Pac-10 Week 9 Notes and Observations: Oregon Ducks
Oregon Ducks 7-1 Overall (5-0 Conference)
This Week’s Score: Oregon 47 – USC 20
Next Week’s Opponent: @Stanford
I have been passionately following the Pac-10 conference for the last nine years, which coincides with the length of Pete Carroll’s tenure at USC thus far. In these last nine years, I have watched a lot of big games take place within the conference, and ‘SC has been involved in most of them.
After each game, a familiar thing would almost always happen: “Fight On” would be stuck in my head the next day. No matter how bad I fought it, I could never shake that familiar Trojan fight song playing over and over. Even an occasional USC loss (i.e. OSU 2006, 2008, Oregon, 2007) would not be enough to counteract the strong effect. After all, that band makes its presence felt no matter the venue and the Trojans have been in EVERY game until the very last play.
So what is the formula for ridding yourself of a “Fight On” hangover? Replace one fight song with another. After Saturday’s Halloween Trojan Massacre at Autzen, I subconsciously began to hum “Mighty Oregon” for the following 24 hours. It was a feeling that I never believed would be possible, but it happened because the often overpowering ‘SC band had basically been rendered useless.
Needless to say, Oregon’s win over ‘SC was quite the spectacle. The stats are truly unbelievable: 47 points (most allowed by USC since 1996), 613 yards of total offense for UO (most an ‘SC D has allowed since 1946). The dynamic duo of Jeremiah Masoli (222 passing yards 1 TD, 164 rushing yards 1 TD) and LaMichael James (183 rushing yards 1 TD) has never looked better, but I may have been even more impressed by an o-line that physically punished the ‘SC front seven. Four of the Trojans top six tacklers were defensive backs, and I believe that is one of the most telling stats of the game.
The other telling stat? USC only turned the ball over one time (at the very end of the game), which is a clear indicator of how thoroughly the Ducks dominated this one.
I also think Nick Aliotti deserves a ton of praise for Saturday’s outcome. Even though the UO offense is making all of the headlines (and deservedly so), the Ducks D attacked downhill all night and never allowed USC to get into a consistent rhythm.
While this is certainly a time to celebrate for Chip Kelly’s club, the party can’t last very long. Oregon travels to Palo Alto to face a very good Stanford team, and critical showdowns at Arizona (Pac-10 title game?) and in the Civil War finale still loom. The Ducks have a lead in the Pac-10, but they have by no means clinched the conference yet. Still, if Saturday is any indication of what is to come, the 2009 season will be one for the ages.