Frost: No new thing to nitpick Mariota on
SEATTLE – No more excuses, opponents, tests, obstacles or reasonable threats other than catastrophic injuries remain for Oregon.
It’s national championship or bust for the No. 2 Ducks.
Anything less would be criminal.
No. 2 Oregon’s first big test of the season Saturday at No. 16 Washington turned out to be more like a quiz with the answers provided before hand.
The Ducks dominated, 45-24 over a Washington team supposedly built by coach Steve Sarkisian to stop Oregon’s nine-year win streak against the Huskies.
Instead, when the wanna-be, fast-paced Huskies came face-to-face with their nemesis they were treated like a Jedi Master does a Padawan learner. They were put in their place.
Oregon took Washington to school in every sense of the word and nearly duplicated last year’s 52-21 score at Autzen Stadium.
So much for these improved Huskies. Or, is it simply that these Ducks are even better than last year’s version?
Oregon entered the game averaging 630.4 yards per game against teams regarded as vastly inferior. So what did they do against Washington’s defense orchestrated by former Ducks player Justin Wilcox, a rising star in the coaching ranks? They Racked up 631 yards and made it look easy against a team that led the Pac-12 in total defense, allowing 287.8 yards per game.
So what does this all mean?
Simply put, the Ducks have no excuses not to go undefeated and win the Pac-12. Oregon should not face one close contest until the national championship and depending on the opponent, that game might not be so close. Don't worry about there being more than two undefeated teams at the end of the season. A 13-0 Oregon team will be assured of a spot in the BCS title game. This is the most exciting program in the nation and they will be assured box office against anyone.
No. 5 Stanford’s loss to Utah, 27-21, demonstrates that in a conference filled with good teams the Ducks stand alone as the only clear elite program.
Granted, the Ducks fell to Stanford last season. This is sports and upsets happen. But simply put, that game was a fluke. One maybe placed on the shoulders of an inexperienced Marcus Mariota facing adversity for the first time and faltering just enough to lose.
That Mariota is no more. This version hasn’t thrown an interception yet and is simply toying with opponents.
He’s the Jedi to last year’s Padawan.
We’ve been waiting for wide receivers to emerge to complement the dominant running game and they have. Sophomore Bralon Addison and senior Josh Huff are a nightmare for secondaries. No more can opponents gear up to stop the run and only worry about short to intermediate routes in the passing game.
These Ducks are going down field, stretching defenses.
That threat has changed the game for the Ducks. It’s opened up the offense much like it was when Jeff Maehl, D.J. Davis and Huff were catching passes from Darron Thomas in 2010.
No. 11 UCLA?
Might be an interesting game. But the Bruins’ 34-27 win at Utah raised eyebrows. The Ducks will score 50 on Utah without breathing hard and should do the same to the Bruins.
Defensively UO will never be statistically dominant against good teams. The Ducks will allow some yards and some points. The style of offense UP plays puts the defense in a bad position. But allowing 24 to a Washington team is more impressive than the Huskies allowing 24 to Illinois.
The truth is that allowing 24, or even 30 doesn’t matter when you score 45 to 60 each week.
It’s how these Ducks roll. And they are on a roll. A roll that shouldn’t hit a potential speed bump until they reach Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 6.