Duck Dynasty Downfall

By: Amanda Boechler

On Monday, Jan. 12, Duck fans gathered around their television sets waiting for the start of the National Championship game. Since the Ducks had an amazing performance at the Rose Bowl, with a 59 to 20 win over Florida State, they made it to the championship game in Arlington, Texas, where Oregon hoped for their first championship win in the history of Duck football.
Despite Duck fans’ hopes, the Buckeyes pulled out a 42 to 20 victory over Oregon. The Ducks have consistently displayed their speed throughout the season, yet this time that speed was met with the brute strength and athleticism of the Buckeyes. Ohio viewed the Ducks’ defense as their weakness, and they hoped to capitalize on it. Oregon’s defense put up a good fight, but as the game went on, they seemed increasingly more tired and let more and more get by them. Oregon was also unable to take advantage of the Buckeyes’ four turnovers. The Ducks also struggled in the red zone, unable to get past Ohio State’s defensive line.

The Buckeyes faced a lot of problems this year, including the loss of their first string quarterback, Braxton Miller. They also lost to Virginia Tech in September. When backup quarterback J.T. Barrett got hurt, most people counted the Buckeyes down for the count. However, their performance in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama proved otherwise. Ohio won in a 42 to 35 victory. Ohio’s victory in the National Championship was very unexpected, but very thrilling for Buckeye fans. This is the first National Championship the Buckeyes have won since 2002. Ohio’s backup quarterback Cardale Jones and running back Ezekiel Elliot pulled through for the Buckeyes. Elliot ran for 240 yards, the most yards run by a single person in championship history. On top of that, he scored four touchdowns for the Buckeyes. Due to his outstanding performance, Elliot was named the offensive MVP of the game.
Despite their loss, Oregon had a successful season. The Ducks had a total of 13 wins and only two loses. Their only regular season loss was against Arizona. The Ducks made it to, and won, the Rose Bowl, which was an amazing accomplishment. Not only did they win, but they blew Florida Sate out of the water with a 39-point victory. Despite their loss at the championship game, their ability to perform well throughout the season, and make it to the championship game, will not go unnoticed. Oregon is looking forward to next season with hopes that next year will be their championship year. Yet, Oregon will have to compensate for the loss of the best player in the University of Oregon’s history, Marcus Mariota. On Jan. 14, Mariota declared he would enter the NFL draft.

Mariota has made great contributions to the Ducks’ over the years. First, Mariota was awarded this year’s Heisman trophy. The award has been given to 79 athletes over the years, and Mariota was the University of Oregon’s first. The Heisman Trophy is a demonstration of a college athlete’s overall success, and many winners deem it the defining moment of their career. Duck fans got the opportunity to support Marcus Mariota this season as he took home the 79th Heisman trophy. He was the first player from the west coast to win since Stanford’s player Jim Plukett in 1970. Mariota’s success can be measured by his incredible numerical achievements. He passed for 4,454 yards and threw 42 passes that resulted in touchdowns. One of the lesser-known facts about the Heisman trophy is that there are actually two awarded every year. One of the trophies goes to the most outstanding football player, and the other goes to the winner’s team. So not only did Mariota take home a Heisman, so did the whole team. Mariota has been a very valuable part of the Ducks’ seemingly unstoppable team, and he will be missed next year.

This year was the first ever National Championship game that resulted from the new playoff system. Because of the decisions of the College Football Playoff committee, both teams were placed in the final four, and had the opportunity to make it to the championship game by winning either the Rose Bowl or the Sugar Bowl. Some people think that this old system of determining the final four was not the best option. Both Alabama and Florida State are considered powerhouses of college football, so despite their shaky season they would have been given the benefit of the doubt in their bid for the national championship game, while new, up-and-coming teams like Oregon would have been counted out the moment they lost to a lesser team, like Arizona. The new system was put in place to attempt to be more fair to all teams by giving them all an equal opportunity without pre-determined favorites. The committee also tried to look at the difficulty of the teams’ seasons so that it is not entirely based on the number of wins, but also on the difficulty of the individual games. There are many people who like the new system, but there are also many who do not. Whether or not it is a good system, the Ducks and Buckeyes definitely appreciated it this year.

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