Ducks win big
Concluding just like everybody had expected, the Oregon Ducks rolled over the Nicholls State Colonels to the tune of a 66-3 score that saw the No. 3 team in the nation put up points in bunches. Never having to punt the ball (though Oregon did turn the ball over twice on downs), the Ducks put three touchdowns and a field goal on the board in the first quarter and never looked back.
They controlled the lines, locked up opposing receivers, and distributed the ball evenly to all their playmakers.
This isn’t to say, however, that there are things the Ducks don’t need to work on. While both their lines were quite impressive, there are clearly some developmental issues that need to be resolved in the coming weeks, especially with the Tennessee Volunteers coming to town in two Saturdays. The offensive line looked vulnerable from time-to-time, and the defensive line was handled on quite a few plays throughout the game.
That being said, the outcome was what everybody expected. Oregon rolled and proved they are going to be just as efficient as they were in 2012.
Here are this week’s game balls.
Offensive Game Ball: Marcus Mariota
This game ball could have easily gone to De’Anthony Thomas, Josh Huff, or Byron Marshall as well, but it was Marcus Mariota‘s impressive effort that sealed the deal. While he was a so-so 12-for-21 on the day (likely a result of first-game jitters) Mariota managed to throw for 234 yards and one touchdown while also rushing five times for 113 yards and two touchdowns.
Once again showcasing his impressive dual-threat ability, Mariota was able to escape any pressure the Colonels put on him and really excelled in moving the Ducks’ offense down the field. He did have quite a few throws sail a tad bit high, but the way he calmed down and sprinted for an average of 22.6 yards per rush was more than impressive.
Look for him to be a bit more composed — and even more dominant — against Virginia this coming Saturday.
Defensive Game Ball: Tony Washington
Holding any opponent to just three points is an impressive effort and requires a defense to be firing on all cylinders. Receiving plenty of contributions all across the board, the Duck defense did just that.
But while the defense as a whole was impressive, Tony Washington was the player who stood out most for me against Nicholls State. Racking up seven tackles (four solo, three assist) and one sack, Washington impressed off the edge on Saturday. Stepping into a role once occupied by Dion Jordan, Oregon’s highest NFL Draft pick in school history, Washington played like a veteran and looked efficient from the position.
He looks more explosive than he did last year despite some added bulk. Look for him to continue to develop as the season progresses and really take hold of that position.
Special Teams Game Ball: Keanon Lowe
As per usual there wasn’t much excitement from the Oregon kicking game, and so the special teams game ball will once again be relegated to a returner. Though Bralon Addison has been rumored to be a standout returner and will be deadly later this season, Keanon Lowe was the player who impressed me most on Saturday.
Returning two kickoffs, Lowe’s longest return of the afternoon came on a 48 yard return that he almost broke for a touchdown. While he was given just two opportunities to do so, Lowe looked fast and elusive as he covered plenty of ground.
Look for both he and Addison to receive quite a bit playing time as returners as De’Anthony steps into his new role as a potential feature back.
First Win Game Ball: Mark Helfrich
This won’t be a game ball given out every week, but congratulations need to be given to Oregon Head Coach Mark Helfrich, who won his first game as the head honcho on Saturday.
Let’s hope there are a plethora of wins to come.