Oregon Ducks finding balance in Pac-12 play
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — With their speedy offense and tireless defense, the ultimate goal for the second-ranked Oregon Ducks is finding balance.
They've recently shown that both sides of the ball are equally capable.
When Washington State mounted a first-half challenge last weekend in Seattle, Oregon's defense stopped the Cougars from taking the lead before the break, making way for the Ducks' offense in the second half.
The Ducks led by a narrow 23-19 margin at the break then pulled away to score 28 straight, including a touchdown by the defense.
Against Arizona in the conference opener, Oregon led 13-0 at the half then won 49-0. In addition to holding the Wildcats scoreless, the defense pitched in with two touchdowns.
"That's what this is, a true team," coach Chip Kelly said after the victory over the Cougars. "I thought our offense went out and responded and did what they had to do, and then when our defense can add a score it makes it difficult for anybody to get back into the game."
The Ducks (5-0, 2-0) host northwest rival Washington on Saturday night. The No. 23 Huskies (3-1, 1-0) are coming off a 17-13 upset of then-No. 8 Stanford.
Kelly was amused this week when asked about Oregon's ability to wear down teams defensively and take over on offense in the second half. He noted that wasn't the case in the first three games of the season.
In the opener against Arkansas State, Oregon led 50-10 in the first half, then allowed the Red Wolves to score 24 points in the second in a 57-34 victory — although the Ducks pulled most of their starters early. In a 42-25 victory over Fresno State, the Ducks led 35-6 at the half but Fresno State outscored them 19-7 in the second.
"We play 60 minutes. I don't get caught up in those things," Kelly said about discrepancies. "We play hard in the first half, we play hard in the second half. As I've said all along, at some point in time I'd like to give the other teams credit. I thought Arizona played really well in the first half against us and Washington State played really well in the first half against us.
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