As we get deeper and deeper into the 2012 season, we begin to learn more and more things about the Oregon Ducks. With that being said, there were many things that Oregon fans can take away from the 51-26 victory over the Washington State Cougars. Let’s take a look at three things we learned in week 5.
1) The rushing attack will need to be the most important aspect of the Oregon offense all season. Kenjon Barner had another career like performance where he ran for 195 yards on 20 carries with three rushing touchdowns. Barner also recorded a season-high of 9.8 yards per carry. It is looking like he will need to be an anchor for the Oregon offense. If he can continue to have performances close to the one from this weekend, he will take tons of pressure off Marcus Mariota in the passing game.
2) Secondly, Mariota is not going to be “picture-perfect” in every game this season. The game against Washington State could arguably be see as Mariota’s “worst” game this season. He threw for 169 yards on 21 completions, but his touchdown to interception ratio was not at all what it has been this season. He only threw one touchdown (also had a rushing touchdown), but threw two interceptions (season-high). There is no reason to hit the panic button, but it was seen that Mariota will have games that are not perfect. This is why the rushing attack for Oregon will need to help him out.
3) Even though the Ducks won, they are beatable. At the end of the first half, many were questioning the Ducks and proposing silly comments about an upset. Oregon came out hot against the Cougars, but they let them back into the game. Then, in the second half, Oregon picked it up and put all those questions and comments to rest. However, the Ducks will need to avoid setbacks like they had against the Cougars when they came within four points of the Ducks. Oregon has some tough Pac-12 opponents on the schedule and, if they go flat for any reason during a game, teams like USC, Washington, and Stanford can make the Ducks pay. Oregon will be fine the rest of the season, but it is still something to look at, especially in Oregon’s first road game of the season.
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