What a difference a week makes. Troy Dye was dancing, linemen were catching touchdowns, and the Ducks scored 77 points.
Fresh off of a devastating late-game loss in which the Ducks seemed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, Oregon and their fan base was in need of a cathartic release. The Nevada Wolfpack was the unfortunate and unwilling punching bag for the Ducks.
While the result was not necessarily surprising to anyone, it was encouraging to see the Ducks find success in all three phases of the game last Saturday and exorcise some of the lingering demons from their season opener against Auburn. The Ducks will play host to the Montana Grizzlies on Saturday, but most fans are looking ahead in the schedule to a match up with the Stanford Cardinal in Palo Alto, and a battle with the Cal Bears who pulled off a shocking upset of Washington early Sunday morning.
While the loss to Auburn was devastating, in some ways it simplified the road map for Oregon to successfully receive a berth in the College Football Playoff this year: win the rest of their games and secure the Pac-12 championship for the first time since 2014.
Speaking of 2014, the Ducks need to look no further than the team that foiled their last run in the CFP: The Ohio State Buckeyes. In week 2 of that season, the Buckeyes had a surprising loss to an average-at-best Virginia Tech squad only to rally and win their next 13 games, capping it with a 42-20 victory over the Ducks in the College Football National Championship.
It seems nearly blasphemous for any Duck fan to laud or hope to emulate the 2014 Buckeyes, but Oregon now must follow that treacherous route if they wish to end the season at No. 1.