#4 Oregon 62, #17 USC 51: Midnight takeaways

By REED NELSON

Alabama is damn good, but Oregon might be the best team in the country. Yes, Alabama edged out LSU, on the road in brilliant comeback fashion, but Oregon beat their own preseason Top Five foe.

And before we all get uppity and carried away about Nick Saban out-dueling Les Miles, a.k.a. Walter White of Common Sense, remember this: This particular LSU team nearly gave Auburn their lone win in 2012 before they allowed Towson to hang around for three-and-a-half quarters.

So, am I impressed with the resiliency of ‘Bama? Yes. Do I think their win over a tirelessly overrated foe this evening proved them more impressive than Oregon? No.

What Oregon did on offense (which was to say they amassed 730 yards of total offense) had never been done in the 124 years of USC football. What the Ducks offense did had never been done in the previous 1,160 games in which USC has participated in.

In just 60 minutes, Oregon rewrote a defensive tradition that spanned three different centuries.

So why was Oregon’s 730 yards on offense so impressive? And further more, why is it OK to overlook the 52 points they allowed on defense? Because (in order) it’s 730 yards, and Oregon’s defense and Oregon’s offense are apples and rocketships. Matt Barkley, and his two über-talented wideouts, probably should rack up significant numbers against anybody in college football this season, save maybe Alabama.

But that is another reason that I’m giving the edge to Oregon at the moment. In the cliche’d parable that pits an unstoppable force (the Duck’s O) against an immovable object (the ‘Bama D), I like Oregon’s offense to be a bit more unstoppable than Alabama’s supposed inertia resistant defense.

And in related news, this was the first time we got to see Oregon’s offense as it was intended to run, for 60 minutes. Seriously. Oregon’s stats are the only statistics in America that lie, and they do so at a compulsive pace.

Kenjon Barner, in his first time carrying the ball in the fourth quarter all season, had himself a record-setting day as well. The senior back ran for 321 yards and five touchdowns on 38 carries while trying to conceal the little-known fact that he actually turned into the Hulk on Nov. 1.

And lastly, Mariota. Just… Mariota. The kid has arrived. Screw the tests, everything from this point on is extra credit. He sauntered into the Coliseum, fresh of being named the program’s most philanthropic member for his previous week’s community service, and promptly records maybe the most efficient game in college football all season. He threw for 304 yards and four touchdown’s (no interceptions) on 20 of 23 passing. Yeah. Pretty sweet.



Categories: Analysis, Best of..., Features, News & Notes

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