Sunday, February 19, 2017

Farewell to 2016: Oregon Ducks

It was a season of highs and lows in the PAC-12 in 2016. The Washington Huskies turned a major corner, making it to the national semifinal before getting smothered by Alabama. The Huskies were one of four teams that won 10 games or more. On the flip side, half of the teams in the conference finished under .500, including two major surprise teams in Oregon and UCLA. The conference's prize QB, Josh Rosen, was injured for most of the season, and under performed when he was available, and Jake Browning became the new star QB of the conference until being upstaged by Sam Darnold at USC. The biggest story was the emergence of the Colorado Buffaloes, who shocked everyone by winning the South. Here is our farewell to the 2016 season, team by team, in the PAC-12...

Oregon Ducks
4-8 (2-7)

2016 Schedule
Beat UC Davis 53-28
Beat Virginia 44-26
Lost to Nebraska 35-32
Lost to Colorado 41-38
Lost to Washington State 51-33
Lost to Washington 70-21
Lost to California 52-49
Beat Arizona State 54-35
Lost to USC 45-20
Lost to Stanford 52-27
Beat Utah 30-28
Lost to Oregon State 34-24

MVP Offense: QB Justin Herbert
As bad as things got for Oregon in 2016, Justin Herbert was a very nice find and surprise. Dakota Prukop, the latest in FCS grad transfers, was doing a decent job, but then went down with injury, and Herbert, a true freshman, got the call. He was impressive during his run. He passed for 1936 yards, with 19 TDs against just 4 INTs, which is as impressive as it gets for a true freshman. He completed 63.5% of his passes, and averaged 215.1 yards per game on an average of 28.3 attempts per game. He will likely be the undisputed started heading into 2017, and I look forward to seeing if he can keep it going. 
MVP Defense: LB Troy Dye
Dye was nother young freshman find in the mess that was 2016, espeically on defense, where the Ducks allowed 41.4 points per game. Dye led the team with 91 tackles, had 13 TFLs, and finished with 6.5 sacks. He also picked off a pass, and will be a major building block when it comes to trying to put this defense back together again in 2017.  Others of Note
Royce Freeman decided to remain for his senior season after rushing for 945 yards and 9 TDs. He averaged 5.63 yards per carry, but only averaged a bit over 15 carries per game. 
Sophomore RB Tony Brooks-James also rushed for 9 scores on 771 yards rushing, while averaging 7.63 yards per carry. 
Only 2 Duck receivers caught 40 passes or more, and only 5 caught as many as 20 or more. 
The Ducks, on defense, averaged 5.33 more tackles per game than their opponents, a key indicator as to how efficient the defense was. Final tally...they were not efficient at all. 
Oregon allowed 74 TFLs against in 2016
Oregon allowed 29 sacks in 2016. The defense collected just 25.
Aidan Schneider attempted just 12 FGs, making only 9 of them. 
Ian Wheeler averaged just 37.85 yards per punt.
Best Win: Utah 30-28
The Ducks, like Cal, somehow ended up with losing records, but yet both beat the Utes, keeping the Utes from winning the South Division. It would also be the last win on the season for the Ducks before falling to Oregon State a week later.  Worst Loss: Washington 70-21, Oregon State 34-24
The Ducks used to run neck and neck with Washington in the North, before becoming the dominant side in the rivalry. THe Ducks are completely outclassed by the Huskies once again, as was shown in their 49 point loss. 
Losing to Oregon State is just never acceptable, especially in recent years where the program has been so down. This loss really killed the spirit of the program, and cost Mark Helfrich his job, even though that had likely already been decided.  2017 Non Conference Schedule: 9/2 Southern Utah, 9/9 Nebraska, 9/16 at Wyoming
The Ducks will have no trouble with Southern Utah, and should be able to beat Wyoming on the road, but that Wyoming trip is not as easy as it would have been two years ago. If the Ducks do not play up for that game, an upset could be brewing. I would also favor Nebraska early in Eugene, but the Huskers are missing major pieces, so the Ducks have an opportunity there. 

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