Reflections

by Frank Baldwin September 14, 2015

 

            FLASH: Did you see Mariota's pro debut today - supreme!

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Quotes after the MSU game


Mark Helfrich, UO coach
"You guys who were here last year, we went through a similar situation. We lost a battle (Arizona), and the next day, it was on. It galvanized us like never before."

Tyson Coleman, UO linebacker
"You never want to give up. That’s something the coaches preach every day. That’s our motto, finish, and I’m definitely proud of our team and how we battled and fought back."

Vernon Adams Jr., UO quarterback
"I’ve got to take care of the ball. Those two interceptions are unacceptable. I need to take care of the ball and find a way to get a win."

“The first series was good — I wish the whole game could have been like that,” Adams said. “But it was tough. They’re a good defense.”

 

DeForest Buckner, UO Defensive End

“It’s a loss; no matter how close it is, it always sucks,” UO senior defensive end DeForest Buckner said. “But I’m proud of all my guys, offense and defense, how they fought to the end against a really good Michigan State team. Being on the road, being in their house, the way we responded as a whole team, and responded as a defense, it made me really proud.”

 

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Game Stats, etc.

 

  • An NCAA record of 60 consecutive games with a passing touchdown.
  • Bralon Addison’s 81-yard punt return TD tied Keenan Howry for the seventh-longest punt return in UO history. Howry’s did not result in a touchdown. It was the third career punt return TD for Addison.
    •Addison set a personal best for all-purpose yards, finishing with 236 (138 rec, 98 ret). His previous high was 166 vs. Cal in 2013. The 100-yard receiving game was the third of Addison’s career.
    Vernon Adams Jr.saw his personal streak of games with multiple TD passes end at 27 consecutive games. Oregon’s QB did find the end zone on a 2-yard run for his first rushing touchdown as a Duck and passed for one more.
    •Adams Jr. finished with 309 yards passing, the 21st game of his career with 300+ yards.
    Byron Marshalltied Saladin McCullough for 10th on UO’s career touchdown list. Marshall had one score, giving him 27 in three-plus seasons at Oregon.
    •Marshall’s 49-yard kick return in the first quarter was a career-long.
    Charles Nelson started and saw his first action of 2015 after missing the opener.
    •Nelson matched his career-high with seven receptions.
    Devon Allen was back in action for the first time since the Rose Bowl Game, when he suffered an injury on the opening kickoff return. 
    Arrion Springs finished with a career-high 13 tackles, six of which were solo. He also had multiple pass breakups (2) for the second time in as many games.
    Joe Walker (11), Tyson Coleman (8) and Christian French (7) all set career marks for tackles in a game.
    •Michigan State evened the all-time series between the two schools at 3-3. The home team has won all six meetings.
    •True freshman Ugo Amadi had the first interception of his young career. 
    •Oregon is now 7-3 vs. Top 25, 3-3 vs. Top 10 and 1-2 vs. Top 5 opponents under head coach Mark Helfrich.
    •The Ducks are now 16-2 when scoring first and 1-4 when trailing at the half in the Helfrich era.
    •The Ducks out-gained the Spartans 432-389.

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UO's defense

 

Early on, the Ducks suffered from a few of the issues that were of concern a week earlier in the win over Eastern Washington. There were missed assignments, and a few more missed tackles. For the second straight game, a cornerback led the team in tackles, which isn’t typically ideal. On Saturday it was Arrion Springs, who made a game-high 13 stops.

“(MSU quarterback) Connor Cook is really smart,” Springs said. “Every time we were in Cover 3, he’d check to that quick pass. So that’s why you saw me having to make those tackles.” Springs’ tackling was generally sound. Generally, the Ducks seemed to play better overall this week than in the opener — but when they did have breakdowns, on the explosion plays and fourth downs, they were painful.

“That’s when you’ve got to execute the most,” Springs said. “So we’ve got to continue to get better, and not allow big plays.” “They made us pay for those,” Buckner said. “But I’m proud of how the guys responded and how we came back — how the defense fought to the end. Everybody just did their jobs toward the end. That really looked like the defense that I know we can be.”

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A Bullish Essay on the Game

 

Take It in Stride: Why It’s OK the Ducks Lost

Look, for starters, there are hundreds of reasons why it’s OK Oregon lost. There are the “excusey” reasons, like how the team was on the road against one of the toughest defenses in the nation — starting a QB who’s been with the offense for roughly a month now.

There are the obvious reasons why it’s OK, like how Oregon lost to a worse team than MSU last year (Arizona) and still made the playoffs. There are the obscure reasons, like how Oregon is now 0-2 in big games against the B1G when wearing white and black jerseys.

Gary Breedlove

Adams’ height appeared to be the most threatening defender at times.

But here’s the reason I like the best: Football teams lose. It’s Week 2, and no one’s playoff fate is sealed. Ohio State proved that last year with a loss.

What I watched wasn’t perfect. It appeared Vernon Adams struggled to see over his offensive line at times, which forced him to make some bad decisions.

The secondary played better but is still far away from where it needs to be. Oh, and don’t get me started on special teams.

But, it wasn’t bad. Oregon barely won last year against MSU, despite what the 19-point victory might show. It was a tight game for three quarters until Oregon got some momentum and finally put MSU away at home.

So this year, without the best player Oregon football has ever seen, is it terribly surprising the Ducks lost to a football team which has lost only three games in two (plus) years, now — a team that stuck with them until the end just a season ago?

I’m not looking for you all, or anyone for that matter, to embrace losing. As Duck fans we hold our team to a certain standard, a standard that the team has set for itself. But, just maybe, we let this one go. This isn’t the upset at home to Arizona.

I don’t know about you, but I’m proud to represent the University of Oregon today. The team fought hard against one of the nation’s best, but more importantly, they did it admirably. There was no poor sportsmanship, nor was there a lack of class. Oregon fought til the very end last night, but when it was said and done, they simply lost to the better team, not unlike the National Championship last January.

Craig Strobeck

Addison showed great promise, breaking out for 236 all-purpose yards.

There were a lot of positives to take away from this game. Bralon Addison got some momentum, proving he still has the same big-play ability he showed before his injury last season.

The defense, namely the linebackers, played with a much higher intensity than what we saw against EWU.

Adams bounced back from a tough first half and protected the ball, making mostly smart decisions (and some very tough throws, might I add).

But, most importantly, Oregon showed flashes of what it could be — of what it wants to be. And let me make this very clear — of what it will be.

Vernon Adams will continue to grow and the offense will mesh more as the season goes on. The young members of the secondary will learn from experience. Everything will get better and faster, and sooner than you know it, this year’s Ducks will closely resemble last year’s team (minus one notable 6-foot-4 Hawaiian).

In short, everything is okay. Don’t let this loss ruin your weekend, or week for that matter. There were a lot of moments to take away from this game that give me hope for the rest of this season, and come playoff time who knows where our Ducks will be.

And, I think more importantly than anything else, please remember it’s just a game. Oregon, in partnership with Nike, released an exceptional video parodying the comedy classic Animal House.

In that video we fans witnessed Marcus Mariota playing John Belushi’s infamous Bluto, Joey Harrington singing the words to Otis Day and the Knight’s beloved “Shout” as Otter, and countless other former athletes and stars reuniting to have fun together as Ducks.

Years from now these players won’t remember this game, just like last year’s team won’t remember the loss to Arizona. These guys remember the emotional wins, the bonding of brothers, and the first time one walks through the tunnel onto the sweet, sweet Autzen turf.

Please, do not let this loss define the Ducks’ season, or how you view them. Instead, rejoice in the fact that you love and support a team that fought one of the best football teams in the nation until the last minute.

Instead of sorrow, rejoice in the fact your beloved team didn’t have to go to overtime to defeat an FCS team as did Auburn yesterday. Sure this loss hurt, but this team will grow from it. Our Ducks will take it in stride!

 




Frank Baldwin
Frank Baldwin

Author




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