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5 Thoughts - 2008 Holiday Bowl
Oregon RB LeGarrette Blount
Oregon RB LeGarrette Blount
Posted Dec 31, 2008

Oregon beats Oklahoma State 42-31... 5 Thoughts on the 2008 Holiday Bowl

5 Thoughts ... 2008 Pacific Life Holiday Bowl

Oregon 42 ... Oklahoma State 31

GAME RECAP: Oregon runs wild over OSU  
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1. When did the Pac 10 all of a sudden get good? Guilty as charged; I was front and center on the Pac 10 Sucks bandwagon all year, and yes, Washington, Washington State and UCLA really were bad, but now, after Oregon brought a bad attitude and a big bag of knuckles as it showed the spread doesn't necessarily have to be a finesse attack. While Oklahoma State's running game was dancing around, the Ducks blasted their way to 307 yards on the ground in the stunning win. Now there's no more dogging the league, at least at the moment. Arizona came up with a nice win over BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl, Cal got by an athletic Miami, and now, the league has its big, huge win over the much ballyhooed Big 12 South. Remember, Oklahoma State's three losses came to Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech, so while this Duck win was a big step forward for the 2009 season, it also changed the perception of 2008 ... so far. There's still USC vs. Penn State in the Rose Bowl, and Oregon State vs. Pitt in the Sun. If the Pac 10 wins those two and finishes 5-0 this bowl season, the college football world will owe a big, fat apology. - Pete Fiutak 

Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli is like a really cute girl you meet on spring break. You don’t know what the future holds. You don’t care what the future holds. You just know that she’s fun and exciting to be around. The first-year recruit out of City College of San Francisco doesn’t look the part at 5-11 and 215 pounds, but he sure has been a revelation for a program that was pining for an heir apparent at quarterback. Like he did throughout November, Masoli abused the Oklahoma State defense with a combination of nifty moves, power runs, and quick flips of the wrist. The Ducks signed this guy in February as a passer, having no clue he’d be capable of rushing for three scores and almost 100 yards in one of the biggest games of the year. With two more years under the watchful eye of spread-option guru Chip Kelly, Masoli has a chance to be where Dennis Dixon was at the beginning of the 2007 season. - Richard Cirminiello 

3. In the Humanitarian Bowl earlier in the day, Maryland's DaRel Scott came off the bench and out of his suspension to rip through Nevada in the final 20 minutes of the game. The fresh legs seemed to make all the difference as Scott showed off a brilliant speed burst against the tired Wolf Pack. Against, Oklahoma State, Oregon's offense was moving well, but there was once piece of the puzzle conspicuously absent. And then, all of a sudden, LeGarrette Blount thundered and roared past the tiring Cowboy defense. He only ran seven times on the day, but he used a nice blend of speed with his strength on a 40-yard run, and he finished with 74 yards and a tough touchdown run. If this was by design, it was a brilliant move by the coaching staff. However, Jeremiah Masoli did his part to soften things up with a dramatic power touchdown run that seemed to spark the team in the second half, and Jeremiah Johnson reeled off 119 yards, but to be able to drop the hammer with a back like Blount was a luxury that worked out perfectly.
- Pete Fiutak 

Oregon didn’t need it to win the Holiday Bowl, but one fourth-quarter run from LeGarrette Blount summarized why he’s destined to be one of next year’s most productive backs. If you missed it, he exploded through the hole, hurdled a would-be tackler, and muscled his way into the end zone, a picture of uncommon power and agility in a 6-2, 240-pound frame. After sharing time with Jeremiah Johnson this fall, he’ll become the feature back in an offense that runs the ball about as well as anyone. After using 2008 to learn on the job, Blount will spend next season educating everyone East of the Pac-10 about his gifts as a complete runner. - Richard Cirminiello        

There's a team in the Pac-10 that will give USC a serious challenge in 2009. That's the Oregon club that just dusted off a nine-win team from the Big 12 South. Jeremiah Masoli had an uneven first half, but once he settled down, the Ducks' quarterback ran through, threw over, ran around, and threw under (and threw around, and ran over... one could go on and on...) Oklahoma State's overwhelmed defense. Coach Mike Bellotti's boys will have the Pac-10's best offense next season. A more seasoned Masoli should give UO the consistency it needs to be really, really good. If coordinator Chip Kelly's offense can save its best game for USC (in Eugene's Autzen Stadium), the Ducks will take the league title away from the mighty Trojans. Yes, Oregon's that good, and this performance against a really good Oklahoma State outfit shows why 2009 could be a huge year in the Willamette Valley. - Matthew Zemek