The Oregon Ducks may just be the best college football team in the country, even better than No.1 Alabama. Last season, the Ducks looked fast. But after former head coach Chip Kelly departed the program to take on the head coaching position with the Philadelphia Eagles in hopes of revolutionizing the read-option in the NFL, many questioned how the Ducks would bounce back in 2013. Well, they look even faster than last year.
The Ducks have scored a combined 239 points in their first four games, up from 211 last season in the same span. The point ratio has improved as well, from 211-73 in 2012 to 239-43 this season in the same four game span. The continued success of the high powered offense can be attributed to emerging Heisman candidate Marcus Mariota, who has been stellar both throwing and running the ball. Mariota has thrown for nine touchdowns and no interceptions in the first four games.
Helping Mariota out has been running back De’Anthony Thomas, who did not return after slipping and injuring his ankle in the first half of a 55-16 win over the California Golden Bears. Even so, Thomas has averaged eight yards per carry, up slightly from last season. Losing Thomas didn’t slow down the Ducks one bit, as sophomore Byron Marshall filled in and had a career high 130 yards on 19 carries. The extent of Thomas’ injury is unknown, but he seemed optimistic about his return next week against Colorado.
The Ducks should be able to cruise on to an undefeated season. The only real test will be No.5 Stanford, who handed the Ducks their only loss last season, crushing their hopes for a BCS Championship. If they are able to pass this hurdle, the much-anticipated No.1 Alabama against No.2 Oregon matchup will finally be upon us, in a true test of SEC defense against West Coast offense.
Lahari Subraveti is a football writer for Rant Sports. You can follow her on Twitter: @Lahari_S