Wow! What an electric night at Autzen! I was a little ashamed to admit it, but the first couple of home games were a little….well….blah. The crowd was a bit lame and the noise level wasn’t near what it usually is. But, I think it’s safe to say, Autzen. Is. Back.
I arrived to the stadium with about 45 minutes to spare, more than enough time to grab a $4.50 fountain drink (1/2 diet, 1/2 regular-my own tradition) and win a yellow foam finger from the Seven Feather’s Casino *woot woot*! As I walked around the stadium, I was thinking I must be lookin’ pretty fly because everyone was looking at me (OK, not everyone, but a lot of people). Then reality hit. I was rockin’ an awesome Marcus Mario-O-ta shirt. Apparently it was quite the hit, and it is in high demand. Unfortunately it is made with an “O” that isn’t licensed, so I don’t have them on gridirongirl.org (That doesn’t mean I won’t point a few of you in the right direction..shhhhh). At any rate, life was still good even though it wasn’t my beauty that was so popular. I rolled into the stands, after some “Huskies suck” banter on the way, and my beloved Autzen Crowd had finally arrived – a sea of yellow ready for a Husky beat down! It was a priceless moment….and it only got better. My Ducks played hard and well. I actually feel bad for underestimating the score at 41-23 (final score was 52-21 Ducks). I’m Sorry Ducks, I won’t do it again.
The many good things, a couple of bad and my favorite play of the game:
1. Marcus Mariota.
Mariota’s parents and little brother were all together at Autzen for the first time and Mariota didn’t disappoint. His Spring Game poise seemed to have returned, and he did an excellent job. He seemed more confident in his running which I think helped a lot. (This is what is meant by a duel threat quarterback. One that can run and pass) In previous games, he almost seemed afraid to take off with the ball. I was excited to see him improve in this area.
As a side note, I read this morning that Mariota ended up losing his cool a little bit, which I LOVE. Apparently, when he was tackled out of bounds (against the rules) on the Husky sideline, a few of the Husky players started “woofing” at him. In response, he turned back around not once, but twice, to bark at them. When asked about the incident, he responded, ““If you disrespect me or disrespect my teammates, I’m not going to let that go,” Mariota said. “There’s situations where you can keep your head and there’s situations where you need to say something. I felt at that point in time they were getting a little chippy. I felt I needed to say a little something. That’s usually not in my character; it just kind of happened. (registerguard.com) I don’t know about you, but after watching how dirty and scrappy the Huskies played, I love that Mariota bit back a little.
2. The Secondary.
I have been pretty critical of these guys, but last night they really showed up- breaking up passes and making interceptions. There’s always room for improvement, but I think things might finally be gelling. Avery Patterson gets a shout out for getting 2 Pick 6’s in 2 games!
3. Kenjon Barner.
Kenjon is the first string running back over DAT for a reason, though it’s not always clear why. Kenjon racks up yards and scores touchdowns…quietly- just as he did playing with Lamichael James. He may not always dazzle us with breakout plays but he always gets the job done…consistently.
The Ducks seemed to be playing faster than they have all year- their specialty. And, I really enjoyed watching Chip pushing them from the sideline to “hurry up”!
1. The Offensive and Defensive Line.
Both of these areas need work. Its a fairly young crew and there have been injuries, so things aren’t beautiful. Basically these guys are the meat and potatoes of protection and they need some work-especially before the Ducks play Stanford and USC. I’m sure it will be fine, but if I have to give a bad grade….
My Favorite Play of the Game:
My gridirongirl ball goes to Marcus Mariota for jumping over the guy that tried to tackle him. Awwwesome!