November 2012

As the Oregon Ducks defeated the USC Trojans on their home turf in a shootout, 62-51, Kenjon Barner turned in one of the great performances of this or any season. Barner, operating out of Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly’s “Quack Attack” quick hitting offense, piled up 321 yards on 38 carries and scored 5 touchdowns. The Ducks maintained a lead throughout the game, but the Trojans would not let up and kept within striking distance. It was the first game all year in which
Oregon had to keep their starters in and it makes one pause to think what kind of numbers Barner might run up if he played full games.

The Ducks have a tough road ahead to nab a spot in the BSC National Championship game — they need to beat Stanford, win the Civil War against Oregon State, and then claim the PAC-12 title by prevailing in the first title game for that conference.

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Pencil on Canson Watercolor Block

The Pittsburgh Steelers “next man up” philosophy paid dividends again this week. Last week, it was Jonathan Dwyer stepping in for the injured Rashard Mendenhall. With both Mendenhall and Dwyer out this week, the Steelers turned to Isaac Redman, who was also returning from the injured list. An unusual situation faced the Steelers since Hurricane Sandy had devastated the New York/New Jersey area. The Steelers hotel was without power so the team was granted permission to fly in on the day of the game. Even when they found out that power had been restored to their hotel, the Steeler brass decided to stick to their one day visit since they did not want to take away any hotel rooms from the local residents and emergency workers who really needed them.

Thus the scene was set, a travel-weary Steeler squad flew in at 4AM to face the Superbowl Champion New York Giants on their home turf. After the late afternoon kickoff, it became apparent that the men from Steeltown were also playing against the officials as several questionable penalties were called on the visitors. In the second quarter, on a third down play, the Steeler secondary broke up a pass to Victor Cruz in the endzone but the Giants were given new life after Ryan Clark was flagged for a blow to the head of Cruz. The fact that Cruz then left the game with a rib injury did not deter the officials and the Giants went on the score a touchdown. There was the Ben Roethlisberger “fumble” that was returned for a TD by the Giants to give them a 14-7 lead. After looking at the replays, it was obvious Roethlisberger still had control of the ball after it was swiped at and the play should have been called an incomplete pass (as per the infamous Tom Brady “tuck rule”). Then there was the non-existent pass interference call on cornerback Keenan Lewis, who did not even touch the receiver on the play. Despite all of this, the Steelers maintained their poise as they entered the fourth quarter trailing 20-10.

In the fourth, the Steeler defense looked like its old self, holding the Giants without a first down, let alone allowing any points. Roethlisberger hit Mike Wallace on a 51-yard touchdown in which Wallace almost comically outran the angles of several Giant pursuers. Then, with just over four minutes left, Redman plowed into the endzone for a 24-20 lead that ended up being the final score. On the day, Redman consistently moved the ball on the proud Giants’ defense with gashing runs. When the Steelers got the ball back and needed to run out the clock, Redman bounced wide for a gain of 28 yards to seal the victory. He finished with 147 yards on 26 carries.

The Steelers move on to face the Kansas City Chiefs next Monday night.

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Pencils on Strathmore 150lb sketch paper.