Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Midseason report: Oregon
By ESPN.com staff
Record: 6-0, 3-0
Oregon, the defending Pac-10 champion, was the preseason favorite to repeat when it had 19 starters returning from a 10-3 team. Then quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was kicked off the team. Despite that, the Ducks were still picked first in the preseason media poll, but there were questions about how good they could be replacing a two-year starter at QB who was expected to contend for the Heisman Trophy.
Pretty good apparently. The Ducks are unbeaten and ranked No. 2 and if the season ended today, they'd play for the national title.
While beating New Mexico to start was no big deal, the complete domination in a 72-0 win immediately got people's attention. The question in game two was how new starting quarterback Darron Thomas would handle playing in front of more than 100,000 fans at Tennessee. Just fine it turned out. The Ducks fell behind early, then rolled 48-13. After whipping Portland State, the Ducks were challenged at Arizona State. So some wondered how they'd hold up against a physical team like No. 9 Stanford.
Just fine apparently. Oregon fell behind early -- 21-3 in fact -- then rolled 52-31. The Ducks now head into a bye week after a victory at Washington State in position to play for the school's first national title.
Of course, they've got to figure out a way to win the rest of the games.
Offensive MVP: Running back LaMichael James ranks No. 1 in the nation with 169.6 yards rushing per game. He's scored nine touchdown rushing and one passing. He averages 7.4 yards per rush. He's the leading Heisman Trophy candidate in the Pac-10 this year.
Defensive MVP: Defensive tackle Brandon Bair leads the Pac-10 with 12 tackles for a loss, three of which are sacks. He also has 23 total tackles and five pass defenses, which is tied for ninth in the conference (and, by the way, he's the only defensive tackle on list of the top 20 players with pass breakups).