Mistakes Kill Ducks

The third quarter of the Saturday night matchup between LSU and Oregon is something Chip Kelly would like to do over, but he can't and much like a 12-round boxing match, the first round was over and lost, but even if his team was knocked down in the 40-27 loss, the Oregon headman isn't ready to throw in the towel just yet.

(PHOTO) Oregon Ducks running back DeAnthony Thomas (6) catches a pass in the second quarter against the LSU Tigers at Cowboys Stadium. The Tigers beat the Ducks 40-27. (By: Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE)

"I think a lot of it was self-inflicted and penalties like that set you back," Kelly said of his team not being able to get into the rhythm it has been known for over the last two season. "It's something we obviously have to clean up."

Come Monday morning, the Ducks cleanup project will be in full swing to fix the three lost fumbles, an interception and 12 penalties. Kelly used the term "self-inflicted" freely when describing the reasons why his team came out on the short end of the final score. While Oregon and LSU played even up during the first half the second half was pure torture for the Ducks and their faithful.

The bittersweet play of true freshman DeAnthony Thomas displayed what the future is going to be like as he was so close to breaking off big plays, but in an instant a turnover changed the raves to raspberries as he coughed of the ball on consecutive possessions and Tigers pounced on the mistakes to score and put the game on ice.

Kelly though, recognizes as does team leaders such as LaMichael James that DeAnthony Thomas was playing on a big stage for the first time and that while mistakes were made, the future for DeAnthony Thomas is particularly bright.

"He's a freshman, playing in a big environment," explained James of DeAnthony Thomas' play. "You expect him to make mistakes. He was thrown in the fire real quick, he has to grow up just like a lot of players on this team. Playing in front of 100,000 fans for the first time for an 18-year old kid I'm sure is very difficult.

Even though the turnovers were obvious and costly, to blame a true freshman for a loss is absurd. The Ducks offensive line, a unit that had performed so flawlessly in 2010 made many mistake, some explainable, and some not.

"False starts are not due to effort, I can tell you that much," Kelly said of the line play." That's due to not being locked in mentally."

The false start penalties slowed down Oregon's pace and stalled the momentum the Ducks so hope to utilize. For the game the Duck had a total of 335 yards of offense compared to LSU's 273 yards. Oregon's rushing game never did get established and the Ducks only had 95 yards of rushing on 28 attempts. Oregon had to abandon the running game after falling behind by 20 points (33-13) and while Darron Thomas' 240 yards of passing with one touchdown is not bad statistically, Oregon was solely relying on the pass to get back into the game. There was some hope in the fourth quarter when Thomas hit Josh Huff for an 8-yard passing play to cut score to 33-30. However, LSU's defense was too stiff and Oregon was on a downhill slide.

For a team that won 12 games last season, an opening game loss to LSU means questions were immediately asked if there was something about and SEC team that is just too much for Oregon to overcome. After all the Ducks lost the BCS Championship to Auburn last January, but while Kelly admitted to the loss to those other Tigers in the SEC, he still believes in his team and what is in store for the rest of the season.

"It's a twelve round fight," Kelly said optimistically." We got knocked down and lost round one. These kids will come back to work on Monday."

Notes: James was a slightly inaccurate when he was talking about playing in front of 100,000 people. The attendance for the game was 87,711 but his point about DeAnthony Thomas was still valid.

- Four true freshmen played on Saturday. DeAnthony Thomas, ended up as one of the leading receiver for the Ducks with six catches for 47 yards, including the Ducks' longest gain from the line of scrimmage on an 18-yard reception. Tight end Colt Lyerla played on special teams. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Jake Fisher also played in the game.

- Lavasier Tuinei was the leading receiver for Oregon with seven catches for 57 yards. James was the leading rusher with 54 net yards on 18 carries. James became Oregon's all-time leading rusher with 3,331 yards, surpassing Derek Loville (3,296 from 1986-89.)

- Sophomore Boseko Lokombo made his fourth career fumble recovery.

- Senior Anthony Gildon set a new career mark with three pass breakups in the game.

- Junior PK Rob Beard tied a career field goals in a game with two.

- The 87,711 was the 10th largest crowd to ever watch Oregon play.

- Thomas has at least one touchdown pass in all his 14 career starts.

- The not so good news is that the four turnovers is the most the Ducks have committed since a 31-24 win over Utah State in 2009 and the 13-point loss is the worst that Oregon has suffered since the 44-10 defeat to USC in 2008.

Official Statistics

eDuck Top Stories