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Oregon Daily emerald
Game Day Friday, november 20, 2009
From tackles to TDs PAGE 7B
ivar vong | ph oto ed i to r
‘Red Out,’ ESPN GameDay
Ducks’ fast start, win against
Quarterback Nick Foles has
among many distractions for
ASU put aside any concerns
been a revelation for Arizona,
Oregon, but Ducks say they
about a hangover from loss
boosting the Wildcats to
are as focused as they have
second in the Pac-10 in
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2b Oregon Daily Emerald Friday, November 29, 2009
Ducks ready to put 2007 desert drama behind them Oregon had national title hopes dashed when Dennis Dixon went down with a knee injury BEN SCHORZMAN SPORTS EDITOR
The 2007 season was one of both a lot of joy and a lot of pain for Oregon fans. There was senior quarterback Dennis Dixon leading the Ducks to wins over Michigan, USC and Arizona State and a No. 2 ranking. Then there was Dixon’s knee injury and three straight losses to finish the season, starting
with the 34-24 loss to Arizona in which Dixon went down. “I was there,” center Jordan Holmes said. “I only played a few snaps. It was rough, especially after Dennis (Dixon) went down. It was tough to see us kind of fall apart like we did. (Arizona) was good that year. It is always tough when you see someone go down like that.” The knee injury effectively ended Dixon’s Heisman run and Oregon’s chances at the Pacific-10 Conference championship and a national title. But that was two years ago and both teams are full of new faces. Arizona (6-3 overall, 4-2 Pac-10) has a new quarterback in Nick Foles and the Ducks (8-2, 6-1) are led by junior quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and redshirt freshman LaMichael James. “(2007 is) of no consequence to us,” head coach Chip Kelly said. “We’re such a young team that a lot of our guys were in high school when that happened…we don’t look in the review mirror.” But like in 2007, this year’s game has a lot riding on it. Win, and the Ducks are one win away from a Pac-10 Championship and the Rose Bowl. Lose, and Oregon becomes one of four teams with two losses in conference and the entire situation becomes muddled. “We see what’s at stake but we know we can’t be looking ahead,” linebacker Casey Matthews said.
The Zona Zoo — Arizona’s student cheering section — will be in full force for the night game in Tucson. ESPN’s College GameDay will also be on hand to witness the battle as well. All in all, it’s a game that Oregon needs to win. “It’s going to be loud,” Matthews said. “Fans were rowdy two years ago and with GameDay the fans will be this year too. It’s great exposure for this program and the Pac-10.” The Wildcats too, are playing for something. With a little help, they might be able to sneak into the Rose Bowl, but at the very least it would be the best finish for the Wildcats in conference in a very long time. “I’ve always thought of Arizona as one of the real tough places and teams to play since I’ve been here,” Kelly said. The key to avoiding the upset for Oregon will be how fast of a start the team jumps out to. Last year, the Ducks were up 45-17 at halftime, but thanks to 28 second half points, the Wildcats brought the score to 48-45 before Oregon was able to seal the win with a touchdown run by running back LeGarrette Blount “It’s very important,” Holmes said. “That’s pretty much the key to our entire offense. Running as many plays as we can.” “We look to do that early,” Masoli said. “Strike early and get on top so our defense has a little bit of room to play with and keep running the whole game as opposed to last year when we kind of fell off in the second half.”
Game day forecast Partly sunny, high of 77 degrees. 0 percent chance of rain
At a glance Who: No. 11 Oregon at Arizona What: Pacific-10 Conference game When: 5 p.m. ABC Where: Arizona Stadium, Tucson, Ariz. The No. 11 Oregon Ducks look to get one step closer to a potential Rose Bowl bid with a win Saturday night in Arizona. The Ducks control their own fate — win out and they are the Pac-10 champs — but if they get tripped up, it’s anyone’s game.
M i c h a e l I g n atov | Ar izona dai ly w i ldcat
Arizona head coach Mike Stoops has the Wildcats positioned to upset the Oregon Ducks this weekend in Tucson, Ariz.
One thing is for sure; the Ducks are about as focused as they’ve ever been for a game. They know what it would
mean for them to get tripped up for a second straight time at Arizona Stadium. “We’re just focused at the
task at hand,” Holmes said. We have a football game to win. We’re not thinking about GameDay or anything like that.” “They say (the conference) is up for grabs, but we know we’re in control of our own destiny,” Matthews said. b sc hor zm an @dai ly e m e r a ld.co m
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When the No. 11 Oregon Duck football team jumped out to an early 31-7 lead against visiting Arizona State last weekend at Autzen Stadium, it looked as though it had all but forgotten about their dramatic upset in Palo Alto, Calif., the week prior. The Ducks came out firing with a five-play, 59-yard drive that took just 57 seconds and resulted in a LaMichael James four-yard touchdown scamper. Before the conclusion of the first half, James had tallied 119 yards and three touchdowns and it was clear that Oregon was refocused and ready for the final push to the postseason. “We know we have to clean up our game,” junior linebacker Casey Matthews said. “We now what we have to do.”
But first-year head coach Chip Kelly has continued with his message of taking things one day at a time and has not let any of his players overlook the game at hand — especially with a team like Arizona. “Arizona’s been good every year since I’ve been here,” Kelly said. “We lost to them two years ago down there, and then beat them in a shootout up here. So I’ve always thought Arizona was a real, real tough team to play since I’ve been here.” Last season the Ducks jumped out to a similar lead to that of the ASU game last weekend, in which Oregon led 48-17 going into halftime before giving up 28 straight points to the Wildcats after intermission. But with 3:38 left to play, Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount sealed the 5545 Duck victory with a 40-yard
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Javes Lewis leads the Ducks with 66 tackles on the year, including 4.5 tackles for loss with two sacks and two interceptions. Fellow first-year starter freshman John Boyett ranks second on the team with 62 tackles — tied with Matthews — and has managed to stay in the rotation despite the return of Ward to the lineup. In the five games that he’s played in 2009, Ward has recorded 46 tackles (9.2 per game) and also pulled down the game-ending interception against USC’s Matt Barkley on Halloween night. “When our numbers get called, you have to be ready to play,” Ward said. “If your name is called, you have to be ready to go in and make some plays.” Junior cornerback Talmadge Jackson III has had done just that this year as he ranks fifth in the Pac-10 in interceptions with three — including a 32yard interception return for a
touchdown against UCLA — to lead the Ducks, and has also recorded 38 tackles on the year. “Talmadge has stepped up,” Ward continued. “Talmadge is a veteran. He played as a true freshman. He’s a veteran and it’s expected, but he’s a good player.” And while the Ducks still sit atop the Pac-10 standings and control their own destiny for the postseason, Kelly is still adamant about winning each day, saying, “All that matters to us is Arizona.” Kelly hasn’t ever addressed the Rose Bowl potential directly, but he understands how delicate the process can be to reach the top. “If you want to get to the top of the mountain, you better concentrate on your next step,” Kelly said. “Or you’re going to fall off that mountain.” lc l ark@dai lye m e r a ld.co m
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LUCAS CLARK SPORTS REPORTER
touchdown run to counter Arizona’s Keola Antolin’s threetouchdown performance in the fourth quarter. Blount was officially reinstated and in uniform against the Sun Devils last weekend, though Kelly decided not to play him. “How do I justify to another player that this kid just came back, but he’s going to play over you,” Kelly said. “Every week is a competition at every position that we play.” That competition has led to some inspiring play from the Ducks this season as they’ve established themselves as a particularly resilient group. In the absence of senior cornerbacks Walter Thurmond III and Willie Glasper — as well as senior T.J. Ward for almost half the season — the Ducks young secondary sits atop the Pac-10 standings allowing just 181.3 yards per game through the air. Sophomore defensive back
Friday, November 29, 2009 Oregon Daily Emerald 3b
Wildcats using last year’s game as motivation, lesson Leading rusher Nic Grigsby returns for Arizona on Saturday LUCAS CLARK SPORTS REPORTER
When the Arizona Wildcats (6-3, 4-2 Pacific-10 Conference) visited Autzen Stadium last year they found themselves down two scores just over a minute into the first quarter. And after struggling their way to a 48-17 deficit at halftime, the Wildcats were able to bounce back with 28 straight points before ultimately coming up short as the Ducks sealed the 55-45 victory. Arizona head coach Mike Stoops said this week that there is a lot his team can take away from last year’s second half performance heading into Saturday’s showdown with Oregon
at Arizona Stadium, but slowing the Ducks offense is still far from easy. “I think when you look at Oregon play, their athleticism and their skill really jumps out at you,” Stoops said. “Their speed, they’re very good. So defensively, our discipline is going to be tested across the board.” The Wildcats’ defense enters the game with the secondranked defense in the Pac-10, allowing just 305.1 yard per game. Senior linebackers Xavier Kelley and Vuna Tuihalamaka have led the way for Arizona this year with 55 and 52 tackles, respectively. Sophomore cornerback Trevin Wade has also provided some stability in the secondary with 46 tackles, four interceptions and eight broken up passes.
“They play hard,” Oregon center Jordan Holmes said. “And that’s the bottom line.” And most encouraging for the Wildcats defense is the success they had against Oregon State running back Jacquizz Rodgers, who possess a very similar threat to that of Oregon’s LaMichael James. Arizona held Rodgers to 85 yards on 16 carries in a 37-32 victory for UA in Corvallis earlier this year. “They run the ball so well,” Stoops said of the Ducks. “And they’re so systematic in the way that they do it that people haven’t had much success blitzing them either.” But come Saturday, Arizona’s best defense will be a good offense. Sophomore quarterback Nick Foles has done an impressive job in the
absence of the graduated Willie Tuitama, as he’s completed 175 of 251 passes for 1,736 yards and 13 touchdowns in eight games. But the Wildcats’ offensive line struggled against Cal’s defensive front last week in Berkeley, Calif., as it gave up three sacks in the game. Foles completed 25 passes for 201 yards with one touchdown and an interception in a losing effort as the Golden Bears knocked then-No. 18 Arizona out of the top 25. Junior running back Nic Grigsby, the Wildcats’ leading rusher with 535 yards and five scores, did not see much action last week due to a shoulder injury, which resulted in another opportunity for sophomore Keola Antolin to step up and carry the load. Antolin carried
the ball 19 times for 78 yards and a touchdown, bringing his season totals to 394 yards and three scores, though he did cough up a costly fumble that resulted in a field goal for Cal. Fortunately for Arizona, it returns home where it is 5-0 in 2009 and will play host to ESPN’s College GameDay in what will be another exciting weekend in Tucson. The game has already been billed as a “Red Out,” and will undoubtedly be another hostile environment for first-year
Ducks: Run it up on ’zona games — Arizona, UCLA and Oregon State — in between. Suffice it to say, things didn’t work out that way. Anyway, offensive coordinator Chip Kelly had the offense going for the most part — couple mistakes here and there — and Arizona looked inspired but unimpressive. At some point, Dennis Dixon tried to make a cut on a knee that had a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament. Only Dixon, his father and maybe a suspicious member of the training staff had any idea. The Oregon coaches later said they did not know, and Dixon later said that, in some capacity, he didn’t
want to let his team down by not playing. Dixon crumpled to the turf. His season was over. Oregon’s season would be before too long. Brady Leaf came into the game. That’s all I care to say, because my mother occasionally reads my columns and I have to be civil and logical in my criticisms of others. (You know, professionalism.) I refuse to do so right now. I wanted to black out. I wanted to wake up. I wanted to lie down on the floor and not look
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sat through good Oregon games and bad Oregon games as a student, reporter and fan. That Arizona game made me physically ill. As I recall, Oregon was doing OK. Not great, but passable. Arizona Still on was unranked, His feet out of the bowl picture, and out of mind for most of the Pacific-10 Conference. The Ducks were, uh, ranked No. 2 in the nation and on their way to a possible national title with three winnable
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In my opinion | robert husseman
Listen to me, Oregon football players — I have a message for you: Don’t listen to me. You go out, take this week one game at a time, and win the day. I’ll watch at home on television and enjoy myself. If you win, oh, how I will enjoy myself. You see, two years ago I was at a friend’s house to watch the Ducks, ranked No. 2 in the nation at the time. We had a nice party, with about two dozen people over and plenty of food to stuff ourselves with. I could look up the details of what exactly happened during the game for reference, but I don’t care. All I know is, I have
head coach Chip Kelly and his young Oregon squad. “It’s going to be loud,” Oregon linebacker Casey Matthews said. “Fans were rowdy two years ago and with GameDay the fans will be this year, too.” Stoops agreed, saying of the weekend festivities, “I think it’s great for our university. It’s great for our football program, it’s great for our fans, and I think it’s fun to see and it’s fun to be a part of.”
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4b Oregon Daily Emerald Friday, November 29, 2009
BY THE NUMBERS
2009 uo schedule september 3 12 19 26
at Boise State (L, 19-8) vs. Purdue (W, 38-36) vs. Utah (W, 31-24) vs. California (W, 42-3)
October 3 10 24 31
vs. Washington State (W, 52-6) at UCLA (W, 24-10) at Washington (W, 43-19) vs. USC (W, 47-20)
November 7 14 21
at Stanford (L, 51-42) vs. Arizona State (W, 44-21) at Arizona, 5 p.m.
vs. Oregon State, 6 p.m.
Arizona’s record in its last 14 games played at Arizona Stadium, including six straight wins
2009 arizona schedule september 5 12 19 26
at Washington (L, 36-33) vs. Stanford (W, 43-38) vs. UCLA (W, 27-13)
Percentage of third downs converted by Wildcats opponents; the mark is 21st nationally
November 7 14 21 28
vs. Washington State (W, 48-7) at California (L, 24-16) vs. Oregon, 5 p.m. at Arizona State, 1:30 p.m.
429.22 Winning percentage of Oregon opponents (62 wins, 43 losses) this season; both Arizona and Oregon State have winning records
Penalty yards per game averaged by the Oregon Ducks, a recurring issue after posting three consecutive games with nine penalties each. The mark is fourthworst in the Pac-10, behind Arizona State, Washington and USC.
at USC, 12:30 p.m.
Seating capacity for the Zona Zoo, the Arizona student section at Arizona Stadium. The Zona Zoo is considered by some to be the most disruptive student section in college football.
2009 Oregon Statistical leaders
Average yards per game for the Arizona Wildcats, the 24th-best mark in the nation
83 Number of second-half points allowed by Arizona in its last 12 home games
414.80 Average yards per game for the Oregon Ducks, the 32nd-best mark in the nation
vs. Central Michigan (W, 19-6) vs. Northern Arizona (W, 34-17) at Iowa (L, 27-17) at Oregon State (W, 37-32)
October 10 17 24
Receiving yards, on two catches, for Ducks WR Garrett Embry, who has played in all 10 games. It remains unknown when the last time an Oregon player finished with negative receiving yardage.
Oregon’s all-time record against the Wildcats in Arizona Stadium. The Ducks have won 12 of the past 15 meetings overall.
2009 arizona Statistical leaders
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Friday, November 29, 2009 Oregon Daily Emerald 5b
jeff maehl (23)
Trevin Wade (24) cornerBack
wide receiver Arizona is too good for Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli to get away with a 10-for-20 game passing with 120 yards, two touchdowns and an interception (Masoli’s numbers against Arizona State). The Ducks’ ability to break down the Wildcats’
PLAYERS TO WATCH
defense — the second-best in the Pacific-10 Conference — could be the deciding factor in a game featuring the conference’s secondand third-best offenses. Maehl is the Ducks’ second-leading receiver (tops among wide receivers), and
he will need to gain separation from an underrated secondary. Wade, a sophomore from Round Rock, Texas, has four interceptions on the season (tied for second in the Pac-10) and will be tough to shake.
starting lineups arizona
WR: Terrell Turner
PK: Alex Zendejas
DE: Ricky Elmore
WR: D.J. Davis
PK: Morgan Flint
DE: Will Tukuafu
LT: Mike Diaz
KO: Alex Zendejas
DT: Earl Mitchell
LT: Bo Thran
KO: Rob Beard
DT: Brandon Bair
LG: Herman Hall
P: Keenyn Crier
NT: Donald Horton
LG: Carson York
P: Jackson Rice
DT: Blake Ferras
C: Colin Baxter
KR: Devin Ross
DE: Brooks Reed
C: Jordan Holmes
KR: LaMichael James
DE: Kenny Rowe
RG: Vaughn Dotsy
PR: Bug Wright
SLB: Sterling Lewis
RG: Mark Asper
PR: Kenjon Barner
SLB: Eddie Pleasant
RT: Adam Grant
LS: Jason Bertoni
MLB: Vuna Tuihalamaka
RT: C.E. Kaiser
LS: Michael Clay
MLB: Casey Matthews
TE: A.J. Simmons
HLD: Keenyn Crier
WLB: Xavier Kelley
TE: Ed Dickson
HLD: Nate Costa
WR: Delashaun Dean
LCB: Devin Ross
WR: Jeff Maehl
LCB: Cliff Harris
WLB: Spencer Paysinger
QB: Nick Foles
FS: Cam Nelson
WR: Lavasier Tuinei
FS: T.J. Ward
FB: Chris Gronkowski
SS: Robert Golden
QB: Jeremiah Masoli
ROV: Javes Lewis
RB: Nic Grigsby
RCB: Trevin Wade
RB: LaMichael James
RCB: Talmadge Jackson III
m a e h l p h oto by i va r vo n g | P h oto e d i to r wa d e p h oto by A l a n Wa l s h | A r i zo na da i ly w i l d cat
Points of debate
The following is an excerpt from an e-mail debate between Emerald sports reporter Lucas Clark and Arizona Daily Wildcat sports reporter Brian Kimball
Lucas Clark: All season long I’ve been comparing this year’s Oregon Duck football team to that of the national title contender in 2007 when Heisman Trophy hopeful Dennis Dixon was running the zone-read offense with pure elegance. And while the Ducks are no longer in the top 10 and battling for a shot at the BCS national title game, they are still fighting to win out and claim their first Pac10 title since 2001. Every Oregon fan dreadfully remembers that Thursday night in Tucson, Ariz., when Dixon hit the turf with his season-ending knee injury, which to me makes this year’s matchup that much more intriguing. Oregon has proven twice now that they can bounce back from a tough loss as they defeated Arizona State 44-21 last weekend, but the Ducks are 2-2 on the road this season
and are definitely not going to overlook the talented Wildcat attack — which ranks second in the conference in both passing yards (242.1) and total offense (429.2) per game. Brian Kimball: It’s true that Arizona’s highflying offense has ranked near the top of the Pac-10 for the majority of the 2009 season, but the Wildcats have sputtered a bit during recent games. Despite beating UCLA 27-13, Arizona’s five-turnover performance kept the Bruins in the game for longer than they should have been. Even after the 48-7 blow-out win against Washington State the following week UA offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes said he didn’t think the offense really got into any sort of groove. As evidenced by a sloppy performance during last week’s 24-16 loss to California,
Arizona still hasn’t been able to correct whatever the problem might be. But after receiving news that ESPN’s College Game Day will be in Tucson this weekend the team was as amped up as I have seen all season long. Maybe that — along with all the Senior Day festivities that will take place during Saturday’s contest against the Ducks — will breathe new life into the Wildcats. LC: Game Day definitely brings a different feel to the entire weekend when it comes to college football, and no one understands that more than the Ducks, who blew out the visiting USC Trojans on Halloween night. But after Oregon’s loss to No. 14 Stanford two weeks ago, I would be surprised to see anything other than a fiery start from the Ducks’ versatile offense. First-year head coach Chip Kelly is constantly reiterating how important it is to get off to a fast start in every conference game, which often means a heavy dose of redshirt freshman running back LaMichael James. James has rushed for 1,193 yards and 11 touchdowns on just 171 carries and has provided junior quarterback Jeremiah Masoli with some freedom in the passing game, something that was evidently lacking in the early season. BK: LaMichael James has been difficult for most teams to stop so far this season, as the diminutive tailback has rushed for more than 100 yards in seven of his nine starts. The Wildcats’ main concern regarding the Ducks’ offense will likely be quarterback Jeremiah Masoli. Last season in Eugene, Masoli torched the Wildcats for 298 yards through the air and another 89 yards rushing and accounted for five of the Ducks seven touchdowns in the 55-45 UO win. This time around, Arizona
should be better prepared for the vaunted Oregon offensive attack. LC: There’s no question that this year’s contest will likely result in another shootout between two strong offenses, but the defensive side of the ball is where the game will likely be decided. Oregon enters the game with the top-ranked scoring defense (20.9 ppg) and pass defense (181.3 ypg) in the Pac10. Sophomore defensive back Javes Lewis leads the team with 66 tackles on the year and fellow defensive back freshman John Boyett ranks second with 62. Oregon was able to contain Cal’s Kevin Riley and USC’s Matt Barkley through the air, but sophomore Nick Foles and the Wildcat passing attack will be yet another tough test for the Ducks. BK: The Ducks faced an offense like Arizona’s once during the season — Stanford — and Oregon doesn’t need to be reminded how that game turned out in Palo Alto, Calif. Arizona ranks second in the Pac-10 in passing offense (242.11 ypg) and third in rushing offense (187.1 ypg). And the Wildcats have put up a lot of those numbers with banged up skillposition players. Junior running back Nic Grigsby has finally recovered from a nagging shoulder injury and junior wide out Delashaun Dean is back to 100 percent after nursing a slew of injuries throughout the year. The bulk of Arizona’s offensive troubles this season have come in the red zone as the team has typically been forced to settle for field goals, hence the squad’s 30.4 points per game average that ranks fifth in the Pac-10. Arizona plays better at home — the Wildcats are unbeaten in Tucson this season — and the similarities this week’s contest has with the Stanford-UO game can’t be ignored. lc l ark@dai lye m e r a ld.co m
6b Oregon Daily Emerald Friday, November 29, 2009
Pick the Pac Lucas: 23-10 Patrick: 22-11
Patrick Malee SPorts reporter
Lucas Clark SPorts reporter
Robert Husseman SPorts reporter
Week 12 Past Records
Ben Schorzman SPorts Editor
Emerald sports writers predict the winners of this week’s games
arizona state at UCLA Oregon State at wSU california at stanford
Oregon at Arizona
husseman at the television screen until Oregon had the game securely in hand. I decided on the latter. The Ducks lost, by a final score of I-Don’t-Know to Why-Oh-Why-Am-I-Torturing-Myself-Like-This-RightNow. I walked home dazed and encountered a small party on the chilly Thursday night of whenever that game was. I don’t care. “Hey guys. (Expletive) Brady Leaf, right?” a member of the party said before putting his can of Natural Ice to his face and holding it there. Indeed, hard-partying sir. Indeed. Oh, and of course, the students rushed the field. It always hurts to see fans rushing the field against your team. And not just any fans,Jesse butDavis the04.03.09 Zona
From Pag e 3B
Zoo. I mean, really, guys? They do not compare to Oregon, in my opinion, for the loudest student section. Apparently they have a board of directors and are hyper-organized, which is nice, but I didn’t care then and I am professionally indifferent now. Generous and beneficent members of the Oregon football team, I kindly ask you through my professional platform to do what I cannot: Destroy them. Physically impose your will upon the Arizona Wildcats. Score like you never dreamed of on a Saturday night. And then score some more. Mike Bellotti, when he was head coach, set a personal limit of 72 points because he felt uncomfortable after putting
that amount up against a weak Nevada team one year. Team, I want you to score 172. Make Arizona look like Cumberland College’s junior varsity squad. Still not listening to me? Good. I don’t doubt your ability to prepare yourselves week-toweek. Your bounce-back effort against Arizona State was good, if a little sloppy. I feel as though I can confidently say — despite a whale of a game yet to be played on the regularseason slate — that you will be mentally prepared for the task at hand. Pace yourselves. Dec. 3 is the Civil War. Saturday is my Uncivil War. I want it merciless and offensively potent. But I’m willing to settle for a victory in the end. rhu s s e m an @dai lye m e r ald.co m
CATCHING UP WITH » D.J. Davis This week the Daily Emerald caught up with junior wide receiver D.J. Davis to talk about pastimes outside of football, the NFL and bowling. Little known to the rest of the school, Davis is an excellent bowler and frequents Eugene bowling alleys during the off-season. He’s pretty good on the field, too, and the Denver, Colo., native has come into his own the past three games and has two touchdowns on the season. ODE: What’s your major? DD: Psychology. ODE: What do you plan to do with that? DD: Probably be a therapist. Not sure, just dealing with kids or counseling. ODE: If you weren’t playing football, what sport would you be playing? DD: I dunno. I like baseball, but I probably wouldn’t be playing sports. I’d probably be following my career in acting or being a comedian. ODE: Did you do any plays in high school? DD: I did do one play in high school, but I took a couple of drama classes and I’m working on a theater arts minor up here so hopefully that will get me something. ODE: You said comedian, have you done stand-up? DD: I haven’t done stand-up or anything, but every time I’m with my friends we’re just joking around and laughing and trying to make everyone laugh. It’s kind of a little fantasy of mine if I didn’t have the athletic ability I do. ODE: Interesting … What’s your favorite thing to do outside of football when you’re just chillin’? DD: Probably bowling. We
Arizona State at UCLA (1 p.m. Saturday)
ODE: For Thanksgiving are you staying around Eugene? DD: I’m actually going back to Colorado for the first time in two years. It will be good to spend the time with friends and family. ODE: How long you going home for? DD: I’m going home for a day and a half. Gotta get my mind right for OSU when we come back. ODE: What’s your favorite thing about Colorado? DD: I can tell you the least thing. Every time I’m going is during the winter so I have to watch out for a blizzard, but just going home to Colorado, once you get off the plane you can smell the mile-high air. It’s a feeling I can’t describe. — b e n sc hor zm an
ASU, UCLA battle for shot at bowl eligibility Patrick Male e Sports R eporter
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go bowling a lot. Not so much in season because we’re so busy but off-season we go to the bowling alley three or four times a week, just going at it and basically competing. ODE: Who do you bowl with? DD: Me, Malachi Lewis, Ed Dickson and a couple of other stragglers who come in. ODE: What’s your highest score? DD: A 250. But that was on a really good day. ODE: Then what do you normally shoot? DD: Normally I’m probably do 150 to 180. ODE: Do you do the spin? DD: I do the spin, but it’s awkward because I’m big and buff and I can’t finesse it.
Cal, Stanford meet Saturday in annual rivalry matchup
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Arizona State comes into the game after humbling 44-21 loss to then-No. 14 Oregon last Saturday. The defense, which had been stout all year, had no answer for LaMichael James and the Ducks offense and gave up 388 total yards (268 on the ground). Quarterback Samson Szakacsy was surprisingly effective coming in for an injured Brock Osweiler. The redshirt sophomore completed 13 of 22 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown, while also running for a touchdown. The Bruins are sporting a modest twogame win streak after picking apart Washington State 43-7. Freshman quarterback Kevin Prince did it all, throwing for 314 yards and running for 76 more with two total touchdowns. The offense racked up 556 total yards, while the defense held the Cougars to just 181 yards and forced four turnovers. Key stat: Despite last week’s showing, Arizona State still leads the Pac-10 in total defense (301.4 yards per game).
No. 20 Oregon State at Washington State (2 p.m.)
The Beavers are beginning to click, having won three games straight and embarrassed Washington 48-21 last week in Corvallis. Senior quarterback Sean Canfield had another prolific outing, completing 21 of his 29 passes for four touchdowns. Sophomore running back Jacquizz Rodgers was also explosive, gathering 159 rushing yards and two touchdowns on just 18 carries. The defense forced two turnovers, and the team managed to avoid penalties for the most part with just three for 15 yards. Washington State, meanwhile, cannot help but be discouraged, as they remain winless in the Pacific-10 Conference. In their most recent 43-7 loss to UCLA, freshman quarterback Jeff Tuel was out with an injury, and his replacement suffered mightily. Sophomore Marshall Lobbestael threw three interceptions before being benched in the second quarter for senior Kevin Lopina. By then, UCLA led 23-0 and it was too late for a comeback. Key stat: In Pac-10 play this season, Washington State has yet to score more than 17 points.
California at No. 14 Stanford (4:30 p.m.) The Golden Bears shocked Arizona 24-16 last week, serving notice that they are not
to be forgotten about in the Pac-10. Despite the absence of junior running back Jahvid Best, California rushed for 176 yards against the Wildcats. 159 of those yards came from sophomore Shane Vereen, who also scored a touchdown. The Golden Bears outgained Arizona 357-274, and held the Wildcats to their lowest point total of the year. With a narrow 18-16 lead late in the fourth quarter, California stopped the Wildcats on fourth down and sealed the victory with a 61-yard touchdown run by Vereen. No. 14 Stanford is arguably the hottest team in college football after back-to-back 50-point games against Oregon and USC. Running back Toby Gerhart has been the catalyst for the Cardinal’s offense all year, and proved his worth against the Trojans. The senior bulldozed USC for 178 yards and three touchdowns, cementing himself as a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender. Freshman quarterback Andrew Luck continued to play well behind his years and finished with 144 yards and two touchdowns, while the defense forced three interceptions from Matt Barkley. Key stat: The Pac-10’s second best rushing offense (Stanford-222.4 yards per game) faces off with the Conference’s second best rushing defense (California-104.1 yards per game). pma le e@dai ly e m e r a ld.co m
Friday, November 29, 2009 Oregon Daily Emerald 7b
on defense and I look at what other teams do and it’s the same stuff,” Maehl said. “I know where it’s vulnerable. I try to give other receivers my knowledge about what to look for out there and little keys that guys do in the secondary.” Maehl has also worked on his bond with quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, who is also a junior. “We worked very hard through fall camp,” Maehl said. “We knew we had two more years together and we’re just trying to do the best we can.” “Me and (Jeff) are real cool,” Masoli said. “It’s easy to communicate with him and he’s always telling me what the DBs are doing. He’s definitely a good receiver to have.” This year Maehl has had a decent year, with 434 yards and 34 receptions and three touchdowns. Not stellar numbers, but the Ducks don’t need him to catch 10 balls every game and go for 100 yards. He’s just one weapon in a stable full of them. He is Kelly’s “Steady Eddy.” “Our offense has a great chemistry and the way Chip puts us together, he gives guys opportunities to get balls all across the field,” Maehl said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you talk to me in 10 games from now and Drew Davis has a catch-streak too, or Jamere Holland or guys like that.” Maehl will always go back to that Oregon State game as a testament that no matter how hard the hit, he’ll hang on. But he will also go back to that night because it was also the game where he caught his first collegiate touchdown. It was the first quarter when he got a 31-yard pass from Roper. “It was awesome, just awesome,” Maehl said. “I scored in the end zone, where my family was sitting. Just the feeling of looking around and seeing the crowd after scoring is overwhelming.”
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Jeff Maehl came from the left side and sprinted across the middle of the field on the 47-yard line. As he reached the left hash mark, a 15-yard strike zoomed into his hands, delivered from quarterback Justin Roper. A split second after the pass was lodged in Maehl’s hands, Oregon State free safety Al Afalava leaned his left shoulder and helmet into the chest and head of Maehl and clotheslined the Duck receiver to the Autzen Stadium turf. “It’s a YouTube highlight,” Maehl said, laughing. “I don’t know how I caught it. To this day, it’s just like I had super glue on my hands, it just stuck to my hands. Watching it on YouTube, it’s ugly.” Maehl popped right up after the hit on that cold day in December in 2007. The Ducks ended up losing in overtime 3831 to the Beavers, but the newly converted receiver from the defensive secondary proved something that has served him well since: he catches the ball. “The one thing with Jeff is that he’s consistent and quarterbacks are really comfortable with him out there,” head coach Chip Kelly said. The junior from Paradise, Calif., has been so consistent that with his first catch against Arizona State on Nov. 14 he extended his consecutive games with a catch streak to 18 straight games, dating back to Oct. 4, 2008, at USC. Not bad for a guy recruited as a defensive back and who was converted to wide receiver after the Arizona game in Tucson in 2007. “It was tough at first,” Maehl said of the transition. “I was only 170 pounds and I’m not much bigger now, but moving from defense was offense was tough … after focusing on defense so hard for four months then having to switch your focus onto a whole new position that dealt
i va r vo n g | Photo editor
Junior wide receiver Jeff Maehl has been a rock in the Oregon receiving corps, with 18 straight games with a catch. He looks to make it 19 on Saturday.
with whole new skills was challenging for me, but I’m starting to feel way more comfortable with it now and start to take it to the next level.” The pure athleticism of Maehl is what attracted the Ducks in recruiting him out of high school. He was also a standout basketball player at Paradise High, but football was where he really excelled, getting 14 touchdowns his senior year while also intercepting seven passes on the defense. “That’s what he is,” wide receivers coach Scott Frost said.
“He’s a really good football player. That shows in everything he does. He’s improved a lot and he’s continued to improve steadily. He’s very reliable. He’s always where you need him to be.” A lot of him being at the right place at the right time comes from his knowledge of the defense and how coverages work. In 2008 he spent most of his time just getting comfortable as a fulltime receiver, but now that he’s had one more year under his belt, he’s savvier. “I look at what we used to do
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