Oregon has the potential to be the most fascinating and frustrating college football team this season.
That’s the takeaway from the Ducks’ 57-34 victory over Arkansas State on Saturday, one of the most misleading scores you’ll ever see, not just in college football, but any sport.
Oregon took an 8-0 lead (yes, they went for two) less than two minutes into the game. The Ducks extended the lead to 15-0 four minutes later. A minute later, the lead was 22. Then it swelled to 29-0 with 2:27 left—in the first quarter!
After scoring three second-quarter touchdowns in a six-minute stretch, Oregon’s lead was 50-3 with 7:06 left in the first half, and the Ducks had a legitimate chance to put up 75 by halftime if they so desired. (They didn’t.)
Oregon’s first seven drives all resulted in touchdowns and no drive was longer than three minutes.
Here were the point spreads prior to the game:
- 1st quarter: Oregon -9.5
- 2nd quarter: Oregon -22
- Full game: Oregon -37
The Ducks covered the first quarter line by 19.5 points and the halftime line by 18. Yet, incredibly, they didn’t cover the game spread and didn’t come close, largely because they stopped trying.
Arkansas State outscored Oregon’s backups 24-7 in the second half. Put another way: The Ducks scored 50 points on seven straight possessions in the game’s first 22 minutes. Over the final 38 minutes, Oregon managed just a single touchdown.
Oregon’s dominance of lower-level teams has become so absurd that it is forced to step off the gas far earlier than it ever did before. As such, teams have that much longer to score garbage touchdowns and pull off a backdoor cover.
Don’t be surprised if we see similar games the rest of the way. The Ducks are projected three-TD favorites nine times this season and have the potential to beat every team at Autzen Stadium by 35 points or more.