Oregon Ducks, Pac-12 Conference Championship Game, Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR, Friday December 2, 5:00 p.m.
After UCLA’s so-called “performance” against USC, and after I took a look at the statistics of the Bruins’ opponent in the Pac-12 Championship game this coming Friday, the ninth-ranked Oregon Ducks, not only was my first reaction to pray for lightning – the only way a football game can be called – but I reckoned there were five chances of the Bruins beating the 10-2 Ducks:
Forget it and…
Are you kidding? Yeah, right!
And slim had officially left the building as this Oregon team is, to put it simply, loaded.
Let me state the ways…
Quarterback Darron Thomas leads the Ducks’ quick-strike, no-huddle attack that averages almost 46 points a game. He has thrown for 2,274 yards and 27 touchdowns while completing 62.6 % of his passes, and is a key to this Quack Attack, as well as…
All-everything running back LaMichael James, who leads Oregon with 1,427 yards rushing and 7.2 yards a pop, while scoring 14 touchdowns, including a long of 90 yards.
If James were the only Duck back to worry about, that would be one thing, but Kenyon Barner complements James very well, thank you very much, with his 6.5 yards a carry and 11 touchdowns with a long of 84 yards.
Again let me say, yikes!
LaVasier Turner is yet another threat at wide receiver with 40 catches and eight TDs of his own, but the biggest threat in this Oregon offesne to me is a freshman who spuned USC at the last minute to showcase his talents in Eugene, where incidentally one of the greatest comedies of all time, Animal House, was filmed…
De’Anthony Thomas, a five-star talent out of Los Angeles’ Crenshaw High, is the all-purpose weapon. He leads the team with 1,908 all-purpose yards while scoring 14 touchdowns on the season, five rushing and nine receiving.
He also has a rushing average of 8.3 yards a carry.
It is hurting me to say this, but seeing that UCLA’s defense was an absolute sieve against the Trojans at the Coliseum, I really don’t see how they will be able to stop a Duck offense that, quite frankly, is better than SC’s.
Last year Oregon scored 60 points on the Bruins.
I’m afraid that unless they play above their heads, history may well repeat itself Friday night.
Oregon’s defense isn’t exactly Duck soup, no pun intended, they are led by linebackers Josh Koddo and Michael Clay, and defensive end Dion Jordan.
Koddo and Jordan have 6.5 sacks each, while Clay leads the Ducks with 83 tackles, and Jordan leads with 12 tackles for loss.
And to put a bow on this Mount Everest of a challenge, the game will be played in the toughest place to play in the Pac-12 Conference, if not the nation: Autzen Stadium.
If this game were in the Rose Bowl, I’d give UCLA – who’s playing their last game under Rick Neuheisel as he has been let go – a slightly better chance, but seeing as this match is in a place where the fans are right on top of you and are extremely intense in their support.
It’s not my intention to be, so to speak, a Negative Nellie, but I can’t help thinking that it’s going to be a case of Dead Bruins Walking in Eugene this Friday night.
Then again, I recall back in February of 1990 a certain boxing match in Tokyo, Japan, where an unknown named Buster Douglas, who was given a chance by absolutely no one, knocked out a guy who some had said was the best heavyweight ever, even over Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali – Mike Tyson.
And won the heavywieight title.
It would be great if the Bruins channeled their inner Buster Douglas this Friday.