(PHOTO) Oregon Ducks right guard Jake Pisarcik (76) kneels after losing 47-41 in overtime to the Texas Christian Frogs at the Valero Alamo Bowl in the Alamodome. Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports
Oregon sprinted out to a 31-0 lead at halftime behind Vernon Adams’ 197 yards of passing and a touchdown to Darren Carrington; something that has happened before. Royce Freeman rushed for two touchdowns on his way to recording 130 yards rushing in a game; something that has happened before this season. Carrington had all of his catches for 107 yards in the first half, and that is certainly something that happened before this season.
Then Adams got hurt and left the game late in the second quarter, and again, same thing happened earlier in the season because when he left the game the Ducks stalled out on offense.
To make matters worse though, in the second half Oregon could only generate 43 yards of offense, which of course brings the story of the game, to the Oregon defense.
In the first half of the game, the Duck defense allowed 142 yards of offense total and no points In the second half however the defense gave up 47 points and 403 yards.
How does that happen?
Mark Helfrich said he wasn’t sure when the momentum changed. Yesterday he said that “there has to be improvement” from players, coaches and even himself. Today, however after giving up a 31-point lead only to lose in triple overtime, he was asked given what he has said on Friday, had he seen any improvement in his team and coaching staff.
“It’s impossible to answer a question like that,” responded Helfrich. “The thing everybody wants to point a finger at (is) one person. Point it at me. I’m 100 percent good at that.”
No doubt there will people who'll blame Helfrich for the loss..
When defensive coordinator Don Pellum, was asked why the defense was so efficient in the first half and so porous in the second he was unable to point a finger at anybody.
“I don’t know,” said Pellum. “I’ll have to see the film.”
Well then coach, did you notice any similarities to the Oregon State game where the Beavers stormed back with 35 points to cut a sizable Oregon lead to three points with less that five minutes in the game?
“Not really,” replied Pellum
The Ducks of course won that game 52-42 and lost this game 47-41 to the No. 11 team in the country that lost its star quarterback when he was suspended for the game two days before kickoff; and of course Oregon State finished 2-9 for the season.
So there were obviously differences.
Some may wonder if Pellum actually looked at the tapes of the Oregon State game, though surely he must have because Mark Helfrich has said that the coaches look at things, identify what the problems are and then fix the problems -- "cleans" them up.
So for sure losing Vernon Adams was a major blow as was the loss of center Matt Hegerty as evidenced by the painfully poor snaps from center, four in fact that either stalled drives or lost yardage. Losing possession of the ball is always a killer and one of TCU’s scores resulted from getting great field possession on a fumble on a kickoff.
In post game interviews the issue of missed tackles seemed to pop up, but yet other than Helfrich himself accepting blame for the loss, generally the tone of the post game interviews was that it was the players that lost the game. Maybe so, but isn’t one of the things coaches are supposed to do is put players in a position to be successful?
That appeared to be the case for Oregon in the first half of the Valero Alamo Bowl, but the second half, well maybe not so much.