Oregon vs. Arkansas State: the SkoDucks LiveBlog!
By REED NELSON
Welcome to the SkoDucks LiveBlog! It is here where we combine words at will, and in the coming weeks this will actually update like a true live blog, but for now, we’re working on the honor system.
7:32 p.m. — First observation: Love the uniforms. The green/yellow scheme is great. The yellow helmets streaked with the go-f*ck-yourself mirrored wing-ish things is gorgeous. That they didn’t go with the neutral grays, graphites or whites is even better. But enough with the sartorial subjectivity.
7:36 p.m. — Kickoff time. DeAnthony Thomas to receive. Light the fuse.
7:37 p.m. — Bunk fuse. Dion Jordan just fair-caught a squib at the 35. On the bright side, we’ve learned how to pronounce Marcus Mariota’s last name (it’s Mary-OH-Ta, according to the Matt Millen-led tutoring session). Anddddd Kenjon Barner is loose. 20 yards on his first carry.
7:39 p.m. — 3rd and 14. Gulp. Mariota is cool as a cucumber though, first down Ducks. And DAT for another 14. Typing is exhausting with this bunch. Touchdown #1 for Kenjon Barner. I’m calling it here and now, 2,000 yards, 20 TD’s. Just stay healthy, Kenjon.
7:40 p.m. — And as an extra F-you from Chip, the Ducks elect to go for two in their off-set. And convert it. On a pass from punter Jackson Rice to defensive end Dion Jordan, “From punter to defensive player for the two-point conversion.” Couldn’t have made it sound weirder myself, Joe Tesatore. Well played. 8-0 Oregon. 13:16 to play in the first.
7:44 p.m. — Kiko Alonzo comes up with a stop, but the Canadian missile, Boseko Lokombo has the coolest last name since Tim Biakabatuka. FACT. #RashaadSalaam
7:50 p.m. — The “O Collection” was just profiled. Must investigate further. And on that note, MaryOHtah’s first incompletion. The way Millen is pounding this home, I feel obligated to go phonetic.
7:51 p.m. — Two firsts: DAT’s first breathtaking run (he does a mean Barry Sanders) and the first “GODDAMMIT” holding penalty of the season. Plan on more of both.
7:55 p.m. — DAT’s first TD. Wild one-hander. He’s exciting.
7:58 p.m. — The Ducks have more points (15) than plays from scrimmage (14).
8:00 p.m. — This isn’t getting easier. But it’s not nearly as bad as it must be for Arkansas State. Oregon 22, Arkansas State 0. Josh Huff hauls one in. 7:57 to play in the first. Seriously, barely seven minutes of gameplay have elapsed and Oregon is only 15 points away from covering the unholy spread. Took them long enough. Welcome to Autzen, Mr. Sun Belt.
8:17 p.m. — The break was somewhat pizza related, my apologies. Back on task, for now at least. Kenjon Barner scored his second. It’s 29-0 with three minutes left in the first quarter. They’re on pace to score 116 points. Even if the Ducks score a measly 50 in the first half, Puddles might need recitation. He’s already done 74 pushups in the first quarter alone, and judging by his recent activity, he’s not in midseason form.
8:22 p.m. — Arkansas State’s logo looks like a Van Wilder’s Coolidge College’s most hated rival, State. stAte? Really? I know the A is symbolic, but someone in the graphic design department at the other ASU had to have seen one of the American Pie offshoots. I feel like I’m watching Boy Meets World. But enough about that. Arkansas State trails 29-0 at the end of one. They picked up a first down on a defensive holding, but that might have matched their net offensive output up to this point.
8:30 p.m. — This Jarboe character’s dreads are ridiculous. I don’t know what a Jarboe is, but his dreads are lipstick red on the bottom. Strange. His end around brings the Red Wolves offensive output to 84 total yards. He must have 14 receptions totaling six yards if there’s a silver lining to be had.Yes, Arkansas State has a mascot. No, it’s not a real thing. Maybe Jarboes dreads ARE the mascot. I’m on to something.
8:31 p.m. — First points conceded by the Ducks in 2012. 29-3.
8:39 p.m. — Just to keep things even, DeAnthony Thomas scores his second. Let the battle begin, boys. And just to make George and myself angry, I tossed this hypothetical out there: What if New England springs for DAT in two years, and in Tom Brady’s last two seasons at the helm, he has a faster, shiftier, dirtier version of Wes Welker blasting out of the slot? Wouldn’t that be awful? Oh, 110 pushups for Puddles. 36-3.
8:46 p.m. — DeAnthony Thomas is a beast. And a weasel. And a ferret. And a cheetah. And a… you get the point. He had a cut back, shoulder-shrug, stutterstep to Barry Sanders to-and-fro 33-yard touchdown run that stood. He is ridiculous. His third score brings the tally to 43-3. First shot of Puddles. He looks tired.
8:59 p.m. — 50 points, 21 minutes and 54 seconds. It’s turned into an Old Yeller situation. But on another note, Puddles has done 203 pushups in under an hour and a half. The recitation joke might turn super insensitive in a moment. They have seven possessions, their average time of possession is 1:32. They’ve scored every possession.
9:05 p.m. — You’d figure a team that wasn’t planning on moving the ball a whole bunch would have their punting game down. Last joke at the Red Wolves expense, I swear. Mariota is out with six to play in the second quarter. His numbers: 18-22 200 yards and 3 touchdowns. Seven series, seven touchdowns. Barner is done too, it looks like (9 carries, 66 yards and 2 TDs). We have a Bryan Bennett sighting. There should be a clause that lets a coach quit at halftime, like, ‘Look, you’ve covered, we’re embarrassed, can we just pretend like we played the second half and avoid the really awkward fourth quarter?’ Savannah State wouldn’t oppose, no sir-ry Bob.
9:11 p.m. — Chip Kelly hates field goals for a reason…
9:12 p.m. — Arkansas State’s Ryan Aplin hits Julian Jones for 72 yards, HOUSE. Just wanted to type that in favor of the Wolvesssss. As Oregon clings to a 50-10 lead (if you’re taking the points, its only a three point game!!!!!!!!!) I’m signing off for now. Or after this: Bryan Bennett is getting burned. A missed field goal on his first piloted drive, and a total not-his-fault-for-hitting-his-receiver-in-the-hands pick on his second. I feel for you, Bryan.
9:30 p.m. — Oregon 50, Arkansas State 10. Halftime. Signing off for now, folks.
2012 Pac-12 preview: The Fast and the Furious Edition
By REED NELSON
Traffic is back, Phil Knight’s Palace of Football is under construction and the countdown to Kickoff 2012 has dwindled down to precious hours, minutes and seconds, which can mean only one thing: a season preview, conducted at the frenetic pace that has become the modus operandi of the Ducks offense. Catch your breath, here we go.
Oregon (-37) vs. Arkansas St., Sept. 1 — The 37-point spread says it all. It’s the Paul-Crew inspired warm-up opponent that Oregon needed after opening last season in Dallas. No Honey Badgers in Eugene this weekend, but then again, there are no Honey Badgers anywhere this season. What a difference a year makes.
Oregon vs. Fresno State, Sept. 8 — New Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter might have taken over a team that was coming off its worse season in program history, but it isn’t a total reclamation project. Adding to the theme is starting Bulldog quarterback, junior Derek Carr (yes, of that Carr clan. Derek is the younger brother of former Fresno QB, #1 draft pick and eternal bust, David Carr), who is no joke. Last season, as a sophomore, he threw for 3,544 yards and 26 touchdowns. Fresno’s running game, starring Robbie Rouse (1,589 yards, 13 TD’s in 2011) makes them a formidable WAC opponent, but I won’t get carried away. This one may stay close through the first quarter, but after that it should be a Nevada 2011 rerun.
Oregon Vs. Tennessee Tech, Sept. 15 — See: Arkansas State… Only sort of kidding. It’s the Ducks last “warm up” (though the coaching staff will never refer to it as such) and they should have their offensive and defensive rotations pretty dialed in for when…
Oregon vs. Arizona, Sept. 22 — The RichRod:Tuscon Era begins this season, and the traveling circus makes its stop in Eugene in late September. Arizona doesn’t look all that promising — a feeling aided by the departure of Wildcat demagogue Nick Foles — but they don’t look too despondent either. No Duel, Part Duex here, and don’t look for Oregon’s streak being of double-digit favorites to end here.
Oregon @ Washington State, Sept. 29 — Or here for that matter. Mike Leach’s pirate ways have reached the Pacific Northwest, but the Cougs’ feeble display against BYU in their Thursday opener was not the keystone in the confidence pyramid that they were looking for. It’s Oregon’s first road game, but their first true road “test” might not come until USC in November.
Oregon vs. Washington, Oct. 6 — In a matchup that consistently promises to be interesting than it usually is, 2012 could buck that trend. Keith Price is a dark horse Heisman contender (for whatever that means) and they return seven starters on offense and nine on defense, but they did lose a 1,400-yard rusher in Chris Polk and four of their first six opponents are in the preseason top-25 (and three in the top five — Oregon, LSU and USC). They could come into Autzen 2-2 and continue Oregon’s streak of acting as prohibitive double-digit favorites. But Oregon should watch out — this game has neon-plated booby-trap warnings all over it.
Oregon @ Arizona State, Oct. 18 — Oregon could be facing a 2-4 ASU team, or a 4-2 team on the rise, but that shouldn’t hurt the Ducks either way. ASU is replacing an all-timer at QB () and a disappointing head coach. 2012 shouldn’t be their year and don’t look for the Ducks to give what should be a melancholic fanbase a reason to storm the field on a nationally televised Thursday night game. Note to Heisman watchers: This is a key game for both DeAnthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner in their quest for a Heisman. It’s the primetime, feature game. It’s early enough (9 p.m. ET) for the eastern timezone viewers to catch a glimpse and its on ESPN sharing airtime with the MLB playoffs. People will be watching, count on
one of them to go nuts.
Oregon vs. Colorado, Oct. 27 — Colorado’s opening-week matchup against in-state foe Colorado State is more in their current competitive wheelhouse, so look for Chip and the Gang to treat this late October matchup as a testing/proving grounds in preparation for SC.
Oregon @ #1 USC, Nov. 3 — In an SEC-dominated preseason list of marquee matchups, one matchup truly stood out, and it wasn’t ‘Bama-LSU. USC-Oregon on November 3 promises to be one of the best games of the season, as well as a treasure trove of cliched story-lines and wild rhetoric. I can’t wait. But this trial-by-fire deserves more than a read-option style preview. That will come.
Oregon @ Cal, Nov. 10 — It’ll be Oregon’s first game in Cal’s new stadium, and the first time Oregon has traveled to Cal since the Golden Bears defensive lineman were intermittently shot with imaginary bullets every few plays back in 2010, which (inadvertently, mind you. These were fake bullets, serious stuff.) ended up slowing the Ducks fast-paced offense to a laborious crawl, which then, in turn, gave rise to the weirdest defensive strategy college football has seen in years. It might have even cost LMJ his shot at bronzed immortality. Going into the season, I had high hopes for this matchup, but Cal’s opening loss, at home against Nevada, no less, has put a bit of a damper on those expectations.
Oregon vs. #21 Stanford, Nov. 17 — In what is slated to be Oregon’s only other potential top-25 matchup this season (mind-boggling, I know), the Ducks host a Luck-less Cardinal, but that doesn’t mean that Oregon will take the Cardinal any less seriously. If the Ducks pull off the win in LA two weeks earlier, this game could mean a berth in the Pac-12 championship game and the right to play SC again for a trip to the Natty. Don’t think Stanford is a rollover without Luck — David Shaw will whip your ass if you turn around for just a second.
Oregon @ Oregon State, Nov. 24 — The Civil War has turned into the shoe vs. the bug in recent years, and this somnambulist Beavers squad isn’t the one to reverse the recent tradition.
That’s it, that’s all folks. Three hours and counting; enjoy the show.