Pac-10 Week 12 Notes and Observations: Oregon Ducks
Oregon Ducks 9-2 Overall (7-1 Conference)
This Week’s Score: Oregon 44 – Arizona 41 (2OT)
Next Week’s Opponent: BYE
Oregon and Arizona treated the college football world to an instant classic on Saturday (and ESPN agrees as the game will be rebroadcast on ESPN Classic this week). The Ducks spectacular win at Arizona Stadium featured everything you could ask for in a game with Rose Bowl implications: great defense, amazing offense, brilliant individual efforts, thrilling runs and passes, and a raucous environment (in fact, a little too raucous considering the unfortunate bottle throwing incident after the game).
What else can be said about QB Jeremiah Masoli? He really is the kind of game changer that causes defensive coordinators to lose their minds. Make no mistake about it, Mark Stoops had a tremendous game plan and his swarming ‘Cats defense executed it beautifully for most of the night. But when Masoli gets in a groove there is nothing a defense can do about it. The junior accounted for six total touchdowns (3 rushing, 3 passing) and accumulated 345 yards of offense (284 passing, 61 rushing).
Maybe most impressive of all was the fact that the ‘Zona D forced Masoli into difficult passing situations throughout the game (a key to slowing the UO offense). But instead of wilting under the pressure, Masoli seemed to elevate his game to an even higher level in the most critical moments. What an inspiring performance.
RB LaMichael James had a solid day (19 carries 117 yards), and Ducks fans have to be especially thrilled that he broke Jaquizz Rodgers Pac-10 freshman rushing record (James now has 1,310 yards). Obviously WR Jeff Maehl and TE Ed Dickson came up huge (especially at the end of the game), but I was also very impressed with the play of WR Lavasier Tuinei (4 catches 60 yards).
Nick Aliotti’s unit played as hard as they possibly could, and they performed very well considering the potency of the UA offense. QB Nick Foles was spectacular, but the UO defense deserves credit for maintaining the type of poise and composure that wins championships.
I made it pretty clear in recent write-ups how excited I was for the possibility of a Civil War for all the marbles. Well, here we are! The Ducks and Beavers are playing incredible football right now, and I can’t even imagine what the atmosphere at Autzen will be like.
It seems like Oregon fans have seen it all this season, but amazingly, the defining moment of this memorable 2009 season is still to come. Pac-10 fans can only hope the game on December 3rd is as good as the one we just witnessed in Tucson.