Picking the game balls is pretty easy this week. The Ducks travelled to Los Angeles to play USC for The PAC12 Championship game. The Ducks Jumped out to a two score lead early off some Trojans turnovers, but Trojans were able to pull within 1 score at half time behind Kedon Slovis and his live arm. The Ducks came out after the half and scored a touchdown on a 7+ minute drive pushing the lead to 14 points again while the Trojans settled for a field goal. In the 4th quarter the Oregon defense went to work again and held the the Trojans to just one score in the 4th. On a side note the Ducks may have found their kicker as Henry Katleman kicked a 40 yard field goal (with plenty of leg) to push the Ducks back to a 7 point lead. Ducks win 31-24 and it’s beginning to look like traveling to Los Angeles is more of a home game for the Ducks then the Trojans.
So time to look at the Game Ball 🏈 candidates. First you have to consider Coach Andy Avalos. Coach Avalos instituted a Game Plan that included putting max pressure on USC Quarterback Keyon Slovis. Slovis was never able to settle into the pocket with the constant pressure applied by the Ducks. Ducks got to Slovis for 3 sacks and also a bunch of Slovis throwaways due to the pressure and the Ducks lived in the Trojan back field logging 9 tackles for loss. Due to the pressure up front the Ducks were able pick off Slovis 3 times. None of the interceptions were as big as, the second candidate Jamal Hill’s, second interception of the game. Hill’s second interception of Slovis was with the Trojans driving near mid field with 3 minutes left and may have saved the game for the Ducks. Hill also intercepted Slovis early in the game for his 1st interception. The last candidate for a game ball is Kayvon Thibodeaux. Thibodeaux who hails from Los Angeles lived in the USC back field for much of the game. Thibodeaux logged 5 total tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack and too many forced throwaways by Slovis to count.
Some of you may have caught my comment of picking the game ball(s) being easy this week as being a mistake as per my usual lack of proof reading. But alas it was not, this week the game balls go to Coach Andy Avalos, Jamal Hill, Kayvon Thibodeaux and by extension the entire Duck defense. When USC had the ball the Duck Defense were the dominate force the entire game. Congrats to Coach Avalos and his unit.