Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Moment Oregon Arrived

Brian Libby's article on Fishduck about one of the most transcendent plays in Oregon history, got me to thinking of what MY pick would be?

The choice is simple:  it would have to be the fake statue of liberty play, in the Big House against Michigan, on September 8th, 2007.

It was the second game of the season, second game for Oregon's new offensive coordinator Chip Kelly.  Chip Kelly brought a new, and exciting offense to Eugene.  A change that was much needed, after years of low-scoring, boring football, that was unimaginative, and would leave the home crowd at Autzen growing restless at times.

In came Chip, who had made quite a name for himself while at New Hampshire.  Kelly's offense, which is based on getting a numbers advantage, creating favorable match-ups, and speed, regularly led the nation in offense while at New Hampshire.

But that was at a lower level.  Would he be able to put up similar numbers at Oregon?  After one game - against Houston - his offense did look impressive, but now the real test came.

In a program defining game, Oregon went on the road to face Michigan, at the famed Big House, playing in front of the largest crowd ever to witness a Duck game.  Torching Houston for 48 points is one thing, but could they do it on the road, against the caliber of athletes Michigan typically gets?

The answer to that was yes.

Michigan looked lost and confused as Oregon toyed with them all day, to the tune of 39-7.  Not one play demonstrated the beauty of Chip Kelly's offense more than this one:

A fake statue of liberty as Dennis Dixon faked the handoff to Johnathan Stewart, fooling the Michigan defenders - announcers too - and ran it in for the touchdown.

Big programs go on the road and win games like this, and Oregon did it.  This play announced to the college football world that Oregon had arrived.

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