards or more. Marshall capped the drive with a 15-yard sprint and a 21-7 Ducks lead. Washington's Keith Price also threw an interception late in the second quarter deep in Oregon's end. Price finished 19 of 32 for 182 yards and one TD.

"I thought both of our turnovers occurred in their territory and took potential points off the board for us and gave them possessions," Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said.

The Huskies closed to 21-14 on the first drive of the second half when Sankey burst 60 yards on fourth-and-1, but Mariota answered by dropping his long TD pass to Huff. Washington got within 31-24 on Sankey's 25-yard TD run in the final minute of the third quarter. The Ducks answered in less than 90 seconds with Mariota scoring on a 5-yard run and he added a 3-yard TD pass to Addison for the final margin. Addison finished with eight catches for 157 yards.


Ducks power through Colorado

Marcus Mariota contributes seven touchdowns in 57-16 victory
Oct. 5, 2013

The Oregon Ducks continued through the soft part of their 2013 schedule with a 57-16 blowout at Colorado Saturday in a Pac-12 Conference football game.

Quarterback Marcus Mariota threw five touchdown passes and ran for two more in the game, which the Buffaloes led 10-8 in the first quarter and then had the ball after stopping the ensuing Oregon drive. Oregon's Terrance Mitchell followed with the first of two interceptions in the quarter to spark the offense to score three more times for a 29-10 lead after 15 minutes.

No. 2 Oregon (5-0, 2-0) gave up a season-high four scores on defense in the first half, but worked a shutout in the second half.

On the season, Oregon's defense has given up 59 points. Oregon's offense is averaging 59 points per game.

The Ducks face Washington (4-1, 1-1) , which is coming off a frustrating 31-28 loss at Stanford, in Seattle Saturday.


Marcus keeps the Heisman heat on

Mariota leads Oregon to rout of Tennessee, keeps pace with 'Johnny Football'
Sept. 16, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

"Johnny Football" might have the attention of the sports world, but Marcus Mariota continues to keep pace with the defending Heisman Trophy winner as the 2013 college football season moves into high gear.

That's a prime topic for the cast of Sportsland, Oregon for the 22nd Episode of the year, recorded from Blitz Pearl in Northwest Portland. Host Cliff Pfenning, Derek Weber and Marlon Thomas delve into the Ducks' season after they moved to 3-0.

Mariota threw for 456 yards and four touchdowns in Oregon's 59-14 victory over Tennessee, cranking out the stats in less than three full quarters. The rout kept them No. 2 in the AP Poll after No. 1 Alabama beat No. 6 Texas A&M 49-42, overcoming Johnny Manziel in the process. Manziel had 562 yards of total offense in the game.

Beyond the Ducks, the cast looks into Oregon State and Portland State football, as well as entertaining topics such as the depth of the NFL, whether Kansas City or New York is more of a favorite to jump into an American League Wild Card playoff spot, and the value of having too many good players on a Fantasy Football team.

It's all on Episode 22 of Sportsland, Oregon, Oregonsports.com's signature podcast, recorded every Monday night.


CLIFF PFENNING - Writer, Auto Sales Consultant at Beaverton Honda

DEREK WEBER - Media personality, marketing manager at First Tech Bank

MARLON THOMAS - Furniture Sales  Consultant at Mor Furniture, Tigard




Oregon rolls up Vols, SEC

Tennessee keeps Oregon to 59 in nationally televised battle
Sept. 14, 2013

EUGENE - Marcus Mariota threw for a career-high 456 yards and four touchdowns and No. 2 Oregon handed Tennessee its first loss of the season, 59-14 on Saturday.

Freshman Johnny Mundt, who replaced ailing tight end Colt Lyerla, had five catches for 121 yards and two TDs for the Ducks (3-0). Josh Huff added six catches for 125 yards and a score.

Mariota, who completed 23 of 33 passes, was the first Oregon quarterback to throw for more than 400 yards in a game since Kellen Clemens in 2005. The sophomore quarterback's yardage ties for the third-most in a game in school history.

Oregon's sloppy play at the start - four penalties for 35 yards in the first quarter - helped Tennessee (2-1) take an early lead, but it was fleeting and the Ducks led 38-7 at halftime.

Justin Worley completed 13 of 25 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown for the Volunteers, who opened the season with easy home wins over Austin Peay and Western Kentucky. But Tennessee could not keep up with the speedy Ducks, who had 687 yards in total offense compared to 316 for the Vols.

Oregon was the first of a tough stretch for the Volunteers and first-year coach Butch Jones: No. 18 Florida, No. 9 Georgia, No. 13 South Carolina and No. 1 Alabama are among Tennessee's next five opponents.

Oregon's first chance to score was Alejandro Maldonado's 37-yard field goal attempt, which went wide left. On the next series Tennessee drove 80 yards in six plays and scored on Worley's 4-yard touchdown pass to Jason Croom.

After Mariota's 19-yard run got the Ducks to the Tennessee 9-yard line, a fumble and a sack pushed Oregon back to the 15. De'Anthony Thomas appeared to have a 4-yard touchdown catch on fourth down, but it was called back because of pass interference on Oregon and the Ducks settled for a 38-yard field goal by Matt Wogan.

Oregon pulled in front 10-7 before the first quarter ended with Mariota's 16-yard pass to Mundt. Lyerla was a surprise absence, apparently because of a stomach virus.

Mariota's 9-yard touchdown run extended the lead. During the game, the sophomore became just the fourth quarterback in Oregon history to rush for more 1,000 yards in his career.

Huff was on the run when Mariota hit him and he ran untouched for a 54-yard scoring reception. Oregon went up 31-7 on Mariota's 45-yard touchdown pass to Daryle Hawkins.

Jones pursed his lips on Tennessee's sideline while the Ducks' student section taunted with chants of ``S-E-C, S-E-C!'' and ``We want `Bama!''

Thomas added a 28-yard scoring run for the Ducks before halftime. Tennessee defensive lineman Trevarris Saulsberry was helped from the field following the TD, but it was unclear how he was hurt.

Mariota had collected 350 passing yards by the break. He easily extended his string of at least one touchdown in all of his 16 games for Oregon. The streak is third among active quarterbacks.

Mariota found Mundt with a 17-yard scoring pass early in the second half. Mundt was the first Oregon tight end with at least 100 yards receiving since Ed Dickson in 2009.

Who's No. 1 in your league?

The cast of Sportsland takes part in a Fantasy Football draft
Aug. 26, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

The University of Oregon may be the top college football program in the state, but incoming players might take note of the Fantasy Football rankings as the NFL season gets set to begin.

Of players with backgrounds at Oregon or Oregon State, three running backs from OSU are in the top 200.

Those rankings will be on display as the cast of Sportland, Oregon, Cliff Pfenning, Derek Weber and Marlon Thomas, take part in a fantasy football draft set for a live webcast at 9:30 p.m. The league includes former show host Carlos Molina, taking part from New York City.

Steven Jackson, who recently moved from the St. Louis Rams to the Atlanta Falcons, rates No. 24 on nfl.com, which is the host site for the Sportsland2013 league. Along with Jackson, former Beavers back Jaquizz Rodgers is No. 129. Former Oregon back Jonathan Stewart is No. 96 in the rankings.

The Sportsland draft will take place at 9:30 p.m. from Blitz Pearl in Northwest Portland. A chat room will be available for fans.


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Draft, Ducks, Dodgers highlight week

The Blazers get grades, while Oregon gets NCAA's wrath and LA finally wins
July 1, 2013

The NBA Draft's outcome in Portland, the NCAA's handling of the Oregon football scandal and the Major Leagues at midseason highlight the topics of discussion for this week's episode of Sportsland, Oregon, recorded at Blitz Sports Bar in the Pearl District of Northwest Portland.

Portland snagged guard CJ McCollum of Lehigh to excite fans about his pairing with Damian Lillard in Thursday's draft. How the draft will affect the Blazers works as a key topic for host Cliff Pfenning and long-time cast member Derek Weber. The Blazers also snagged Pac-12 Player of the Year Alan Crabbe from California to increase the talent level of the team, and then snagged 2012 No. 5 pick Thomas Robinson in a trade with Houston to further increase the talent. But, it's also potential as the Blazers enter the 2013 season with a 13-game losing streak.

Oregon got hit with the loss of a scholarship for three seasons to close out its penalties for recruiting infractions, another topic, as is the affect Aaron Hernandez and his murder hearings might have on the future of long-term contracts in the NFL and other leagues.

Then, it's off to the Majors and the key team for both cast members, the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have gone from 8.5 games out of first place in the NL West to just 3.5 in a week, mainly due to the play of super-rookie Yasiel Puig, who's playing at a level not scene since Joe Dimaggio in 1936.

That and more, all recorded in Northwest Portland at Blitz Pearl.



Pilots keep streaking with win over Oregon

Portland beats the Ducks 68-49 for fourth-straight victory
Dec. 21, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

After going five minutes without scoring to start the second half, the Oregon Ducks got a pair of three-point shots from Jordan Loera to cut a 45-35 deficit to four points, and eventually cut the margin to 49-46.

But, that's as close as Oregon got to the host Portland Pilots, who powered through the end of the game for a 68-49 victory in non-conference women's basketball action Friday afternoon at the Chiles Center.

Sophomore Kari Luttinen scored a game-high 22 points to lead the Pilots, who improved to 5-7 with their fourth-straight victory.

"We're a young team, and we've just settled down in the last stretch of games," Portland coach Jim Sollars said. "We're taking better shots and are able to make a higher percentage of those better shots, and that's showing in our results."

Portland beat three teams from the Big Sky Conference entering the game and have added a Pac-12 team to their resume.

The Pilots play host to Portland State, Dec. 29.

Ariel Thomas scored 12 points to lead Oregon, which dropped to 2-9. The Ducks had a significant sign of optimism on their bench, though, as sophomore Ellizabeth Brenner, fresh from helping the volleyball team to the national championship match, was in street clothes and preparing to regoin the team.




Oregon volleyball's magic run finally ends

Ducks get beaten by Texas in NCAA Tournament finale, 3-0
Dec. 15, 2012

The Longhorns, competing in their fourth semifinals in the last five years, finally broke through to capture the championship after some narrow misses. It is the Longhorns second NCAA title, and first since 1988. Texas also played in the 1995 and 2009 championship matches, losing to Nebraska and Penn State, respectively.

Texas (29-4) didn’t need too much luck against the Ducks in the title match. The Longhorns posted a .438 hitting percentage — a championship match three-set record — and out-blocked Oregon 15-1.

“They played awesome,” Oregon head coach Jim Moore said. “They played very, very well. Blocked great, passed great, and they deserve [it] — well earned victory for them.”

Texas junior outside hitter Bailey Webster set the tone for the Longhorns with the first kill of the match. She knocked down five kills in the first set en route to a .714 hitting percentage and a dominant Longhorns’ 25-11 victory.

Texas showed off its blocking ability, recording seven team blocks to Oregon’s zero in the first set, including five by freshman middle blocker Molly McCage. The Longhorns also out-hit the Ducks .400 to -.083, as Texas committed just one attack error to Oregon’s 12. Ducks’ senior outside hitter Alaina Bergsma – the AVCA National Player of the Year — did not register a kill in the first set, but did collect five errors in nine attempts.

Oregon heads to first Final Four

Volleyball team beats host Nebraska to keep dream season alive
Dec. 9, 2012

OMAHA - The University of Oregon volleyball team celebrated like it had won a national title Saturday, which it took a huge step toward with a four-set win over Nebraska.

Saturday, sixth-ranked Oregon came back from getting blown out in the first set to beat No. 10 Nebraska 15-25, 25-22, 25-18, 25-17 in the Omaha Regional final of the NCAA Tournament in front of 9,382 fans at CenturyLink Center.

With the win, the Ducks advanced to the Final Four for the first time in the program's history, and will play top-seeded Penn State Thursday at Louiville, Ky.

Thursday's winner will face the winner of No. 3 Texas vs. unseeded Michigan in the final Saturday night.

Oregon improved to 29-4 on the season. Penn State is 33-2.

"This was a good win for us, but it's also just a step along the way to where we ultimately want to go," Oregon head coach Jim Moore said.

Offensively for Oregon, Pac-12 Player of the Year Alaina Bergsma had a match-high 23 kills to lead the team for the 22nd time this season. That total was also the team's third-highest of the season in a non-five-set match (behind her 32 at WSU and Liz Brenner's 26 vs. BYU on Friday).





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