The Year That Was: Oregon 2014

The Oregon Ducks are headed to the Rose Bowl and a date in the NCAA semi-finals with Florida State. Oregon is 12-1 for the season and 9-1 in conference play. The Ducks were 6-1 at home and 4-0 on the road plus 2-0 at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. Here are some Duck-facts for the season.

Oregon played eight games when kickoff was at 8 p.m. or later in the Eastern Time Zone. The earliest start time was 11 a.m. Pacific at home against Wyoming from the Mountain West Conference. Three games started at 7:30 p.m. Pacific, two of those were at home and one was at Washington State. When the Ducks travelled to Pullman, Washington to take on the Cougars of Washington State, the game also started at 7:30 but when Utah and Oregon met in Salt Lake City the game started at 8 p.m. locally.

The game in Utah was the first time for Oregon at Rice-Eccles Stadium since the Utes join the Pac-12 Conference in 2011. The last time Oregon played at Rice-Eccles was in 2003 when Utah was part of the Mountain West Conference.

Oregon’s game with California on Oct. 24, and was the first time a college game was played in the new home of the San Francisco 49ers, Levi Stadium in Santa Clara. The Ducks made a return trip to Levi for the Pac-12 Championship game on Dec. 5.

The Ducks averaged 46.3 point per game and gave up 22.5 ppg, placing them first in the conference for scoring offense and second in scoring defense. Oregon also led the conference in total offense at 546.2 ypg but was seventh in the league in total defense, 413.8 ypg. The Ducks led the conference in rushing (237.3 ppg), pass efficiency (185.3), first downs (27.4 per game), third down conversions (51.1 percent) and turnover-takeaway margin (1.31).

Oregon only finished last in one Pac-12 category – onside kicks, as the Ducks did not attempt one all season long. Actually in that category, the Ducks were tied with Oregon State and Stanford.

Oregon also had the fewest punts in the conference with 39 while the WSU was the nearest with 49.

Royce Freeman was the leading rusher this season finishing the regular season and the conference championship game gaining 1,299 yards (99.9 ypg). Marcus Mariota was second with 668 yards (51.5). Freeman had 16 touchdown carries while Mariota had 14.

Mariota also averaged 291.0 ypg passing, throwing 38 TDs and only two interceptions giving him a QB efficiency rating of 186.3.

Oregon’s receiving corps had 17 receivers though two of those players (Mariota and center Hroniss Grasu) aren’t usually involved in catching the football. Mariota’s reception and touchdown occurred in the Arizona game on Oct. 2nd. A week later against UCLA, Grasu pulled in a deflect pass for a reception. More correctly, the ball bounced into his hands after the deflection.

Byron Marshall was converted to a wide receiver this year and he ended up as the leading receiver with 61 catches for 814 yards and five touchdowns. Devon Allen had seven touchdown receptions. In all, eight receivers averaged in double-digit receptions for the year; seven had double-digit yards per catch average. The longest scoring play was an 80-yard pass and catch from Mariota to Allen in the WSU game.

Oregon won by double-digit margins 11 times in 2014 while the sole loss was by seven to Arizona, 31-24.

The narrowest margin of victory was over Washington State, 38-31.

Oregon extended its winning streak over Washington to 11 straight. The Ducks also now hold an 8-game winning streak against WSU, 7-straight against Oregon State, 6-game streak against UCLA and Cal. Oregon broke a 2-game streak against both Stanford and Arizona this season.

Oh, and Marcus Mariota won the Heisman Trophy this year.

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