No doubt about it, Oregon really is that good
In normal circumstances, a football game is not defined by one stalled drive or one bad play.
But Thursday night was not your typical matchup. Unless, of course, you’re the offensive machine that is Oregon. Or the complete train wreck that is UCLA.
Your first-ever game as the top-ranked team in the country? No sweat.
The Ducks (7-0, 4-0) rolled to a 60-13 Pac-10 victory over the Bruins (3-4, 1-3) at Autzen Stadium in a statement game for Chip Kelly’s squad. Offensively and defensively, the Ducks were faster, smarter and more talented than Rick Neuheisel’s bunch — a group that has endured one of the most rollercoaster of seasons in recent memory.
It sounds ludicrous, but the game was essentially won on the opening drive when Oregon safety John Boyett intercepted Richard Brehaut’s pass after UCLA drove to the Ducks’ 30-yard line. Before you knew it, Darron Thomas drove the offense 90 yards for a touchdown, and the butt-whipping was on.ICONOregon quarterback Darron Thomas
Thomas completed 22 of 31 passes for a career-high 308 yards and three scores. He didn’t throw any interceptions and added 48 yards on the ground. Any concerns about the quarterback position in Eugene have long been put to ease. Ole Miss can have Jeremiah Masoli. The Ducks may have a signal caller capable of competing for a national title after all.
Heisman Trophy candidate LaMichael James ran for 123 yards and two touchdowns, backup Remene Alston Jr. added three scores and wide receiver Jeff Maehl hauled in eight passes for 107 yards and a score. In all, the Ducks outgained the Bruins 582 to 286.
Perhaps most importantly for the Ducks, though, was the fact that the defense played a complete game. We’ve seen the unit stymie opponents in the second halves of games this year, but they’ve sometimes been prone to slow starts.
Not on Thursday night.
The Bruins were held to 131 yards on 47 carries, and the sophomore Brehaut couldn’t deliver much in the passing game despite a gutsy effort. The Bruins played without starting quarterback Kevin Prince, who did not suit up because of a knee injury. But it wouldn’t have mattered. Neither signal caller poses any threat in the passing game, making the “pistol” offense too one-dimensional. Without a vertical threat, the Bruins will continue to have problems in league play.
While the top-ranked Ducks keep quacking along.
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