Ducks Completely Overwhelm Colorado

EUGENE, ORE., -- The BCS ranked No. 4 Oregon Ducks (8-0, 5-0) made quick work of the Colorado Buffaloes (1-7, 1-5) on Saturday afternoon, 70-14 in front of a sellout crowd of 57,521. The game was the first time Oregon has scored 70 points in a conference game. Of course the Ducks could have scored more, but the starters were mostly pulled before the end of the first half.

(PHOTO) Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota throws a pass during Oregon's 70-14 win over Colorado at Autzen Stadium on Oct. 27, 2012. (Photo by Rich Kolbell).

"They had a great week of preparation and that's what showed up today on the field," Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly said of his team's performance. "I thought our guys, right from the start, were really focused and understood the game plan. They were playing both sides of the ball and we got contributions from not only the offense and the defense but from the special teams today. Still have a lot of work to do, but I think it was a good game."

If there was any question of focus by this team it was answered on every possession in the first half. The Ducks scored 28 points in each of the first and second quarters then finished off with 14 in the third quarter with the starters looking on from the sideline.

Kenjon Barner had another 100-yard plus game, his fourth straight game he's done that, when he rushed for 104 yards on nine carries and scored two touchdowns. De'Anthony Thomas had 97 yards on five carries and a touchdown but it was Thomas' spectacular 73-yard punt return brought a smile to Kelly's face. Thomas' punt return is the longest of his career. Thomas also joined Barner as the only two Oregon Ducks to have scored touchdowns by rushing, receiving, kickoff and punt returns, at least in the record books going back to the 1960s. Thomas finished with 176 all-purpose yards (97 rushing, 6 receiving, 70 punt returning) - all in the first half.

"He's a special player," Kelly said of Thomas' punt return. "It wasn't designed that way, I can tell you that."

For the game, Oregon amassed 617 yards of total offense to Colorado's 245. The Ducks rushed for 425 yards to Colorado's 150. Passing was not a big element of Oregon's offense, even though quarterback Marcus Mariota went for 136 yards on 10-of-14 passing and two touchdowns. Bryan Bennett was perfect throwing 4-for-4 and 56 yards. Bralon Addison and Daryle Hawkins grabbed a TD pass each. In all, nine Oregon receivers had receptions. Mariota also finished up for 22 yards and a touchdown.

"They got a good feel," Kelly said of the Oregon offense and of Mariota in particular. "We got a couple special guys back there that can really make this thing go and you combine them with what our line is playing like right now, and then the threat of Marcus (Mariota) keeping it, I think makes it very difficult for defense."

Bennett scored three rushing touchdowns, which is a career high.

Nothing seemed to phase the Ducks, even when star defensive end Dion Jordan left with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. It is Chip Kelly's policy to not discuss injuries, so there was no official word on Jordan's status. However, Michael Clay said after the game that it was "next man up," meaning that if Jordan is unavailable for next week's big showdown with USC, it will be up to whoever fills Jordan's spot to perform. Clay also was confident that if Jordan can't play against the Trojans, the Ducks will be fine. Clay believed that the experienced gained by playing so many athletes this season has big dividends.

Defensively, Oregon was led by Derrick Malone's nine tackles (two solos) and a forced fumble. While the Ducks only had one sack for the day by Tyson Coleman, there were a total of 11 tackles for loss. A total of 25 defensive players recorded tackles.

"We had an opportunity to get everyone in today and it's always experience for them," concluded Kelly of the defensive effort. "The more experience they get, the more comfortable they get in that environment and the better off it's going to be for us."

The Oregon defense shut Colorado down for the first two quarters although the Buffaloes scored twice in the third quarter.

Colorado's Christian Powell was the game's leading rusher with 121 yards on 20 carries and he scored both Buffaloes' TDs. Starting quarterback Jordan Webb was 7-for-11 for 31 yards and backup Nick Hirschman was 7-of-16 for 64 yards. Paul Vigo was the leading Colorado tackler with 13 tackles (10 solos).

Notes:

• UO's 56 points at halftime were the most since 59 in the first half vs. New Mexico in 2010.
• The Ducks are 8-0 for the second time in three seasons and third time in school history (1933).
• Former Colorado tight end Ed Reinhardt Jr. was honored during a presume ceremony. Reinhardt Jr. suffered a brain injury during a 1984 game at Autzen Stadium that left him in a coma for 62 days.
• Chip Kelly won his 30th conference game as head coach, improving to 30-2 (.934) in league play.
• The Ducks have scored 40 or more points in 11 straight games and 30 or more in 21 straight - both tops in the nation. UO improved to 40-2 when exceeding 30 points in the Kelly era.
• Oregon exceeded 400 rushing yards (425) for the second straight game.
• The crowd of 57,521 (seating capacity 54,000) marked the 88th consecutive sellout for an Oregon football game at Autzen Stadium, dating to 1999. The last non-sellout was Sept. 18, 1999 vs. Nevada.

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