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Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Midseason report: Oregon

By Ted Miller

Just about everything has gone right so far for Oregon, which is unbeaten, ranked second and in position to play for the national title for a second time in four years.

The Ducks are dominant on both sides of the ball. The rank second in the nation in both total and scoring offense. They rank third in rushing. They also rank No. 6 in scoring defense and fifth in pass efficiency defense.

They've only needed to play their starters in one fourth quarter this year, and when they did they dominated Washington over the weekend to take a 10th consecutive blowout win in the rivalry series.

The Ducks also own dominant wins in nonconference games against AQ conference teams, though neither Virginia nor Tennessee rate near the top of the ACC and SEC, respectively.

Oregon has a lot of work ahead of it, most notably showdowns with No. 9 UCLA and No. 13 Stanford. But the Ducks are well-positioned for a shot at the national title.

Offensive MVP: QB Marcus Mariota has been not only Oregon's MVP, he's been the nation's MVP. He leads the nation in ESPN.com's Total QB Rating. He’s thrown for 17 touchdowns, run for eight more and has zero turnovers. He's sixth in the nation with 358 yards of total offense per game.

Defensive MVP: Cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, recently sited as the best defensive player he's seen this season by Washington coach Steve Sarkisian, is the leader of perhaps the nation's best secondary, one that ranks fifth in the nation in pass efficiency defense. He's second on the Ducks with 36 tackles, with two coming for a loss. He also has an interception.