Washington's offense would have exploded at Autzen and put up huge numbers in a stunning win over the Oregon Ducks...had the Duck defense decided to go play golf instead of football last Saturday night. This was not the reality however as the Ducks kept the Dawgs on a short leash. The Fuskie offense was held to only ninety-five yards on the ground as the Ducks proved solid in the middle, an area that has been thought to be a weakness by some pundits. Against the three level deep Duck defense Washington quarterback Jake Locker managed to complete twelve of twenty eight pass attempts for one-hundred and three yards but never found the end-zone. The Ducks Paysinger and Tukuafu brought the pressure to Locker combining for three sacks and two hurries.
But really...lets talk offense!
Oregon has options in the playbook and on the bench. Chip Kelly, the Duck offensive coordinator, and his spread option attack are back for year two and its as exciting to watch as the first. Speed and misdirection kept the Washington defense on their heals and guessing as the Ducks moved down the field with a balanced assault. Newly crowned starting quarterback Justin Roper looked solid driving the Ducks to the end-zone twice in the opening quarter. Roper completed seven of eleven for one hundred and fourteen yards and connected with Terence Scott early for a sixty yard touchdown pass. Roper left the game after throwing an interception late in the second and was said to have a mild concussion. He didn't see any playing time in the second half but is expected to start for the Ducks against Utah St. next week.
Enter Jeremiah Masoli and Chris Harper. A devious grin appears on the face of Chip Kelly as the future of Oregon football takes the field. Masoli, a 5'11" 208lbs. Sophomore, Has a cannon and looked strong and mobile but a little nervous in his first and second drives, going three of seven for thirty-one yards. In the second half he looked better as he dropped in a forty-eight yard beauty to Jaison Williams for six. Masoli ran the offense on most plays in the second half but Chris Harper, the 6'2"-230lb freshman quarterback, would enter the game on a number of plays and stretch his legs. Harper looking Dixon-ish from under center, ran for sixty yards and a touchdown on twelve carries. It would appear that Harper has some work to do when it comes to passing the ball as the freshman didn't have a single attempt. With the loss of Nate Costa last week, it makes this Duck fan happy to see potential and versatility at the quarterback position. A big surprise to me was the silence of tight end Ed Dickson, another big weapon in the Duck offense.
The Oregon running game is just as deep. Many outside the northwest are under the impression the Oregon is rebuilding at running back after the departure of J.Stewart to the NFL. That couldn't be further from the truth. Jeremiah Johnson is healthy and ready for a breakout year. The senior back ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns averaging 8.5 yards per carry.
Will we see a two or three quarterback system at Oregon this season or is this just something to build up the reserves and give Roper more time to develop? Right now I like their options. Roper looked good and the bench was exciting. The backfield is strong and the receivers are making plays. With Utah St. next week Oregon should gain more confidence and improve on their execution. ESPNs Mark Schlabach and Bruce Feldman have the Ducks playing in the Rose Bowl against Ohio St. and while some would say that's a bold prediction, I don't think its out of the question.
Football is here!!!