Saturday, October 1, 2016

Good Luck Ducks, Week 5: The Crossroads

The Ducks start the first of a back-to-back Washington school sortie, smarting after another close loss. 

Oregon's first conference game last week went about as well as the previous week's matchup with Nebraska. Close, but no cigar. The team chose to rest banged up star running back Royce Freeman due to an injury suffered against Virginia, apparently believing that the Colorado game would be a decent one to sit out. (Or so they say, since Oregon doesn't disclose injury information unless you suffer a horrific season ending injury.) The Ducks got smacked all around the field in the first half but somehow only trailed by 9. A brilliant third quarter saw them leading going into the fourth with all of the confidence in the world, but things went sour and an interception in the end zone on their final drive sealed their fate.

Washington State, under the recent guidance of Mike Leach, has reclaimed its reputation as a deadly passing attack... and not much else. Still, Luke Falk absolutely shredded Oregon last year and there's no reason to suggest he won't do the same this year up in Pullman. The defense looked a bit better last week once they smelled blood in the second half, but Falk and the Bear Raid attack isn't the same as the replacement redshirt freshman quarterback they went up against last week.

There are some things to like about this Oregon team and there are some things not to like. There are some very talented, very skilled players who know the system and there are a bunch of young, green players that (occasionally) wear green. It feels like this team, this season and probably the coaching staff is at a crossroads right now. There's still all the time in the world to get this season back on track, and it doesn't seem like the Pac-12 North will be won by a team with no losses. The conference is too competitive for that. In any case, a win over a NW rival is always a sweet thing, and that's going to be the thing to root for tonight.

Here are some highlights from a previous game in Pullman, WA (2010) in which the Ducks prevailed. I wonder what Joe Giansante is up to these days.

Game time is 6:30 PDT with national coverage on the Pac-12 Network. Go Ducks!

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