Thursday night’s game against Arizona State was supposed to be the first true road test for No. 2 Oregon. Any questions leading up to the game about how the Ducks would respond — redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota in particular — were answered about two minutes in. A Kenjon Barner fumble on the Ducks’ first offensive possession was recovered by the Sun Devils, and Taylor Kelly threw a 28-yard touchdown to receiver Kevin Ozier seven seconds later to give ASU a 7-0 lead.
That was about the only thing that went right for ASU. Barner responded with a 71-yard touchdown run on Oregon’s next possession. After that, it was all Oregon all the way to halftime (which metaphorically signaled the end of the game). The entire second half was essentially garbage time and the Ducks went on to beat ASU 43-21.
It’s tough not to be impressed with Oregon, especially on defense. Say what you will about the Ducks’ schedule, but it’s not like Alabama has played anyone worthy of being called a quality win either. The Tide’s best win so far is the season-opener against Michigan, and the Wolverines haven’t exactly lived up to the preseason hype.
But Alabama’s a good football team. So is Oregon, and the two programs have a lot more in common than you might think. Nick Saban and Chip Kelly may run different schemes, but they have instilled a similar identity in their respective programs that’s proven successful over the past few years. That, and they have great players.
Does that mean those two will meet in the BCS championship at year’s end? Not necessarily; there’s a whole second half of a football season left to be played. The good news is that contenders like Oregon, Alabama, Kansas State, Florida and even Notre Dame all have key games remaining on their schedules. We’ll find out over the next six weeks who’s for real and who isn’t.
If Oregon keeps playing the rest of the season like it did tonight, though, there’s no reason to think the Ducks won’t be seriously in the BCS championship conversation once again. And they’ll deserve to be there.
D’haquille Williams may have some additional explaining to do to NFL personnel if another report is accurate.
Monday night, Auburn announced that the star wide receiver had been dismissed from Gus Malzahn‘s football program. A day later, reports surfaced that Williams’ dismissal came after he went on a weekend “bar rampage” following one of his friends getting the heave-ho from a local drinking establishment over a dress-code issue. It was alleged that Williams had punched a pair of security guards, a bartender’s assistant and an unnamed patron of the bar.
The unnamed, however, now has a name.
According to the ABC affiliate in Montgomery, Ala., and a citing a source close to the AU program, Tigers center Xavier Dampeer‘s jaw was on the receiving end of one of Williams’ alleged punches. The website wrote that “Dampeer has been treated and released from East Alabama Medical Center, according to a worker at the hospital.”
Malzahn was asked Tuesday if any other Tiger players were involved in the incident. “I’m not going to get into any details,” the coach said according to al.com.
No charges have been filed in connection to the incident.
“We cannot file charges until the injured person(s) comes forward,” Auburn police chief Paul Register told the television station. “Unless an officer personally sees a fight, no arrests can be made.”
If Illinois is going to improve upon its solid 4-1 start to the 2015 season, it’ll have to do so without a significant cog in its offensive machinery.
On the official injury report release Thursday night, the Illini confirmed that Josh Ferguson has been ruled out of Saturday’s game against No. 22 Iowa. The decision is not exactly a surprise as Ferguson has been doubtful in the run-up to the road game against the Hawkeyes.
Ferguson sustained an injury to his right shoulder in the first quarter of last Saturday’s last-second win over Nebraska, and has been unable to practice at all this week.
Ferguson’s 381 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns and 5.4 yards per carry are all tops on the team. He’s added 12 receptions for 28 yards and another touchdown coming out of the backfield.
With Ferguson sidelined, the bulk of the running-game load is expected to shift to Ke’Shawn Vaughn. Through five games, Vaughn is second on the Illini with 325 yards and a pair of touchdowns.