Oregon Ducks

North Carolina has a plan for slowing down Dorsey and Brooks

North Carolina has a plan for slowing down Dorsey and Brooks

GLENDALE, Ariz. - North Carolina has watched the game video. The Tar Heels have poured over the statistics. They know the deal regarding Oregon stars, Tyler Dorsey and Dillon Brooks. Slow them down during Saturday's Final Four matchup, or forget about playing on Monday. 

The how is the problem. The plan: Try to keep the ball out of their hands to begin with. 

“For us, we have to try and make it as hard as possible for him to catch it,” North Carolina junior forward Justin Jackson said. “It’s extremely hard to stop somebody who’s got it going like that when they have the ball.”

If No. 3 Oregon (33-5) is going to upset the No. 1 Tar Heels (31-7) at the University of Phoenix Stadium the Ducks must receive high-end performances from Dorsey, a sophomore, and Brooks, a junior.

"They're so athletic," NC coach Roy Williams said of Oregon. "I try to figure out who the dickens do I have that can guard them. They present a lot of problems."

The two have carried the team offensively. Dorsey, who after an inconsistent regular season that saw him make three or fewer field goals 14 times, including six outings of one or zero field goals made, has been on fire since the Pac-12 Tournament. He's averaging 23.5 points per game on 62.3 percent shooting, including 57.8 percent from three-point range. 

"He's been on a tear, no doubt about it," UO Coach Dana Altman said.

Brooks, the Pac-12 player of the year, is averaging 17.6 points on a modest 40 percent shooting, but he has hit several clutch shots along the way and is the team's best all-around playmaker. 

“It’s going to be tough," North Carolina junior forward Theo Pinson said. "Big-time scorers. They can shoot the ball at a high level. They are one-on-one players, so at the same time, you’ve got to take on that challenge. Get put on an island and see what you can do.”

It might take many Tar Heels on that island to deal with Dorsey, who hasn't met a shot he didn't like in this tournament. 

“A guy that hot, you’ve just got to be there and make it tough for them,” Pinson said.

That comes through pressure and disruption. Don't, Pinson added, let him get into rhythm. 

“At the same time, he’s making shots all type of ways, so it doesn’t even matter,” Pinson said. “You just try to be there as much as you can.”

On the other end, Oregon will have its hands full with Jackson, who at 6-foot-8 is one of the more versatile wings in the country. The first-team All-American is averaging 18.2 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. 

“Great player," Brooks said. "One of the best players in the country. He’s versatile, he's 6-8, he can shoot it from anywhere on the floor. He has length.”

Jackson and Pinson will look to use that length to disrupt Dorsey and Brooks. How well that works could decide the game. 

Oregon rises in rankings after rivalry win

Oregon rises in rankings after rivalry win

The Oregon Ducks (6-1, 4-0) moved up from No. 12 to No. 11 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll, after taking down rival No. 25 Washington on the road in their largest second half comeback win since 2008.

Oregon’s sixth straight win improves the Ducks to 4-0 in Pac-12 play for the first time since 2013 and preserves their spot at the top of the North Division with zero conference losses. It also stifled the Huskies chances at the Pac-12 title. The Ducks have won 14 of the last 16 meetings with Washington, including six of the last seven in Husky Stadium.

[READ: In enemy territory, La’Mar Winston's leadership planted seeds for the future]

It was a polarizing week in the top 25. Among the ranked teams to lose were then-No. 6 Wisconsin, No. 14 Boise St, No. 16 Michigan, No. 17 Arizona St, No. 22 Missouri and 25 Washington.

The Ducks will host Washington State on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m.

In the Pac-12:

  • Zack Moss broke Utah's career rushing record in the Utes' 21-3 victory over Arizona State.
  • Oregon State beats Cal with thanks to a late touchdown and interception
  • Washington State bested Colorado, 41-10
  • UCLA got a 34-16 win over Stanford
  • USC took down Arizona, 41-14

The Oregon Ducks won a big one at Washington -- or did they?

The Oregon Ducks won a big one at Washington -- or did they?

The Oregon Ducks all but wrapped up the Pac-12 North Saturday afternoon when they dispatched Washington. Nobody’s going to catch them now and the only teams in the conference with a legitimate chance to beat them are going to be Utah in the title game or USC.

But really, winning the Pac-12 this season is certainly not what it used to be. Folks, this league is weak. VERY weak.

It used to be that if the Ducks won in Seattle, that was a monster victory. Same thing with getting a win at Stanford. But take a look at this traditionally strong programs this season.

Washington, with that loss, fell to 2-3 in conference play with losses to California and, yes, Stanford. The Cardinal, also 2-3, lost at USC and at home to a pitiful UCLA team. Oregon State had a big win for its program at California and is all alone in second place at 2-2 behind the Ducks, but had a narrow loss to Stanford at home and was blown out 52-7 by Utah.

Oregon is good, make no mistake about it. But its touted defense feasted off the many teams in the division that simply can’t move the football consistently. And I think what hurts a team in the Ducks’ position is that playing weak conference teams throughout the regular season is no way to get ready for powerful squads in a bowl or playoff game. And I think this has been a problem for Oregon in past seasons. Blowouts aren’t good tuneups for playing the big boys of college football.

I'm not trying to rain on anybody's parade. I'm keeping it real.

And this conference just doesn’t have great credentials when it comes to getting a team into the playoffs this season. If you’re elsewhere in the country trying to figure the league out, you’re going to see that Oregon State and Arizona – teams with 2-2 conference records – hold losses to Hawaii, which has won only one other game this season.

Perhaps the conference’s best non-conference performance was a loss – USC’s three-point defeat at Notre Dame or the Ducks’ last-second loss to Auburn. But the Trojans have also lost to BYU (which has lost to Toledo) and Washington.

Go figure.

And as far as the national championship playoff, it doesn’t look good for the Ducks to make the field. Here’s what Oddsshark.com had to say last week about Oregon’s chances. And yes, it's dated, but it's the national perception of the Pac-12:

The No. 11 Oregon Ducks (+1000) lost in their season opener to the Auburn Tigers and have won four straight since. What puts the Ducks at a major disadvantage is playing in the Pac-12 where no win really feels impressive and, to that point, this expected high-potent offense has averaged just 24.3 points per game over their last three games. Oregon has just one currently-ranked squad remaining on its schedule, at No. 18 Arizona State in Week 13. If the Ducks win, that would be their only win over a ranked foe in 2019 – not good enough.

In enemy territory, La’Mar Winston's leadership planted seeds for the future

In enemy territory, La’Mar Winston's leadership planted seeds for the future

SEATTLE- The Oregon Ducks beat their rival Washington in comeback fashion, essentially punched their ticket to the Pac-12 Conference title game and kept a glimmer of College Football Playoff hopes alive.

After overcoming the largest second-half deficit since 2008 at Purdue and improving to 4-0 in Pac-12 play, the Ducks had a lot to celebrate.

However, one part of Oregon’s joyous celebration was not like the others.

Oregon Coach Mario Cristobal fist pumped, threw up the “O” and high-fived brave Ducks fans after the 35-31 victory, with a smile beaming from his face. The team sang the Oregon fight song along with the band, hugging and dancing. Freshman Mycah Pittman jumped up and down with palpable energy after scoring his first Duck touchdown. Senior Troy Dye, with a cast on his broken thumb, gave a television interview that he ended with a hand gesture of the “W” going down. Senior quarterback Justin Herbert happily walked off the field for the final time against UW after calmly leading the team to the win and extending his nation-leading streak to 35 straight games with a touchdown pass.

Then there was senior linebacker La’Mar Winston Jr.

The Portland, Oregon-native huddled together a group of freshman defensive tackles in a passionate display of leadership. Under the screaming fans and celebrating teammates, Winston Jr.’s words were loud and clear.

“I want you to remember this moment,” Winston Jr. said. “When I leave, when everyone leaves. You have to make sure that everyone stays hungry.”

He looked them each in the eye and said a few more words before hugging them. Then jumped over the railing and into the crowd of fans that embraced him.

“I love La’Mar to death, that’s my brother for life,” Dye said of his teammate. “To see him step up like that and bring all those young guys around him and really coach them up, is big-time for our defense. The older guys working with the younger guys trickles down and creates a great future for this team.”

Winston Jr. totaled one tackle against Washington but his impact reaches farther than the stat line and will continue long after he graduates. His leadership has helped the Duck defense dominate this season to lead the Pac-12.

“La’Mar has poured his heart and soul into this,” Cristobal said. “When you do that and overcome a 14-point deficit on the road, when things were looking a little bit shaky… Hard work done the right way, it pays off. It paid off today.”

Cristobal continued to name Winston Jr. as someone he hopes his sons might be like when they grow up.  

The Ducks got a significant win on a rainy, gray, quintessential Pacific Northwest day. Vivid red, gold, green, purple and orange trees surrounding Husky stadium. Inside, the Ducks and Huskies battled in an instant classic. However, the most striking impression was a senior passing along advice in a teachable moment that could reap benefits for seasons to come.

What we learned: Everyone loves Mycah Pittman

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Ashley Young

What we learned: Everyone loves Mycah Pittman

The Oregon Ducks went up to the hostile territory of Seattle, Washington on Saturday and picked up the 35-31 win over the rival Huskies. The win keeps Oregon undefeated in conference play and a near-lock to represent the North in the Pac-12 championship game. 

So what did we learn from one of the greatest rivalry games in college football?

We learned that everyone loves Mycah Pittman.

A four-star recruit out of high school, the buzz was loud around the freshman wide receiver upon Pittman's arrival in Eugene this summer. 

Pittman suffered an injury during camp and was sidelined to start the season, but since making his debut two weeks ago against Cal, he has been turning heads. 

Entering Saturday's rivalry game, Pittman had seven catches for 100 yards on the season, but no touchdowns. That changed against the Huskies. 

On 4th and 3 from the Washington 36, Justin Herbert found Pittman on the screen pass. Pittman didn't just get the first down though, he sprinted 36-yards to the endzone for the first touchdown of his career.

Following the game, Herbert had some high praise for his freshman weapon -

Mycah just makes plays and that's all he's ever done since he's shown up. It was good to see

Ducks fans on social media, well, they love Pittman too:

At the end of the game, Pittman was just as excited as all of us, as you can see in this video from our Ducks Insider Bri Amaranthus. 

 

Instant Analysis: Oregon takes down rival Washington

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USATI/NBCSNW

Instant Analysis: Oregon takes down rival Washington

SEATTLE - No. 12 Oregon beat rival No. 25 Washington in an instant classic in Seattle, silencing a tempestuous and unruly sea of purple at Husky Stadium.

The win extends the Ducks’ winning streak to six games and improves them to 4-0 in Pac-12 play for the first time since 2013. Oregon (6-1, 4-0 Pac-12) remains atop the North Division with zero conference losses and stifles the Huskies chances at the Pac-12 title.

Here are the top three takeaways from the contest.

1. Impressive opening drive

Oregon quickly quieted the unruly Washington crowd with a 75-yard touchdown drive with tempo, great throws, strong rushing attack and a faint "Let's Go Ducks" chant.

Quarterback Justin Herbert was a perfect 6-for-6 for 56 yards and a touchdown, extending his nation-best passing touchdown streak to 35 straight games. Tight end Spencer Webb caught the 12-yard touchdown pass, his second touchdown of the season. Running back CJ Verdell got off to a solid start, with 26 rushing yards on six carries and two receptions for 12 yards.

On the opening drive, the Ducks already totaled more passing yards than they did in 2017 in Seattle. The rest of the game was an up and down rollercoaster for the quarterback, looking brilliant at times and lost at times.

 

2. Oregon’s dominant defense in disarray

The Duck defense allowed only 25 points and one touchdown in the past five games. The dominance did not continue against Washington, allowing three touchdowns in the first half alone.

Oregon’s pass rush was non-existent in the first half, recording zero sacks or quarterback hurries on Washington’s Jacob Eason. Entering this game, Oregon had at least six combined sacks/quarterback hurries in each game this season, averaging nine per game in Pac-12 play.   

Adding insult to injury, linebacker Troy Dye and cornerback Deommodore Lenoir both had to head to the locker room for extended periods of time after suffering injuries. Dye returned and started the second half, Lenoir did not return.

3. Under-REDD-ed

Junior wide receiver Jaylon Redd has been flying under the radar with major contributions to the Oregon offense. Redd extended his nation-leading streak of games with a touchdown catch to six games, scoring on a 16-yard pass in the second quarter. He added another score late in the game to give Oregon the 34-31 lead. The Ducks can count on Redd’s elusiveness and quick bursts.

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More to come with quotes and videos from Coach Mario Cristobal and Ducks players.

Oregon Ducks in action vs. Washington Huskies, follow us on social for live updates

Oregon Ducks in action vs. Washington Huskies, follow us on social for live updates

Saturday is more than just another football game for the Oregon Ducks and Washington Huskies. It’s a rivalry that runs back 112 years full of chippy moments, heated arguments, trash talking fans, and so much more. 

This time, the rivalry will be played in a sea of purple at Husky Stadium in Seattle, WA. 

It’s No. 12 (Oregon) vs. No. 25 (Washington) and it’s going to be a good one with Pac-12 north implications on the line. If Oregon (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) defeats UW (5-2, 2-2 Pac-12), the Ducks will have a commanding lead in the north division race. If UW can beat Oregon, then the Huskies are right back in the north mix.

Our Oregon Ducks Insider Bri Amaranthus and Digital Producer Ashley Young are in Seattle, WA so make sure you follow along on social.

HIGHLIGHT:

TOUCHDOWN OREGON!

The Ducks marched down the field on the opening drive and grabbed the early 7-0 lead. 

DON'T STOP ON REDD

Jaylon Redd ties it up for the Ducks

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Calvin Throckmorton on the legacy on the Oregon-Washington rivalry:

“It comes down to controlled aggression. Letting that passion and the pageantry of the rivalry give you that little bit of juice to start the game. But, you have to use that in the right way. It can’t come out as raw emotion, it has to come out as controlled aggression.”

QUICK LINKS

Numbers to Know: Oregon vs. Washington

Oregon upperclassmen teaching rivalry legacy to young Ducks

3 keys to an Oregon victory against rival Washington

Oregon’s ice cold uniforms vs. rival Washington

Oregon's ice cold uniforms vs. rival Washington

Oregon's ice cold uniforms vs. rival Washington

With major Pac-12 implications on the line, the No. 12 Oregon Ducks will be donning white uniforms with 'Nightmare Green' lettering and chrome winged helmets against No. 25 Washington on Saturday at 12:30 p.m in Seattle, WA. Duck fans are encouraged to wear green to the rivalry clash.

Oregon's "Nike Vapor Fusion" uniform is celebrating its 20th anniversary of their partnership with Nike. The winged helmets are back and the jerseys feature large "Mighty Oregon" font resembling last season's "Oregon Football 2.0" uniform with slight differences. The addition of Nightmare Green is the biggest change while notably no black set was released (yet). 

Oregon (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) is the only remaining team in the North Division without a conference loss and looking to stay atop of the North standings. A win would improve Oregon to 4-0 in Pac-12 play for the first time since 2013. The Ducks dominating defense is yielding just 8.7 points per game, best in the Pac-12 and third in the nation. 

More Ducks:

3 keys for Oregon to be victorious against rival Washington

Oregon upperclassmen teaching Washington rivalry legacy to young Ducks

Good and bad injury updates for Oregon vs. Washington

How Oregon's offense changes without Jacob Breeland

Numbers to know: Oregon Ducks vs. Washington Huskies

#FreeMarcus to the Patriots? Ducks fans react to Mariota era ending in Tennessee

Justin Herbert to Tennessee in NFL Draft isn't out of the question

Marcus Mariota responds to benching in the most Mariota way possible

Video surfaces of former Oregon Duck Keanon Lowe disarming Parkrose High School gunman

Video surfaces of former Oregon Duck Keanon Lowe disarming Parkrose High School gunman

Friday, May 17th 2019 will be a day that will change the lives of the students and faculty at Parkrose High School in Portland, Oregon. 

What could have gone down as another school shooting in the United States, became a heroic local story as the threat was stopped just short thanks to former Oregon football wide receiver Keanon Lowe.

Lowe, who was named the Parkrose high school head football coach back in February 2018, saw the suspect carrying a gun and disarmed that person before what was intended to happen, happened.

Today, the following video surfaced. It's worth the watch:

What follows is an in-depth feature from our Oregon Ducks Insider, Bri Amaranthus, on Lowe and the events that was originally posted on May 21st, 2019:

Keanon Lowe’s recount of how he disarmed a student who police said carried a shotgun into a classroom, prohibiting a tragic shooting at Parkrose High School, is bone chilling.

20 seconds.

Lowe entered the classroom in the Fine Arts building on Friday 20 seconds before the door re-opened and Lowe was face-to-face with an armed high school senior. The former Oregon Ducks wide receiver was faced with a life or death decision.

It’s the third school gun incident this month in the United States. In all three instances, the shooter was tackled: one of the tacklers lived and two died for their efforts.

Did Lowe ever think to run?

“Never,” he said.

“In a fraction of a second, I analyzed everything really fast, saw the look in his face, looked at his eyes, looked at the gun, I realized it was a real gun and then my instincts just took over,” Lowe said.

“I lunged for the gun, put two hands on the gun, and he had his two hands on the gun...I was just making sure the barrel of the gun isn’t pointed towards them or towards me. I was able to wrestle it away.”

Right place. Right time. But to truly understand how the 27-year-old head football coach came to be just three feet from the barrel of a shotgun, you have to go back… The story didn’t start when Lowe, who is also a school security guard, was called to that classroom to take a student back to the office with him, a task he does 30-40 times a day.

The right life experiences and a myriad of decisions led him to be incredibly brave and decisive in a terrifying moment.

The Jesuit high school graduate’s instincts earned him Oregon 6A Defensive Player of the Year as a defensive back while also playing running back and wide receiver as a senior. From 2010-14, Lowe played for the Oregon Ducks and was voted “Oregon’s Most Inspirational Player” by his teammates as a senior. Although he put up plenty of statistics, the first line on his roster profile couldn’t sum him up more perfectly:

“His contributions could not be documented merely by statistics despite looming as one of Oregon’s top three receivers through the first six games.”

Lowe became an assistant on former Oregon coach Chip Kelly’s NFL staffs at Philadelphia and then San Francisco. Lowe's passion to work with kids urged him to leave the NFL. He felt like he had a solid foundation to use the knowledge that he had to take on a bigger role.

The goal was to find his voice as a head coach, help mold the next generation and give them someone to count on.

“In that situation, a lot of us would freeze up, or kinda back out and not know what to do,” Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard said of Lowe after giving him tickets to Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. “For him to take that type of stand, and to go and tackle the kid and protect all those people and himself, that’s a real hero move. That’s a big move. That’s big time of him.”

In that moment when anger could have taken over, Lowe chose compassion. 

“He broke down and I just wanted to let him know that I was there for him,” Lowe said. “I told him I was there to save him. I was there for a reason and that this is a life worth living."

It could be argued that Lowe found his voice.

During Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, the Trail Blazers honored Lowe’s heroics. 20,000 fans stood in pride of their hometown hero, while he stood with his hand over his heart. Call it fate or call it destiny, but know that Lowe’s actions derived from a life full of preparation and integrity.

 

What if… we re-drafted the 2015 NFL Draft and Marcus Mariota goes No. 1 overall to Tampa Bay?

What if… we re-drafted the 2015 NFL Draft and Marcus Mariota goes No. 1 overall to Tampa Bay?

It’s the 2015 NFL Draft. Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota is coming off a Heisman Trophy winning campaign after taking the Ducks to the national championship. The time is now April when the next step in his illustrious football career is about to begin.

“With the second pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans select Marcus Mariota, quarterback from Oregon.”

Cheers and applause ring in as the Hawaii native’s dreams of becoming an NFL quarterback have just come true. He puts on the navy blue hat and shakes the commissioner’s hand just mere minutes after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston as the No. 1 overall pick.

Fast forward, and Mariota is in his fifth year with the Titans. He has had only the same offensive coordinator once in back-to-back seasons (Terry Robiskie in 2016 and 2017), an unstable offensive line and now has been benched ahead of Sunday’s matchup vs. the Los Angeles Chargers in favor of Ryan Tannehill.

So let’s play the “what if” game for a moment: What if we re-drafted the 2015 NFL Draft and Mariota was selected No. 1 overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Let’s first talk about coaching consistency. In 2015, the Bucs head coach was Lovie Smith with offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. That season, Tampa Bay finished with a 6-10 record and last in the NFC South division. The following year, Koetter was appointed to head coach: an offensive mind that would have been paired with Mariota at the helm. It was only until this current 2019 season that the Bucs hired new head coach Bruce Arians and new offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. 

In 2015, Jameis Winston threw for over 4,000 yards and averaged 252.6 per game while Mariota threw for 2,818 yards. Winston was sacked 27 times while Mariota was sacked 38 times. Mariota did have the upper hand when it came to pass completion: Mariota 62.2% and Winston at 58.3%.

That same season, Bucs running back Doug Martin also ran for 1,402 total yards, good for second in the league. So the run game was very much present as well.

So just imagine what that offense would have looked like with a more accurate quarterback in Mariota combined with the offensive mindset from the head coach? Sure, the Bucs are in the same division as Drew Brees and Cam Newton (old school Cam Newton, not today’s Cam Newton), but that Bucs offense would have looked very different.

The Bucs finished 9-7 in 2016 (Winston’s second season). 

What’s done is done. Mariota has had an interesting time in Tennessee to say the least and his time in Nashville may have run its course. For better or for worse, only time will tell if Mariota is seen in a new uniform next season as he will become an unrestricted free agent in 2020.