Ducks, Beavers Previews

By Jim McCoy Wed 14th August Sportscollege fooballOregon DucksOregon State Beavers
OREGON DUCKS Chip Kelly may have left the Ducks to try his breakneck offense in the NFL, but he left Oregon in great shape. The Ducks, who finished last season ranked No. 2 in the final AP Top 25, shouldn't stagnate under new coach Mark Helfrich, the team's offensive coordinator who is obviously acquainted with the speedy spread-option. Oregon finished 12-1 last season, won the Pac-12 Conference and defeated Kansas State 35-17 in the Fiesta Bowl. The Ducks' flashy offense averaged 49.5 points per game last season, second in the nation, and was among the top five in rushing and in total yards. While stars Dion Jordan, Kiko Alonso, John Boyette and Kenjon Barner have all moved on to the NFL, Oregon is still rich with talent, including quarterback Marcus Mariota and running back De'Anthony Thomas. OREGON ST. BEAVERS ile coach Mike Riley had an inkling last season's Oregon State Beavers were better than they were billed, this season he's more pragmatic about the team. He says he thinks last season's team learned what it takes to win games. Oregon State went from 3-9 in 2011 to a 9-4 finish last season. The six-game turnaround is the best in school history, and only Ohio State and Middle Tennessee could also boast the same improvement last year. The Beavers' turnaround ended with a 31-27 loss to Texas in the Alamo Bowl. That final loss, a Civil War defeat by Oregon, and the fact that they didn't reach the 10-win plateau is what drives the team this season.

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