Oregon and LSU both had 18 first downs last night. 335 total yards for the Ducks while holding LSU to 273. Oregon managed to convert 3rd downs at a 47% clip. The Ducks averaged 4.1 yards per play to LSU’s 3.9. Oregon held LSU to 3.6 yards per rush and Jarrett Lee didn’t crack 100 yards passing. So the Ducks won right?
The end game statistics don’t tell what really went down in last night’s 40-27 loss. You could present the numbers mentioned above and argue that if the Ducks could’ve avoided those costly turnovers they easily could’ve won the game and they were really the best team on the field. You could probably make a pretty convincing argument. To anyone who wasn’t watching the game. Turnovers aren’t an excuse, forcing them and preventing your own is part of what makes a good football team. That would also apply to penalties.
There are no excuses, only some very bitter realizations that need to be accepted. This game was the same old story for Chip Kelly and Co. in big games recently. The jerseys looked great. The offense looked fast but was far from explosive. It’s easy to tell yourself its just a matter of time before LMJ is going to bust off a big one but it never happened. LSU’s defensive line wasn’t completely dominant but they played fast and incredibly disciplined.
Kelly’s play calling throughout the game was a little perplexing. Darron Thomas wasn’t a threat to run all game and we didn’t see any wishbone plays or innovative wrinkles. Basically just straight hand-offs to James where most of the time he met a cluster of white jerseys where a hole should’ve been. There was no deep threat to speak of to stretch the field so the Ducks tried a New England-like quick strike shotgun spread attack that was ineffective for a few different reasons.
Some other observations from the game:
Darron Thomas looked bad. He wasn’t put in a great position to succeed thanks to play calling and game situation but it still doesn’t excuse his performance. He wasn’t asked to complete passes over 15 yards and he was still very erratic with his throws, rarely hitting his receivers in stride. He seemed to lock onto guys and rush throws, feeling pressure even when it wasn’t there.
DeAnthony Thomas is going to be a monster. The two fumbles were backbreaking, maddening, inexcusable and a million other things, but it’s hard not to be excited about what the freshman brought to the table. I didn’t expect to see him dominate snaps at WR but he caught pretty much everything thrown his way and looked good doing it.
40 points looks bad but Oregon’s defense overall was very solid. They only gave up 3 drives over 40 yards and were put in terrible spots all night thanks to turnovers.
to sum it up, LSU was disciplined in all aspects of the game and Oregon was not. Ducks players on offense, defense, and special teams made brutal mistakes at the worst possible times. Even though LSU’s final numbers might not be flashy, they managed to execute their game plan almost to perfection. Oregon was out of rhythm and was forced to play in ways they didn’t want to all night. LaMichael James’ Heisman chances just tanked. Oregon’s shot at a national championship isn’t over but they’re going to have to be flawless from here on out and then get plenty of help. It was a brutal loss no matter how you slice it, and all eyes will be on the Ducks to see how they respond next week.