Tape It Up: Oregon: The Worst Is Yet To Come

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Oregon: The Worst Is Yet To Come

Oregon's worst fears have become reality. Former Heisman hopeful and star quarterback Dennis Dixon will have surgery on the left knee that buckled under him during Thursday night's loss to Arizona. Dixon can now kiss the Heisman goodbye, and Oregon has hopefully already said its farewell to the team's national championship hopes. But with Dixon out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL and its accompanying surgery, things in Eugene have gone from bright to bleak.

Dixon officially tore his ACL two weeks ago, during the team's Nov. 3 win over Arizona State, but after two weeks of rest, Dixon felt he was ready to play on Thursday night. That decision cost him the rest of the season and, perhaps, a shot at the coveted hardware.

For the season, Dixon completed 67.7 percent of his passes for 2,136 yards with 20 touchdowns and four interceptions, but he was just as deadly on his feet, rushing for 741 yards and nine TDs. Although running back Jonathan Stewart is just as much a part of the Ducks' fifth-ranked total offense, it's no secret that Dixon was the face of the offense and Stewart cannot do it alone (as demonstrated in the latter three quarters of the team's loss to Arizona). He's going to have to take a stab at it, though, if backup Brady Leaf cannot do better than 22-of-46 passing for 163 yards with two interceptions.

With games against UCLA and Oregon State still on the schedule for the Ducks, that coveted trip to the Rose Bowl is no longer the lock that it was two days ago. Leaf is going to have to play far better than he performed against Arizona if he plans to pick up this Ducks squad and squeeze out a few more victories before the month break between regular season and bowl season. Dixon will do all he can to be a leader from the sideline, but it's the players between the lines that need to produce to keep Oregon's magical season from sinking into oblivion.

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