Ducks kick field goals! Aliotti's big-game defense shines; Whatever happened to DAT?

Ducks kick field goals! Aliotti's big-game defense shines; Whatever happened to DAT?
December 31, 2013, 10:00 am
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Aliotti: What being at Oregon has meant to me

(Peter Socotch | CSNNW)

For your consideration and thoughts, a few observations from the Ducks' convincing 30-7 Alamo Bowl win:

  • Mark Helfrich took a tentative step out of the shadow of Chip Kelly Monday night. The Ducks kicked three field goals and attempted four -- something Chip Kelly would not want to do in an entire season. Good for Helfrich -- I do not believe you have a great team unless you have a great kicking game. And the only way to have a great kicking game is to use your kicker when the situation dictates.
  • Nick Aliotti has proven so many times in the past that when he has time to prepare for an opponent (remember Cam Newton and Auburn getting just 22 against the Ducks in the 2011 National Championship game?) his defense more often than not comes up big. This was a fitting end to a great career at Oregon, with the Ducks' defense getting the same number of touchdowns as the Oregon and Texas offenses combined.
  • De'Anthony Thomas rushed three times for 13 yards and caught two passes for 24. Was he ever as good as we thought he was? I thought he was one of the most explosive players I've seen in college but I haven't really seen much of that for the last couple of seasons. He was an afterthought at the Alamo Bowl -- a fourth option. Will this kid REALLY be a first-round NFL pick? I think, more than anything, Thomas suffered from the loss of Chip Kelly. Kelly had taken Thomas on as a personal project but when he left, Thomas wandered a bit. Doubt there's any chance he'll return to Eugene and Oregon doesn't seem too concerned about it, either way.
  • I would not blame Marcus Mariota for reconsidering his thoughts about not heading to the NFL. Watching offensive lineman Tyler Johnstone getting carted off the field with a knee injury is certainly sobering for a player with as much to lose as the Duck quarterback. You'd rather get that knee injury while you're being paid to play than when you're playing for free.
  • The Ducks had 11 penalties and most of them were against the offense, which looked disjointed a good portion of the game. The best Texas defense all night was an Oregon false-start penalty. I keep hearing Scott Frost's name associated with head coaching opportunities but I'm not sure he's enhanced his chances with his first season as the Ducks' offensive coordinator.
  • Oregon wasn't at its offensive best but still won this game with ease as Texas showed exactly why it had to make a coaching change. My goodness, what a mess the Longhorns were at quarterback.