Pac-10 Week 11 Notes and Observations: Oregon Ducks
Oregon Ducks 8-2 Overall (6-1 Conference)
This Week’s Score: Oregon 44 – Arizona State 21
Next Week’s Opponent: @Arizona
On the surface, this was just a business-as-usual week for the Oregon Ducks; but a quick look around the conference, and it was actually a very nice Saturday.
Starting with the obvious, the offense just kept on rolling, even against a very strong Arizona State defense and front seven. Despite a fairly quiet passing day (10/20, 120 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT), this marked the 6th straight game that Jeremiah Masoli has led the Ducks to a 40+ point performance. LaMichael James once again led the way on the ground, silencing concerns of an RB controversy with 150 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries. Even for a high-powered offense that you expect to put up a ton of points each week, the consistency has been phenomenal.
On the less obvious side of things, Ducks fans should be happy with what they saw in the Stanford/USC and the Arizona/Cal games. After the Stanford loss, many Ducks fans were becoming increasingly worried about the Arizona game being on the road, since the Ducks haven’t proven they can beat a tough team on the road yet.
While these concerns may still be there, I think the fact that Stanford just destroyed USC in the Coliseum should help Oregon fans realize that it wasn’t just a case of road woes against a decent opponent; it was a hard fought loss to a very legitimate opponent.
Had Arizona gone into Cal and continued to roll offensively and picked up a big win, they’d have a ton of momentum heading into this week. Instead, they fell short and had a pedestrian day on offense. It doesn’t make the game this Saturday any less daunting, but playing huge games in November is new territory for the ‘Cats; having some seeds of doubt planted isn’t a bad thing for Oregon fans.
So on we go. Two wins away from a meeting with Ohio State at the Rose Bowl. One loss away from a myriad of tiebreaker possibilities, very few of which favor the Ducks. Can the Ducks claim the throne? We will soon find out.