Saturday, September 9, 2017

Good Luck Ducks, Week 2: Let's Jump to Conclusions

Mike Riley returns to Eugene as we try to learn more about this year's Ducks model. 

I think the swagger is back. This is something that has been missing since the Mariota days, where the Ducks were simply faster and better and untouchable than their opponent. You expect a huge margin of victory over the FCS teams, and we still saw that the past couple of seasons. However, you didn't see players flat out dominating at their skilled positions like we saw last Saturday. Oregon put up an Autzen Stadium record 77 points, and the defense -- a few late first half slip-ups aside -- wasn't entirely incompetent. These are good things, no matter whose team name is on the opposite side of the scoreboard.

This afternoon's matchup is the second half of the home-and-home series between the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Oregon Ducks. After losing a million times in a row to Oregon, two-time-ex-Beavers head coach Mike Riley squeaked out a victory last season, in the first of many Ducks losses to come. (Spoiler alert: it was a bad season!) Nebraska went 9-4 last season, but heads in to 2017 even younger than the young Ducks are. Last season's meeting had Dakota Prukop quarterbacking the Ducks, with stubborn ex-coach Helfrich sending the team out for five 2-pt conversions (out of a possible five tries), succeeding only once. It was probably the dumbest game in college football history.

I seriously did not want to watch sports anymore after last year's game. It was that bad. Fortunately, Justin Herbert looked skillful and accurate last week, and heads into this game with a chance to take down his first Power 5 (tm) nonconference opponent. I'm pretty sure he wasn't even born yet when Mike Riley first took the head coaching job at Oregon State, but he has a good shot to at least impress the long time coach nonetheless.

Let's check out some links while we wait for kickoff:

  • Bringing things back to Major League Baseball, Harold Reynolds and Mike Riley are intertwined as old guard Oregonian sports guys.
  • I don't think the Ducks have anyone on any serious Heisman Watch lists, but Royce Freeman put up 150 last week (plus another 50 in receiving yards) and should become the all-time Oregon rushing leader if he can stay healthy.
  • A neutral-ish party thinks this game is going to be a close one, but favors Oregon.
  • Know Your Opponent: Nebraska survived a bit of a scare in their win over an FCS opponent last week, which could be insignificant at season's end or the first warning signs of a young team being, well, young.
  • The Unis!: All white with silver helmets. These were specially designed in advance with input from children cancer patients. It will be an awkward look at home, but it will serve to promote awareness for a serious cause. This may well be the last time "Win the Day" is referenced officially.
YouTube video link time -- the Josh Huff highlight reel:

Game time is 1:30 PM PDT. Broadcast channel is FOX. Your scheduled broadcasters are Joe Davis, Brady Quinn, and Bruce Feldman. Go Ducks!

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