Ducks Throttle Colorado; USC Awaits

After the No. 4 ranked Oregon Ducks trounced the Colorado Buffaloes 70-14 on Saturday afternoon at Autzen Stadium, it was hard for even head coach Chip Kelly to find a glaring problem with his team's performance.

"I don't know," he said with a smile. "They played pretty good today. I'll find something to pick on them about."

Indeed, it was that kind of day for Oregon, which took a 56-0 lead into halftime and looked to be playing its best football of the season. Redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota made the most of his brief time on the field with a 10-for-14 performance for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Backup quarterback Bryan Bennett had three rushing scores and continued to show progress running the Ducks offense. The running game accumulated 425 of the Ducks 617 offensive yards, led by Kenjon Barner's 104 yards and two scores and De'Anthony Thomas' 97 yards with a touchdown.

Thomas, who had been held in check for a majority of Pac-12 play, also had an electrifying 73-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter that saw him zig-zag around Colorado defenders before breaking loose.

"He brings a smile to your face," Kelly said of the sophomore. "He's fun to watch. There's not a lot of guys that when you get a chance as a coach you just sit back and marvel at him, but he's one of those guys."

Everything clicked for the Ducks on both sides of the ball and at the end of the day, it all amounted to business as usual.

Now the real work begins.

A date with No. 9 USC awaits in Los Angeles next Saturday. Though some of the luster on the game has been lost with the Trojans loss to Arizona on Saturday, they still present the Ducks biggest test to date. Matchups with Cal, No. 17 Stanford and No. 7 Oregon State follow.

Worry? Not Oregon. Kelly and the Ducks are treating it as – you guessed it -- business as usual.

"The process is the same," Kelly said. "We'll be in tomorrow morning, early, and we'll grade this film from the day before. Once we're done with that film, we start to go through the eight games that USC has played and we'll watch them from that standpoint."

Oregon has withstood every "test" thus far, winning on average by 34 points per game. But after USC came in and beat Oregon in Eugene last season, next Saturday becomes a rare situation where the Ducks have something to avenge.

But you won't hear that from the Oregon locker room. Each game is a "Super Bowl". Every opponent is "faceless". It's still business as usual.

"This is something that, as a kid, you want to play in these games, play when it's all on the line," Mariota said. "For us it's on the line everyday."

Other notes:

For players like Barner and Thomas, next Saturday will be a homecoming. Thomas won two championships in high school at the LA Coliseum and was at one point committed to USC before changing his mind. Though attention will certainly focus on him amongst other storylines, he said he has one goal in mind for next weekend.

"I'm not going down there for a vacation or nothing, I'm just going down there to play football and get the win and come back to Eugene," Thomas said.

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