When the Oregon Ducks offense has the ball, you stop what you are doing and watch.
The reason is simple; you don’t have to watch long to see fireworks.
After a disappointing week one loss to LSU, the 13th ranked Ducks took the field like they had something to prove.
69 points, 600 offensive yards and an embarrassed Nevada Wolfpack team later, Oregon made their statement loud and clear; they are still an offensive machine and a force in the college football scene.
The Ducks were led by their offensive standouts quarterback Darron Thomas and running back LaMichael James.
Both came into the season as Heisman trophy candidates but turned in lack-luster performances against LSU to start the season.
Both left those thoughts far behind Saturday, along with any Nevada defenders that tried to stop them.
Thomas finished the game going 13-19 with 295 yards passing and 6 scores, tying the school record for touchdown passes in a single game. That means of his 13 completions, 6 ended up in the endzone. He also ran for an additional 35 yards, just in case anyone forgot he is one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation.
James had an equally impressive day, completing the scoring trifecta by recording a touchdown rushing, receiving and returning. James finished the day with 181 total yards, ending his afternoon with a 58-yard scamper to the endzone on a punt return.
Oh yes, I almost forgot to mention that they did all of this in less than 3 quarters. After that there was not much of a need to play the star players. Or the second string players for that matter.
True freshman running back De’Anthony Thomas also had a breakout game for the Ducks, accumulating 204 total yards and two touchdowns before finding a comfortable spot on the bench to enjoy the sun for the rest of the day.
Oregon’s offense returned to the form fans have come to expect from Chip Kelly’s innovative offense.
The Ducks engineered 8 touchdown drives on the day, all of which took less than four minutes and only a pair of which allowed more than two minutes to tick off the clock.
The pace delighted the 57,000 plus the packed Autzen Stadium for the 75th consecutive sellout for Oregon. However, the Wolfpack defense looked less than thrilled with the rapid tempo.
While the offense dominated the day for the Ducks, the defense for Oregon seemed to struggle at times.
Allowing 20 points to Nevada’s pistol offense is not a bad number for the Ducks, but along the way the Wolfpack amassed 516 yards of total offense, a number that is simply too high for an Oregon unit that will need to face a good offense nearly every week in the Pac-12.
However, when the Ducks defense needed a stop they usually found it.
Oregon forced three interceptions on the afternoon, the last of which was returned for a touchdown by Boseko Lokombo.
The Ducks did have two key defensive players return to the field on Saturday in linebacker Kiko Alonso and cornerback Cliff Harris.
Both players had been suspended for the LSU game but were eligible to play against Nevada. Neither saw much time on the field however, possibly still being punished by Kelly for one more week.
Not to be left out, the Oregon special teams performed well on Saturday.
In addition to James’ punt return for a score, junior safety John Boyett appeared to be practicing his actual duck impression when he swooped in to block a field goal in the first quarter.
John Boyett (20) blocks a field goal attempt against Nevada. (photo by Bruce Ely-The Oregonian)
It was a complete victory for the Ducks, who now look forward to welcoming Missouri State next Saturday. Odds are Missouri State is not nearly as thrilled about the meeting.
About the Author
Written by Rob Parness
My name is Robbie Parness and I am a student at the University of Oregon. I'm a California native that loves to play, watch and talk about all kinds of sports. I would love to become a sports writer someday or work in sports in any capacity.