August 12, 2008

2008: Grading the non-conference schedules


We've created a vicious cycle in college football. Sure we all love the fact that just about every game is on TV nowadays. And because coaches and athletic directors want their teams to look good on TV, so they schedule a lot of limp fish opponents. Because wins beget bowl games. Bowl games begets job security. Job security begets more money. Thus, more money is insured by wins. You spin me right round baby right round, like a record.

No longer do college football teams across the country take chances. Or, well, rarely do they. Have you noticed how boring Septembers have become, except for the occasional Appy State upset of Michigan or Ohio State showdown with Texas?

Continue reading "2008: Grading the non-conference schedules" »

December 31, 2007


EL PASO, TX - The Oregon Ducks (9-4) held a slim 18-14 halftime, but erupted for 28 third-quarter points en route to a record-setting 56-21 win over the South Florida Bulls (9-4) at the 74th annual Brut Sun Bowl.

Continue reading "OREGON MAULS USF 56-21 AT BRUT SUN BOWL" »

EL PASO, TX - In what was a close 18-14 game at halftime, the Oregon Ducks exploded for 28 third quarter points, en route to a 56-21 win over South Florida in the 74th version of the Brut Sun Bowl.

Continue reading "" »


EL PASO, TX - Taking over the ineffective and shaken up Matt Grothe, USF's Grant Gregory hit A.J. Love for an 11-yard touchdown to cut Oregon's lead to 49-21 with 6:34 remaining in the game.


EL PASO, TX - Matt Evensen added a 30-yard field goal to give Oregon a 49-14 lead with 12;14 left in the game.


EL PASO, TX - The Oregon Ducks are having their way with South Florida, not just on the scoreboard, 46-14, but in the Sun Bowl record book.

Though the game is only three quarters old, a number of records have been set in today's rout.



EL PASO, TX - The Ducks keep piling it on.

Justin Roper is looking like anythig but a freshman, throwing his fourth touchdown pass of the game. This time it was an eight-yarder to Jonathan Stewart to make it 46-14 with 4:05 left in the third.


EL PASO, TX - When it rains, it pours. Ten seconds after Oregon took a 32-14 lead over USF, Ducks' cornerback Walter Thurmond III intercepted a Matt Grothe pass and returned it 25 yards for a TD to make it 39-14 with 7:25 to go in the third period.


EL PASO, TX - Justin Roper threw his third touchdown pass of the game, a 15-yarder to Ed Dickson to give Oregon a comanding 32-14 lead over South Florida with 7:35 to go in the third quarter.

Roper, the Ducks' freshman replacement for Dennis Dixon, is now 13 of 23 for 145 yards.


EL PASO, TX - After taking a 25-14 lead, Oregon recovered a Taurus Johnson fumble on the USF 36-yard line. An unsportsmanlike penalty took the Ducks back to midfield, but they are now looking at a first down at the Bulls' 18-yard line.


EL PASO, TX - Freshman quarterback Justin Roper hit Jaison Williams with a 14-yard touchdown pass to give the Ducks a 25-14 lead with 10:17 left in the third quarter.

This was Roper's second TD pass of the game.

The key play of the drive was a 41-yard run by Jonathan Stewart, who is nearing the Brut Sun Bowl record for rushing yards. Stewart has 186, the record is 197, set by LSU's Charles Alexander in 1977.


EL PASO, TX - USF, down 18-14, opened the second half of the Brut Sun Bowl with the ball, but after a single first down, are forced to punt from their own 35 yard line.


EL PASO, TX - South Florida's Delbert Alvarado nailed a 35-yard field goal as time ran out to cut Oregon's lead to 18-14 at halftime.

In a half that featured as many yellow hankies as big plays, Oregon has been almost unstoppable on the ground while USF is having the better of it through the air

Continue reading "USF CUTS INTO LEAD AT HALF" »


EL PASO, TX - Jonathan Stewart exploded for a 71-yard touchdown run to give Oregon an 18-11 lead over South Florida with 3:17 to go in the second quarter.

Stewart, who started slowly, has now rushed for 141 yards on just 12 carries (11.8 yards per carry).


EL PASO, TX - Playing like they haven't been on the field for a month, Oregon and South Florida have already combined to tie the all-time Brut Sun Bowl record for most penalty yardage in a game with 162.

Oregon has been flagged 10 times for 102 yards, South Florida has seven penalties for 60 yards.

Oh, and by the way, they tied the record with 5:25 to go in the second quarter.


EL PASO, TX - Quarterback Matt Grothe escaped a heavy rush and hit Taurus Johnson with a 21-yard touchdown pass to get within 11-9. On the two-point try, Grothe hit Cedric Hill in the back of the end zone to tie Oregon 11-11 with 7:04 left in the second quarter.


EL PASO, TX - South Florida's Delbert Alvarado kicked a 29-yard field goal to cut Oregon's lead to 8-3 with 14:49 left in the second quarter.

The Bulls kept the ball for 16 plays and 6:39, but were unable to get it into the end zone.


EL PASO, TX - In an opening quarter that saw both teams combine for 12 penalties for 112 yards, the Oregon Ducks lead the South Florida Bulls 8-0.

Oregon has seven penalties for 67 yards, while South Florida has been flagged five times for 45 yards.


EL PASO, TX - Freshman quarterback Justin Roper hit wide receiver Garren Strong with a seven-yard TD pass to give Oregon an early lead in the Brut Sun Bowl.

Oregon decided to roll the dice early and go for two. Roper pitced to Matt Evensen, who ran it in for the two-point conversion to give Oregon the 8-0 lead with 6:28 left in the first quarter.


EL PASO, TX - Oregon takes the opening kickoff and will go to work with freshman quarterback Justin Roper, filling in for the injured Dennis Dixon.


EL PASO, TX - The Brut Sun Bowl is a sea of green with both Oregon and South Florida fans donning their respective team's primary color - green.

Even the skydivers who dropped into the stadium with the game ball dropped in with green parachutes. The last skydiver dropped in with a huge American flag waving behind him to the delight of the 51,000 fans.


Today's Brut Sun Bowl pits two teams who are still wondering what might have been.

Both the Oregon Ducks (8-4) and the South Florida Bulls (9-3) were ranked as high as second in the nation this season but were unable to sustain it due to a combination of injuries and bad luck.

Of course, Oregon's loss of (at the time) Heisman Trophy frontrunner Dennis Dixon quickly transformed the team from a national title contender to a very mediocre squad. After losing their quarterback, the Ducks have gone on to lose three straight games.

South Florida opened the season with six straight wins but also went on a stretch when they lost three straight games (by a combined 15 points).

However, the Bulls recovered to finish the season on a three-game wining streak and are ranked 21 in the BCS standings.

Oregon comes into the Brut Sun Bowl with wins over USC, MIchigan and Arizona State. South Florida registered victories over Auburn, West Virginia and Louisville.

Some of the players to watch in this one are Oregon running back Jonathan Stewart (1,469 yards, 10 TDs), wide receiver Jaison Willliams (51 catches, 804 yards, 7 TDs) and defensive end Nick Reed (60 tackles, 12 sacks, 22.5 tackles for loss).

For South Florida, QB Matt Grothe (2,473 yards passing, 13 TDs, 832 yards rushing, 10 TDs), freshman RB Mike Ford (637 yards, 12 TDs) and DE George Selvie (14.5 sacks, 32 tackles for loss).

It is a great day for football! The Brut Sun Bowl will kick off at 2 p.m. eastern and will be played under sunny skies (60 degrees), there isn't a single cloud to be found. There is a slight 10-15 mph breeze though.

November 24, 2007

Oregon-UCLA: My, how far Oregon has fallen


Sure enough, without Dennis Dixon, Oregon laid a big fat "O."

On November 11th, the Oregon Ducks were No. 2 in the nation. Then came what I am getting closer and closer to calling the worst injury in the modern history of college football.

So this was not the Oregon team we were supposed to see. Not the same team a lot of people had pegged to play for the national championship.

But who could've guessed this? The Ducks ended the game - yes, the game, not the first quarter - with 148 total yards against that good, but not great UCLA defense.

And can someone explain to me why Dennis Dixon is no longer considered a Heisman Trophy candidate? I mean if you look at the Heisman as a most valuable player-type of award, Dixon is easily the nation's MVP.

(Jonathan Stewart found no running room against the swarming Bruins)

Continue reading "Oregon-UCLA: My, how far Oregon has fallen" »

Oregon-UCLA: Game Over. Bruins win.

This game comes to an anti-climatic end here at the Rose Bowl. The Bruin defense dominates and Oregon is obviously not a team worthy of the BCS if they don't have Dennis Dixon in the game.


Scoreboard totals as shown above are correct. UCLA improves to 6-5 and 5-3, keeping its still-dim Pac 10 title hopes alive. (I know, that sounds bizarre, but it's true.) Oregon drops to 8-3 and 5-3.

More in a bit...

Oregon-UCLA: Ducks won't be Rose Bowlin'. Now down 16-0.

Bruins just slammed the door on this one. And a loud cheer just went up over in South Central L.A. as the USC Trojans will now be in the driver's seat for the Rose Bowl. UCLA's lead balloons to 16-0 as Craig Sheppard just ran in a clinching touchdown with 5:29 left. (This ain't the SEC, so Oregon is NOT going to come back and win.)

The Drive:
4 plays
31 yards
1:51 elapsed time

Oregon-UCLA: Teams trade interceptions. Still 9-0 Bruins.

These two teams just traded interceptions. But now there is under nine mintues left, so Oregon MUST find some offense.

(Without Dennis Dixon, even the Bruin Girls could stop the Ducks today)

Oregon's Justin Roper threw an interception to UCLA's Trey Brown. Roper is Oregon's third quarterback of the day and that was Brown's fourth interception of the season.

But then UCLA's Ben Olson returned the favor with an interception of his own two plays later, in the Oregon end zone. Duck ball.

Oregon-UCLA: Forbath kicks field goal No. 3, UCLA now up 9-0

Another Oregon turnover, this time an interception deep in UO territory, has led to another Kai Forbath field goal for the Bruins.

(Yawn. Kai Forbath is the only offense in today's game)

The Bruins now lead 9-0 after three quarters.

Total Offense:
UCLA- 50 plays, 124 yards. (Passing: 3-15, 35 yards through the air.)
Oregon- 56 plays, 103 yards. (Passing: 6-25 for 56 yards through the air.)

This ain't the SEC, people.

Oregon-UCLA: A couple of things i should mention

Did I happen to mention that it's a 75 degree day with a cloudless sky here in Southern California? Except for the smog and bad plastic surgery, it's perfect here.

(What, it's not warm and sunny where you are?)

Also, Ben Olson is the UCLA starting quarterback for the second half, but didn't get much going in his first two drives. The first drive of the second half ended when Olson's 4th-down pass went incomplete.

Oregon now has the ball in UCLA territory... but I still wish I was at the Tennessee-Kentucky game.

Oregon-UCLA: Halfway through and STILL nothing exciting


(There hasn't been a lot of "O" in this game)

It's 6-0 UCLA at the half here in the Rose Bowl.

Offensive offense:
UCLA- 29 plays, 40 yards, 2 first downs.
Oregon- 44 plays, 101 yards, 9 first downs.

Poor passes, dropped catches, no running lanes, and just general inept play all the way around so far between these two teams today.

Two turnovers have led to Bruin field goals, which makes sense since UCLA can't get anything going behind 4th string quarterback Osaar Rasshan.

Hell, bring back Wayne Cook.

Oregon-UCLA: Leaf still gimpy, Bruins go up 6-0.

Trainers are working with Brady Leaf, but he still looks pretty weak on that gimpy right stilt of his.

(Leaf looked shaky on the field AND here in front of the trainers with his injured ankle)

He doesn't appear to be going in any time soon, though after Kempt's interception, he may be a necessity. Bruins turn interception into another Kai Forbath field goal to go up 6-0. UCLA is now 1-of-7 on third down conversions.

Oregon-UCLA: Ladies and Gentlemen, here's your Heisman contender today


After one full quarter, it's UCLA 3-0.

(Dennis Dixon is manning the headset for Oregon)

Previously a Heisman front-runner, Dennis Dixon is in his jersey, but merely to stand on the sidelines and relay the signals from the press box to the Quarterback on the field. Bummer.

If Dixon stayed healthy, Oregon would be moving up to No. 1 after LSU's loss yesterday. Instead, Oregon is battling to stay in contention for the Rose Bowl.

UCLA is 0-for-4 in third down conversions. Oregon can't get much going either, totalling 70 yards in 26 plays. It's going to be an inept defensive struggle today in Pasadena.

Oregon-UCLA: Career-long field goal for UCLA's Kai Forbath puts Bruins up 3-0


(Backup QB Cody Kempt's fumble led to UCLA's first score.)

After recovering a fumble by Oregon back-up QB Cody Kempt at the Duck 34, UCLA went backward a few yards before settling for a field goal.

The Drive:
4 plays
-4 yards

It was the 3rd longest field goal in UCLA history, and the longest ever by a Bruin at the Rose Bowl. This was his third field goal of 50+ yards this season, tying that mark with Justin Medlock, who is on the Chiefs practice squad. Nice.

Oregon-UCLA: Shelley Smith an Oregon fan?

For the second year in a row I'm at an Oregon game here in SoCal, and I've spotted ESPN's Shelley Smith tailgaiting with a bunch of Oregon fans. Last year, it was outside the Coliseum before the USC game, today it's before the UCLA game.

(I tried to get my camera out to take a picture of her, but it would've been too obvious I was taking a picture of her, so you get this on-camera shot instead)

I know she is a Nebraska grad and currently lives here in SoCal in San Pedro, but just found out the other day that she has a daughter who plays soccer for Oregon. So there's your Ducks/Shelley Smith connection.

Game time is just under two hours away, I'm going to go try to score some free food and beers out at a tailgate somewhere. More later.

Oregon-UCLA: Hell Freezes Over! (USC fans will be pulling for UCLA)

Oregon-UCLA Quick Preview:

It happens about as often as a total eclipse in Southern California, but the fan base of the Trojans need their cross-town rivals to pull off the upset of No. 9 Oregon in order for their team to make it to the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day.

The Pac 10 Standings:
USC - 6-2
Arizona State - 6-2
Oregon - 5-2
Oregon State - 5-3
UCLA - 4-3

Believe it or not, UCLA could still end up with a share of the Pac 10 title if the Bruins beat Oregon, beat USC and Arizona beats Arizona State. Unlikely, right? Well have you noticed how many crazy things have happened this season?

Continue reading "Oregon-UCLA: Hell Freezes Over! (USC fans will be pulling for UCLA)" »

November 16, 2007

Final -- Arizona 34, Oregon 24.

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The bid for the national championships is over for the Ducks. With the loss, they can stil hope for the Rose Bowl, or a BCS at-large bid, but no more championship dreams.

Continue reading "Final -- Arizona 34, Oregon 24." »

November 15, 2007


TUCSON, Ariz. -- At least Leaf got a field-goal scoring drive in before the half. Still, there's a ways to go and there's word that Dixon will not return in the second half, according to Oregon's spokesman David Williford. He's done for the night and perhaps we'll find out about his availibility for next week after the game.

Continue reading "Halftime" »

It gets worse

TUCSON, Ariz. -- After another three-and-out by the Oregon offense, the Ducks punted the ball and the Wildcats' star corner and punt returner Antoine Cason returned the ball for a touchdown to put Arizona ahead 31-11.

Kiss the national title goodbye.

Adjustment time

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Just as Dixon strapped on his helmet, Tuitama hits Mike Thomas for a 46-yard touchdown on third and ten. Things can't be worse for the Ducks right now.

Continue reading "Adjustment time" »

Leaf goes in and...sputters

TUCSON, Ariz. -- After Dixon's injury, Brady Leaf started taking the snaps. He completed his first pass for four yards and the next pass that was caught was by Arizona's Antonie Cason, who returned it for a touchdown.

Continue reading "Leaf goes in and...sputters" »

Arizona reverses Oregon's fortune

TUSCON, Ariz. -- Quickly marching to the five-yard line, Dixon hit a wide-open Derrick Jones in the endzone, except Jones had the ball bounce of his chest and into the arms of safety Nate Ness, who ran it to the Oregon 45-yard line.

Continue reading "Arizona reverses Oregon's fortune" »

Dixon does it again

TUCSON, Ariz -- As if he wanted to make a Heisman statement early into the game, Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon faked a handoff to running back Jonathan Stewart on fourth and three, and ran 39 yards into the endzone.

Continue reading "Dixon does it again" »

Oregon looks to avoid the 'No. 2' curse

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Four teams have already been defeated as the No. 2 team in the nation. Cal, USC, South Florida and Boston College all suffered losses that will likely keep them out of the BCS picture.

Continue reading "Oregon looks to avoid the 'No. 2' curse" »

November 03, 2007

Ducks top ASU, could play for National Championship

EUGENE, Ore. -- Last week Matthew Harper talked about how Oregon's defense may bend, but won't break. You might be able to say that about the entire Oregon team right now.

Continue reading "Ducks top ASU, could play for National Championship" »

Field Rush

EUGENE, Ore. -- I think I counted 13 seconds after the PA guy said "please stay off the field until players have left" before hundreds of fans flooded the field. Now there's a bunch of them in the middle jumping up and down, waving their arms and doing some sort of dance. Last week The Duck did some crowd surfing, but I don't see that yet.

Final is Oregon 35, ASU 23. Mike Bellotti is hugging everyone. And the crowd is chanting "B-C-S!" For the first time in quite awhile, that just might be a reality for the Ducks.

Off to postgame, will report more soon.

Defense wins games ... and its about to win this one

EUGENE, Ore. -- My God, things could not go much worse for ASU. Carpenter threw a 35-yarder to Thompson, who made a great catch despite the fact that about six Oregon players were within a few inches of him. He spun, got tackled, and then fumbled. LC Willie Glasper picked it up for the Ducks and now it's Oregon's ball on their own 22. 2:51 to play. This one's pretty much over.

Carpenter has throw more than 350 yards this game and the Sun Devils are losing. However, he has been sacked seven times, if my calculations are correct. SEVEN TIMES.

ASU trims Ducks' lead

EUGENE, Ore. -- Carpenter hooks up with Jones for a 54-yard pass, putting the Sun Devils at the Oregon 11. Then Carpenter tosses an 11-yarder to TE Brent Miller and the PAT is good, so the Ducks' lead slims to 12. Oregon leads 35-23 with 5:17 to go. The 59,379 (third straight time the Ducks have set an Autzen and state of Oregon attendance record) people here just took a deep breath, telling themselves it's going to be OK.

First down Ducks at their own 16 after Stewart's 15-yard kickoff return.

Bad day for Carpenter

EUGENE, Ore. -- You can't start to think a game is over with Arizona State, because then Rudy Carpenter goes and throws a 32-yard pass to MaGaha to put the Sun Devils on the Oregon 15.

And right as I typed that, Carpenter threw an interception that Walter Thurmond III picked off and returned for 13 yards.

In not-so-good news for the Ducks, receiver Garren Strong has been diagnosed with a right shoulder injury and will be out the rest of the game. Because that's exactly what the Ducks need, another hurt receiver. They're going to have to start suiting up some random kids with the way the receiving corps is depleting.

In other games that matter to these teams, Florida State leads BC 7-0 at the end of the first quarter. Ooooooh.

Leaf in at backup

EUGENE, Ore. -- Dennis Dixon is going to take a little break on the sideline after getting tackled pretty hard on his 11-yard carry a second ago. Ducks were first and 10 on their own 30, Dixon faked and ran up the middle right, was holding his left knee as he got up. He ran off the field with minimal limping, though he's taking some time at the trainer's table right now.

From the replay it looks like Dixon tweaked his knee when he planted it, not on the tackle. He's up on the sideline walking around now. For the night -- in case he doesn't return -- Dixon was 13-22 passing with 189 yards and four TDs and carried for 11 times and 57 yards. Brady Leaf is in at backup. Leaf played quite a bit toward the end of last year but has only seen scrub minutes this season. I'm betting Dixon will stay out the rest of the game since the Ducks are leading 35-16 with 11:38 to go. This might be a good opportunity for Leaf to get some quality minutes against a decent defense just in case something should happen to Dixon in the future.

Nice use of a timeout

EUGENE, Ore. -- The Ducks called a 30-second timeout with :01 remaining in the third, and a few of us in the press box muttered "what a waste" under our breath.

What do we know?

Dixon faked another hand off, then stepped right a few times to throw a 19-yarder to Drew Davis, who made a diving catch. Oregon leads 35-16 as we head into the fourth. Stewart also had 20 yards on the ground in Oregon's scoring drive. That's a fourth of the yards in that scoring drive.

Carpenter sacked. Again.

EUGENE, Ore. -- Had to disappear for a bit to watch the end of the LSU/Alabama game. While I was gone, Carpenter got sacked again, this time by Boyd, who was probably trying to make up for that personal foul call. It was Carpenter's fifth time being sacked.

Oregon's got the ball, first and ten, on ASU's 30. Dixon just tossed a 9-yard completion, then Crenshaw picked up five yards. First and 10 at ASU's 35. 2:24 to go in the third, Ducks still lead 28-16.

LSU is going to win, which is a shame for whoever wins this game. Nice for the Tigers though, and the SEC.

Defense, defense, defense

EUGENE, Ore. -- I cannot say it enough, and neither can Mike Bellotti. His guys just stopped ASU at fourth and one on Oregon's 36. Ducks take over now. It's been awhile since we've seen something big from Dixon, be it a pass (though he's trying with Jaison Williams) or a nice fake and run. 4:53 to play in the third.

LSU and 'Bama are tied at 34 with 2:49 to go. In some ways, that game is becoming just as important as the one we have going on here.

But Stewart can run

EUGENE, Ore. -- Stewart slipped past a tackle, sprinted up the sideline, then tip-toed into the end zone. Ducks 28, ASU 16. Stewart with a 33-yard run, already doubling his rushing total.

Also, because it matters since LSU is No. 3 in BCS standings, Alabama currently leads the Tigers 34-27 with 4:49 to go in the fourth.

Williams ... can't catch that one

EUGENE, Ore. -- Remember in the movie "Little Giants" when the receiver can't catch the ball to save his life, so he puts sticky stuff on his hands and then makes a big catch that wins them the game? If anyone has any of that stuff on the Oregon sideline, give it to Jaison Williams. Dixon threw a beauty to him -- probably about 40 yards -- and Williams bobbled it before dropping it. Ducks punt, ASU takes over at their own 4.

And nothing worked out for the Sun Devils on that series, so now Weber's going to punt. He's practically under the FG post. Ducks first and 10 at ASU 42.

Weber scores this time

EUGENE, Ore. -- Sure, Weber can make a 50-yard FG when he's cold after halftime, but not a 34-yarder in the first half? Oooookay.

What am I saying? I couldn't kick a 13-yard FG.

Ducks lead 21-16, but it's been awhile since they scored. I'm thinking Jonathan Stewart knows this and is anxious to get the ball. 12:02 to play, ASU to kick off ... The Sun Devils have been great in the second half the last few weeks, and there's no reason to think this is going to be any different.


EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon's defense is going to have to play tough right here, after Dixon fumbled and ASU's Luis Vasquez finally hopped on it at the Oregon 49. The Ducks still lead 21-13 with 3:16 to go, but this is what the Sun Devils like to do. They enjoy the dramatic comeback. If ASU can score before the half's up, it's a whole new ballgame, momentum to ASU.

Sack time

EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon's Nick Reed must have spent this week working on sacking Carpenter, because the junior has already done it twice, the second time for a loss of 8. Long day for Carpenter, I'm guessing, and we're not even finished with the second quarter. ASU punts, and Aaron Pflugrad, a homegrown Duck, returns it for nine yards.

ASU likes FGs

EUGENE, Ore. -- Carpenter just threw his first incompletion of the afternoon at 8:28 to go in the second, which sounds impressive, but doesn't mean too much because Oregon has had the ball the majority of this game.

However, the Sun Devils were able to score with a 34-yard FG by Thomas Weber. They had to go for the FG because Walter Thurmond III (don't forget that last part) broke up Carpenter's pass. Between Thurmond, Harper and R Patrick Chung (who has about 17 tackles already) the Ducks defense is looking better and better as the game goes on. And they looked pretty good at the beginning.

Good to have a good line

EUGENE, Ore. -- The Sun Devils are within striking distance, first and 10 on the Oregon 18 and a big reason why is Herring, who delivered a nasty block to an Oregon defender, allowing Carpenter to scramble away for 12 yards. Carpenter then made a 12-yard pass, and here we are in a timeout while ASU decides how to best stick it to the Ducks.

ASU in double digits

EUGENE, Ore. -- Hurt thumb or not, Carpenter looked pretty good throwing a 26-yard TD pass to MIke Jones. Carpenter was off-balance, falling down and doesn't have a healthy hand. Impressive touchdown. PAT is good, so Ducks lead 21-10.

I was just talking with the guy next to me about how scary it is to think about what Oregon could be playing like if a few of its key starters weren't out with season-ending injuries. However, you have to wonder the same thing with ASU and Carpenter because that wouldn't have been an easy pass when you're completely healthy.

All Ducks

EUGENE, Ore. -- I feel like I should be writing something about ASU because it's been mostly about UO, but if you look at the scoreboard (Ducks 21, Sun Devils 3) you understand.

However, the Sun Devils have a first down and they're about to start this series on Oregon's 26 and Carpenter did have a nice 31-yard pass to TE Tyrice Thompson, so maybe they'll try that again. There was just a media timeout, though I don't think any of us in the press box requested it.


EUGENE, Ore. -- I think I might be typing that word a lot today. Or maybe I need to find another because we're only 24 seconds into the second quarter and Oregon is playing fantastic football.

Dixon to Williams (he's 3 for 5 on catches today) for a 27-yard TD pass and Oregon leads 21-3. The Duck, who does push-ups after every UO score to match the scoreboard, is going to be tired after this game. The Ducks look great -- and their back-ups (specifically WR-wise) have come up big the past few weeks. Garrett Strong had a 14-yard reception on that scoring drive, perfect timing for a kid who wasn't going to get any playing time originally.

Maybe it's Carpenter's thumb

EUGENE, Ore. -- Hmm, well, I'm going to guess that quite a few four-letter words are coming out of Dennis Erickson's mouth right now. On third and four on ASU's 40, Carpenter bobbled the snap (maybe it hit his thumb?), then got sacked for a loss of 9 by Oregon's Nick Reed. ASU punts, Ducks' ball on the 25 after a 10-yard penalty. Dixon is already 5-7 for 101 yards and two touchdowns and we have 53 seconds to go in the first quarter. Who's got a Heisman ballot near them?

Ducks score again

EUGENE, Ore. -- I'm going to need to type faster.

The Ducks just scored again, this time on a pass to Stewart, who ran about 10 yards into the end zone. Ducks lead, 14-3. Two plays before that, Dixon faked a back-handed pass to Stewart, then ran for five yards. I don't think I'd ever want defend Dixon -- it is so hard to tell if he has the ball or has passed it, and we all have a pretty good view up here.

PA guy just announced to the crowd that Navy beat Notre Dame 44-42 in three overtimes, which caused an eruption of cheers, adding more proof that everyone hates Notre Dame.

ASU on board

EUGENE, Ore. -- Nick Aliotti, the Ducks' defensive coordinator, is in his 17th year at UO. And he's finally starting to earn his money.

The Ducks' D has looked surprisingly good all season, maybe none more so right there, when the Ducks held ASU from scoring a TD hree times, forcing them to settle for a 19-yard FG. Ducks lead 7-3.

Is this shaping up to be the high-scoring game so many of us anticipated for both the Oregon/Cal and Oregon/USC matchups, neither of which happened?

That was fast

EUGENE, Ore. -- Jaison Williams must be reading the blog at his super-cool locker in the Ducks' locker room. Remember how I said he needed to CATCH the football this week? Well he did just that, to the tune of a 43-yard pass from Dixon.

Oh, and then he caught a 26-yard pass one two plays later to give the Ducks their first score a whopping 1:13 minutes into the game. Wow.

TV time

EUGENE, Ore. -- You know, usually I don't think many people read this blog because in this day and age, if you like a team and they're decent, they're probably on TV. Well, this week, approximately 17 people were originally scheduled to see this game and that was only if they had Oregon Sports Network.

Then ESPN and College Gameday stepped in and now everyone is going to be able to see the game. But you can only watch on ESPN if you DON'T live in Oregon or Arizona. If you live in one of those states, you have to watch the game on a lesser channel with not as high quality and not as cool announcers. This means I will need to step my game up, blog-wise. I'll try to channel UO's Harper's spirit, since he stepped up big last week.

Ducks are coming on the field as we speak, wearing a hideous combo of yellow pants and black jerseys. And they're being led by The Duck, who road a motorcycle onto the field. Some turf maker somewhere isn't going to think that's a good idea.

Also everyone is chanting "over-rated!" to ASU as they take the field.

Pregame in Eugene

EUGENE, Ore. -- Supposedly, traffic is backed up on the interstate about 25 miles outside of Eugene. That might explain why the parking lot and stadium still isn't very full for what is easily the biggest game of the week in college football.

Continue reading "Pregame in Eugene" »

October 27, 2007

Harper finishes it for Ducks

EUGENE, Ore. -- And now it's over. Thank Oregon's Harper, who just grabbed his second pick of the game. Ducks are going to win this one, 24-17. Kid is having the game of his life.

Penalties hurting Trojans

EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon just punted, which you might think is bad because now USC gets the ball back with 2:58 to go, but then the Trojans go and get a 15-yard penalty, pushing the ball back to their own 17. I tell ya, penalties are going to be a big difference come the end of this game. If USC loses, I mean. If they win I guess we'll once again blame the Oregon defense for being soft, as is customary if you cover the Pac-10.

Fourth and one on the 26 with 1:34 to go ... McKnight gets a little more than one yard, giving the Trojans a first down.

It's not over yet, folks!

USC not going away

EUGENE, Ore. -- Hmm, well, perhaps this game isn't over yet.

Sanchez has just completed two long passes, the second of which went to Turner, his favorite target and the Trojans have first and 10 on Oregon's 14. 4:44 to go (that's a lot of 4's in a row).

And 19 yards on the touchdown pass to David Ausberry. And USC reminds us why they've been so dominant for so long -- scoring drive was five plays for 85 yards in just 48 SECONDS. PAT was good, so we're Oregon 24, USC 17. Still 4:44 to go.

I'm not rooting for Oregon, but I really hope this doesn't end the way Cal did, with Oregon looking like it was in control before, well, losing control.

PA is everywhere ...

EUGENE, Ore. -- Seems that the press box announcer's voice is EVERYWHERE. I just walked into the bathroom and let me tell you, it's slightly terrifying to be sitting in the stall and then hear, "Stewart! For a 12 yard gain!" boom over you.

First and ten for USC their own 20. Sanchez is taking an awfully long time to talk to his teammates ("OK, um, I'm not having the greatest day but we need to score," is what I'm guessing is being said in the huddle while the Duck defenders jump up and down, imploring the crowd to make more noise.

Sanchez incomplete on his first try, completes a 7-yard pass while avoiding being sacked. Third and three, 7:33 to go. Ho-hum.

Ducks score again

EUGENE, Ore -- As you've probably heard by now, Dixon spent his offseason throwing baseballs instead of footballs. This made a lot of Ducks fans (and Mike Bellotti) mad. But everyone now is saying that it's paid off because he's playing so well.

Well I think Dixon's time on the baseball diamond also helped him get sneakier, because he is so good at making defenders think he's handed the ball off. Dixon kept the ball for an 8 yard gain, then a 2 yard gain and then he gave the ball to Stewart to finish the series in the end zone. Ducks 24, USC 10. 11:39 to go.

Watching USC lose is ... weird.

Whoops again for USC

EUGENE, Ore. -- If I were Pete Carroll, I think I'd put Booty in about now.

Sanchez was just intercepted on second and one by Matt Harper on the Oregon 15 yard line. Harper returned it 27 yards to the 42 and we're already at second and 14 on the 39. Good thing there's only one minute to go in the third. Carroll probably wants to have a chat with everyone about, you know, staying calm, making tackles, not staring at your receiver before you attempt a pass.

On the USC sideline, clipboard coach looks defeated. I can't see tears from here, but he wasn't as fired up as before, instead looking just beyond devastated.

Stewart ends the third quarter with a 15-yard run, giving the Ducks a first down to start the fourth.

Bad place to fumble

EUGENE, Ore. -- Well somebody go high-five Will Tukuafu. He just stripped the Trojans of the ball, forcing a fumble and recovering, so now the Ducks are first and ten on the USC 16. My, that's a good place to be if you want to score. Clipboard coach is going crazy. Pete Carroll also looks pretty ticked.

And Jonathan Stewart scores again. I swear, this is happening right as I type it. Stewart got into the end zone on a 16-yard run. Evensen was good with the PAT, so it's 17-10 Oregon. And now Stewart just became the 13th Duck of all time to rush more than 1,000 yards. Someone high-five him, too.

5:17 to go in the third.

Tied up

EUGENE, Ore. -- Answer: yes. It took three plays and a nice long delay because of a review, but Sanchez connected with Patrick Turner on a 9-yard TD pass. PAT was good and we've got a tie game at 10 all.

Oooooh, I smell trouble. A USC flag-waving guy (I'm not sure of his official title if it's not "male cheerleader") just ran over and waved the flag in front of the UO student section. That's not going to go over well with anyone dressed in green and yellow.

And ... we've got an attendance record, both for Autzen Stadium and the state of the Oregon. And ... the ... winning ... number ... is ... 59,277. That's a lot of people.

10:53 to go in the third.

Still Sanchez at QB

EUGENE, Ore. -- It's a media timeout, so I feel like I should do some work.

Thought we might see John David Booty to start the second, but ti's still Sanchez. He hooked up with a receiver a bit ago for a nice gain, so now it's fourth and five on the Oregon 32.

And Patrick Turner just made a nice snag on the 11 yard line, a gain of 21. First and ten on the Oregon 11 now. USC gonna score?


EUGENE, Ore. -- It's halftime and the Oregon marching band just did a tribute to 007, James Bond. Aren't you sad you missed that?

Quick stats: USC ran 32 plays for 111 total yards, Oregon 42 plays for 224 yards. Dixon leads Duck rushers with 50 yards, Stewart comes in second with 39. Dixon also passed for 133 yards, completing 13-19. Dixon's USC counterpart went 8-13 for 56 passing yards, and running back Chauncey Washington leads the Trojans with 27 yards. The good news for USC is that they have 27 total tackles to Oregon's 14.

Most telling stat might be this: USC has 3 penalties for 40 lost yards. Oregon has no penalties.

Ducks just came back on the field with 3:43 to go in halftime. No sign so far of the Trojans. I wouldn't be surprised if the assistant coach with the clipboard is flipping out in the locker room right now.

Ducks settle for FG, lead 10-3

EUGENE, Ore. -- Well I can tell you that Dennis Dixon was definitely mad about having to settle for a field goal right there. Ducks had it first and 10 on the USC 39 with a minute to go, hooked up with Stewart for a 15-yard pass and then went three plays on the USC 24 trying to score. Dixon threw three times to Williams, though two of the times it didn't really look like he was throwing to anyone. The press box announcer said differently though, and he seems like a trustworthy guy.

Matt Evensen's 41-yard FG was good with 15 seconds left, so Ducks lead 10-3. And that's the first half, ladies and gentlemen. I'll let you know about stats in a bit.

USC's defense stops Ducks

EUGENE, Ore. -- Seems the USC defense had a little chat about Jonathan Stewart and NOT letting him score again for the Ducks. Rey Maualuga and Anthony McCoy stopped him on fourth and one, and the Trojans take over at their own 13. Impressive D by the Trojans, who are proving Mike Bellotti right so far. Washington talked last week about how it's hard to simulate Oregon's offense in practice. I'm just guessing, but I bet it's hard to simulate USC's defense, too.

USC on board

EUGENE, Ore. -- You know, I've always wondered how frustrated coaches get when they have to settle for a field goal. Perhaps we can ask Pete Carroll afterward.

Trojans were on Oregon's 9-yard line but Kevin Garrett put a stop to that, wrapping up McKnight for a loss of 4. Next play Sanchez saw about four defenders coming to sack him and tried to run away and make something happen, but instead he pretty much threw the ball to no one. Trojans go for the FG, now are on the board as Oregon leads 7-3.

Ah, the penalty flag

EUGENE, Ore. -- Poor USC. Just when Joe McKnight breaks out for a 65-yard run up the sideline for a score, the touchdown gets called back because the offensive line was called for holding. Then Sanchez was sacked for a loss of six on the next play. Rough times for the Trojans.

Start of the second, Ducks still lead 6-0, USC's ball on their own 23.

Ducks score

EUGENE, Ore. -- There's been a lot of talk so far this season about Dixon's ability to fake handoffs. If you watch closely on TV you understand how he sells it so perfectly before taking off. He just did that again, running two yards to give Oregon its first score, 6-0. To get to the end zone Stewart broke out for a 15-yard run to put the ball on the USC 11. One thing is for sure -- if Dixon can continue to sell the fake, he is going to give a lot of defenses headaches.

PAT was good, so we're 7-0 with 2:50 to go in the first.

Back and forth

EUGENE, Ore. -- A few weeks ago when I was here for the Cal game it seemed like each team spent A LOT of time on offense; there wasn't so much back and forth. This game is already a different story.

USC didn't score on the fumble recovery and just now Oregon had to punt after pushing the ball downfield in whatt looked like a promising sets of series. Now it's Trojan ball on their own 25.

It is REALLY loud in here. The crowd is doing everything it can to disrupt the USC offense, and they erupt into cheers whenever the D makes a good play. This means up in the press box -- where it's open air -- we have to yell to hear each other. There's a guy on the Oregon sideline that doesn't seem to have a job besides running out a few feet every time the defense makes a stop and swing a towel around his head, whooping. And on the USC sideline, I swear I saw an assistant coach threaten to hit an O-lineman with his clipboard. But I'm really far away, so what do I know.

Sanchez fir few passes have been incomplete and now the Trojans will punt. Again. 7:41 to go.

Not a great start for the Ducks

EUGENE, Ore. -- Uh, this isn't a good sign.

The Ducks just fumbled on the kickoff return. And it was an Oregon player whose helmet caused the fumble according to the press box announcer. Sanchez's first pass from Oregon's 21 was incomplete, but this isn't the best way for the Ducks to start the game.

Good for USC though.

Top Ten Match-up in Eugene

EUGENE, Ore. -- The press box is packed, parking is a nightmare and we've got our first-ever match-up of top ten teams in Autzen Stadium.

Continue reading "Top Ten Match-up in Eugene" »

October 20, 2007

Ducks streamroll Huskies in 55-34 win

SEATTLE -- Oregon piled up 465 yards on the ground and 661 total yards in a see-saw battle with Washington.

Jonathan Stewart ran for a career-high 251 yards on 32 carries and scored twice. He came in averaging between 16 and 17 carries per game and nearly doubled that output against the Huskies.

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Ducks' reponse? We're better at scoring than you are.

SEATTLE -- Oregon scores yet again, this time in nine plays for 62 yards. Stewart's over 200 yards now and Crenshaw is getting a good deal of the carries too.

At this point, I don't know which defense is worse. The Huskies will always give up chunks of yards while the Ducks' will have a few good stops and then surrender a long touchdown. What's worse?

Washington responds again

SEATTLE -- Will the scoring never end? After Oregon moved 94 yards down the field to take the lead, Washington responded with "Oh yeah? Have some more of this!" as Locker and Reece hooked up again, this time for a 38-yard touchdown.

Continue reading "Washington responds again" »

Oregon takes its time to score

SEATTLE -- After cornerback Jairus Byrd picked off a Locker pass at the six-yard line, Oregon drove 94 yards on 15 plays to score a touchdown on a pitch to running back Andre Crenshaw.

Continue reading "Oregon takes its time to score" »

Huskies tie it

SEATTLE -- That didn't take long. Three minutes into the third quarter, Washington catches Oregon in a blitz with a screen pass to running back Louis Ranking for a 43-yard touchdown to tie at 24.

Continue reading "Huskies tie it" »

Halftime update

SEATTLE -- Locker led a field-goal drive and left Oregon with a less than a minute to go before the end of the half.

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Yep, it's a Pac-10 game

SEATTLE -- The Ducks responded to the Huskies score by driving 90 yards on six plays in little over a minute.

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Okay, I understand the hype

SEATTLE -- Locker just escaped a 10-yard sack from Oregon safety Patrick Chung, possibly the Ducks' best defender, and turned it into a nine-yard gain while eluding multiple Oregon defenders.

Continue reading "Okay, I understand the hype" »

Washington holds the line

SEATTLE -- After scoring a field goal to make it 17-7, the Ducks held the Huskies to a three-and-out and safety Patrick Chung blocked the ensuing punt.

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Oregon on the board again and this time Washington responds

SEATTLE -- Again, the Ducks used precise passing and Stewart's hard running to score their second touchdown. But on the next play from scrimmage, Washington scored on an 83-yard pass from Jake Locker to Anthony Russo.

Continue reading "Oregon on the board again and this time Washington responds" »

Oregon runs unopposed for touchdown

SEATTLE -- The Ducks take their first drive and go 61 yards on nine plays.

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Ducks wear white and hope to move up in BCS

SEATTLE - It's been 10 years since Oregon won in Husky Stadium.

While that sounds bad, part of the reason is because the Ducks haven't played here since 2003 - the years when Washington has been a Pac-10 doormat - and have won three straight against the Huskies, eclipsing them by at least 20 points each time.

Continue reading "Ducks wear white and hope to move up in BCS" »

September 29, 2007

Cal gets first win in 20 years

EUGENE, Ore. -- The Bears hadn't won at Autzen since 1987. And now that's a thing of the past.

Continue reading "Cal gets first win in 20 years" »

Dixon's streak over

EUGENE, Ore. -- Dixon just threw his first INT of the season. Not a great time to turn the ball over. Oregon fans look beyond dejected. For crying out loud, these people should come up to Corvallis for awhile. There, interceptions area regular thing. Fans get used to it.

However, I'm thinking Cal is about to score on this play and if Oregon loses this game it's possible that people will say it was the turnover that lost it for the Ducks. But we've still got 3:11 to play, so every should just calm down. 31-24 Cal.

Longshore down

EUGENE, Ore. -- Longshore got smacked pretty hard on that last play and is now taking some time to enjoy the Autzen turf. Longshore's a tough kid -- I think he'll get up and be OK in a few minutes. In the meantime, the Oregon video board is screaming for fans to get "LOUDER!" You know, because it's nice to cheer when the other team is hurt.

Longshore's up, but off to the sidelines. Here comes Kevin Riley, the back up QB. All I can tell you is that he's a 6'3 redshirt freshman. And I'm sure the Oregon defense is having a field day talking trash to the kid. (You know, I have a good friend who played linebacker in the Pac-10 for a few years, and he said they actually don't talk trash that much. What is that? If I were in the Pac-10 I would talk trash all day long. Especially if my name were DeSean Jackson.)

The Dixon-Dixon connection

EUGENE, Ore. -- Turns out there's another guy on the Oregon roster named Dixon. Ed Dixon, in fact. And he just got the Ducks within one yard of the endzone on a nice little catch. Before that, Denis Dixon (I vote we call him "D-Squared" in tribute to my math nerdiness) dropped back to pass, waited awhile, waited a little more -- I'm sure this whole time he was hoping someone would get open -- and then scampered around for a 10 yard gain. I don't think we're giving his offensive line enough credit. They are pretty good if he has that much time to decide what he's going to do.

Oh yeah, the Ducks scored again. 24 all, 7:06 to go.

Cal score again

EUGENE, Ore. -- This is more like it.

Longshore to Jackson for a 31-yard touchdown. PAT was good, too. Cal leads 24-17. Now, let's think about this. At halftime it was 10-3. In 18 minutes the Bears have scored 21 points. Much more impressive.

And now the Ducks just had a nightmare happen: Cal kicked off and the Oregon plays ran into each other. Yeah, I know -- into EACH OTHER. Cal recovered the fumble and it's already 2nd & 10 at the 26. Eek. This game could get out of hand quickly.

Record attendence

EUGENE, Ore. -- The press box PA guy -- who happens to double as the men's basketball sports info director -- just announced that today's attendence is 59,273, which is an Autzen and state of Oregon record. That means they beat -- by almost 1,000 -- the record that was set last year against Oklahoma. (See: Really Bad Officiating Calls for more on that game.)

Cal's ball, third and 7, 12:58 to go. Bears take a timeout to talk things over. If I were them, I would suggest getting the ball to Jackson again. But I'm sure they've already thought about and discussed that.

17 All

EUGENE, Ore. -- Forsett went a whole yard for that score. And the PAT is good. Tie game again.

By the way, that pass to Jackson was a 31-yarder, not 25. My bad.

Bears within striking distance

EUGENE, Ore. -- Cal is about a foot short of a touchdown. But we'll be back after this break for some commercials that probably aren't funny. Then we start the fourth quarter, and I'm betting the Bears are going to score. Longshore found Jackson again for a gain of about 25, setting up the Bears' soon-to-be scoring drive.

After 30 minutes of trying to find cool things around the stadium to look at, this game is finally getting some excitement. Alright, this is what me and 54,000 other people were hoping for.

And now the play right before the quarter is under review. I thought it looked like Cal got into the endzone, but what do I know. This is why the officials are paid a lot of money, to make tough calls. That and because they have to wear those funny-looking hats, which are flattering on no one.

Anything Longshore can do ...

Dixon can do better. The Oregon QB just hooked up with Colvin for a 42-yard TD. I'm sure this makes Oregon fans a little happier with Colvin. Now we've got some offense! It's 17-10, Oregon. The Ducks did their scoring pretty quickly, too, using just over two minutes to take the lead back. 2:39 to go in the third.

High-Five the Bear!

EUGENE, Ore. -- Hey, Jackson finally got involved. Scored on a 25-yard pass from Nate Longshore. Then he high-fived the Cal Bear, who is looking really geeky dressed in a yellow sweater. And the extra point is ... good! Now it's tied 10-10. 4:44 to go in the third.

You know, while this hasn't be an on-the-edge-of-my-seat game, I'm betting D-coordinator Nick Alioti is feeling good about his coaching this week in practice. I mean, yeah, Jackson did just score, but the Oregon defense hasn't looked this good in a long time. There was a point last weekend when the Ducks were losing to Stanford. Stanford! Do you know how bad Stanford is? (Answer: Worse than Michigan.)

Some quick stats

EUGENE, Ore. -- I guess it would be easy to say that Jackson has been a non-factor for Cal because he only has 42 total yards, but it's not like anyone is really standing out on the stat sheet. Longshore is 13-21 with no INTs and Mohamed has six tackles for Cal. Ho-hum. The most telling stat is easily rushing yardage: Oregon has 123, Cal 31. Cal has a total of 119 yards, Oregon 186. Dixon was 11-17. Thurmond and Boyd have six and five tackles, respectively, for the Ducks. Stewart has 82 rushing yards, five of which he went for in the Ducks' score. That's pretty much it.


EUGENE, Ore. -- It's halftime. It's still 10-3. We'll have stats coming soon. Until then, it's time for some hot chocolate.

Ducks in the endzone

EUGENE, Ore. -- You had to know this was coming: Stewart barrelled his way through the Cal defense for an Oregon score and the Ducks now lead 10-3. Here we go, baby! I can feel the 40 points coming on.

Now it's tied

EUGENE, Ore. -- This is, uh, not exactly the most exciting game. Cal kicked a FG. Now it's tied 3-3. Whoooooo. 6:20 to go. It's not that this is a bad game, it's just not breathtaking. So far. Maybe now me saying that will turn things around. Because I'm sure the Oregon and Cal players are reading this while they're on the sideline. Maybe they'll read it at halftime though. I'm sure you've heard Oregon locker room is really sweet. I bet they have Wi-Fi in there.

Oregon on scoreboard

EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon got on the board with a 32-yard FG by Matt Evensen. Now the Ducks lead 3-0.

I predicted that with all the explosive offensive talent on the field the score would be 46-41 Cal. And yet again, it looks like I will be wrong.

Duck-Bear Throw-down?

EUGENE, Ore. -- Even if the game turns out to be a blowout, we in the press box are looking forward to a potential mascot throw-down.

As I'm sure all college football junkies know by now, the Duck was suspended after Oregon's opener against Houston when he engaged in an all-out brawl with the Houston mascot. (I think the Duck won.) This is Ducky's first game back and he's promised to be tame, but all bets are off against the Bear. My money's on the Duck, personally.

It occurs to me that I wrote about Follett because I completely forgot that he was out this week. This is Follett's second straight missed game, after what Tedford will only describe as a "neck stinger."

It's 15 minutes to kickoff and the band is playing Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" for the cheerleaders. I am not even making this up.

College GameDay in Eugene

EUGENE, Ore. -- Who knew college students were willing to be up before 10 a.m.?

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