Although the Ducks will not play in a BCS bowl game for the first time in five years, Mark Helfrich in his first year as head coach led the team to their sixth consecutive ten win season. Behind stars on offense and defense like Marcus Mariota and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon completed the 2013 season 10-2 and the program had its share of standout moments on the way.
10. Mark Helfrich’s first win as head coach
In Mark Helfrich’s first game as Oregon’s new head football coach, the Ducks demolished Nicholls State by the score of 66-3. Accounting for 772 total yards of offense, 500 of which came on the ground, the Ducks opened the season in their normal electric fashion. Mariota highlighted the day by giving the ball back to Helfrich after receiving the game ball.
9. Mundt Madness versus Tennessee
In a game that started sloppily as far as execution goes true freshman Johnny Mundt provided a spark for the Ducks’ offense that catapulted them to a decisive 59-14 win over Tennessee. Playing in his first real action of the season because of Colt Lyerla’s absence, Mundt caught five passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns.
8. Byron Marshall takes off in the second half versus UCLA
In College GameDay’s feature game of the week, sophomore running back Byron Marshall exploded to help the Ducks get past a stout opponent in UCLA. Tied at 14 at halftime, Marshall proved to be the backbone of the offense and scored two second half touchdowns to pave the way for a 42-14 victory. He finished the day with 19 rushes for 133 yards and three touchdowns, including a 40 yard sprint to the end zone in the second half.
7. Oregon’s stormy entrance into Pac-12 play at Autzen Stadium
Oregon welcomed the rainy conditions this year in a dramatic way as a storm swept through the entire Pacific Northwest and brutally washed up the playing field during Oregon’s clash with UC Berkeley at the end of September. It did not, however, have severe consequences for Oregon as the Ducks built a 27-point lead by the end of the first quarter and cruised to a 55-16 victory.
6. Thomas alters momentum versus Utah
In their ensuing contest after their 26-20 defeat to Stanford, Oregon looked out of sorts in almost every facet of its game still. Only up by three points after Utah scored on its opening possession of the second half Oregon needed a spark to ignite a flame they had been so used to keeping lit. De’Anthony Thomas provided it by returning the following kickoff 86 yards for a score. The Ducks went on to win 44-21.
5. Rodney Hardrick’s sprint to the end zone against Stanford
Obviously a game without even as much as a flare of satisfaction, the Ducks almost pulled off one of the most unimaginable comebacks school history. After finally scoring their first touchdown of the game and after the defense set up a Stanford field goal attempt, Oregon’s special teams unit blocked the try and Rodney Hardrick ran 65 yards for a touchdown. The score supplied a hint of hope for a perfect season during their bout with the Cardinal.
4. Addison switches field and takes punt back 67 yards
It will say in the box score that Bralon Addison had two punt returns for touchdowns in Oregon’s game against Cal for 75 and 67 yards, respectively. However, it neglects the fact that on Addison’s second punt return of the day he ran around the field like it was an obstacle courses, juking defenders on every turn.
3. A breath of the future
The five-star recruit and true freshman running back Thomas Tyner gave the Pac-12 and Duck fans a glimpse of what beckons for the future in the final regular season game. Reeling off 140 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown, Tyner showed us all what could be in store for years to come in Oregon’s backfield.
2. Mariota couldn’t be contained in Washington
In their first true to test of the season, Mariota could not be stopped. Connecting with his receivers rhythmically throughout the game and gauging the Husky defense on the ground, Mariota single-handedly provided a knockout blow to Washington and its upset aspirations. Passing for 366 yards and accounting for 119 yards on the ground, Mariota supplied Oregon with its first big win of the season.
1. Huff provides theatrics in final game at Autzen
As a Senior who has seen it all at this program, Josh Huff turned in the greatest performance of his college football career in his final game at Autzen Stadium. Down 35-30 to Oregon State with less than a minute to play Huff leaped and caught a Marcus Mariota pass that propelled the Ducks in front of the Beavers. Huff finished the game with nine receptions for 186 yards and three touchdowns, closing the book to an illustrious career while wearing the different shades of home colors at Autzen Stadium.
Follow Justin Wise on Twitter @JWISE25