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Doan: Oregon Passes Test 1

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 28, 2013


Bart Doan Thought After Week 9 - Oregon Passes Test One

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We'd seen this script before. It was the ole George Costanza from The Checks: Because, here, every time you turn on the TV, all you see is four morons sitting round an apartment, whining about their dates!

You punch Oregon in the mouth, disrupt their normal flow of moving the ball at will, they recoil, start making decisions that aren't exactly "Oregon football" like actually punting the ball on fourth and one or turning it over in the red zone. And of course the obligatory missed field goal. That's how you beat Oregon last year, the year before that, and the year before that. Mind you, not just anyone could do it. But their kryptonite was at least known, and so strolled in UCLA with the script etched in their minds.

UCLA simply needed to do what Stanford did to them last weekend ... control the clock, be more physical on offense, score just enough. The script was working fine into halftime. The Bruins had kept it a 14-14 stalemate, Oregon was making uncharacteristic mistakes, and you could see Stanford, 2012 happening all over again.

It was that time last year when unbeaten Oregon sauntered into their home stadium figuring to club the Cardinal in their first year of the post-Andrew Luck era. They were up 14-7 with loads of moments to put the game away (sees Oregon fan reading, breaking out in hives). Yet it couldn't be done, and another Duck dream died on the vine for a program still searching for its first shot at penultimate glory.

This time though, the script was missing the last few pages. Oregon displayed an aggression not seen in some similar situations the last few years, even after a red zone turnover had Autzen collectively thinking, "oh, no" if not verbalizing it audibly.

A fumble on the second play of the game plus one from your Heisman-contending QB in an all-square game on first and goal will do that.

But the Ducks picked themselves up off the matt and drowned UCLA from there to the tune of a 28-0 run that says a whole lot more about Oregon than people might notice. The Ducks overcame adversity for the first time this season, and that's something ... whether they readily admit it or not ... they probably needed to see. Every game isn't 59-10.

When the smoke had cleared, Oregon had won a game it often lets the other team hang around long enough to pull a shocker. They were physical, unweilding, and determined to not let early game mistakes and a surprise score get them down.

While it obviously would have been more impressive to shackle UCLA with another trademark 30 to 40 point win, beating UCLA this way says a lot more about Oregon than another blow-out would have.

Oregon's offense will always push the envelope of mistake making. Fast tempo and additional plays being run will do that. These Ducks didn't let that get them down to the point where UCLA had a chance late.

This was a small litmus test for the Ducks, a team whose talent is undeniable and speed is electric. Their defensive line overwhelmed Brett Hundley to the tune of all of 64-yards passing, which sounds like some sort of joke. Or a one-quarter total.

The greater test will come in Palo Alto on Nov. 7, when both teams have a week off to stew and think about the magnitude of what is likely to be the biggest regular season game 2013 college football will see.