Originally posted on The Duck Stops Here  |  Last updated 11/3/11

Earlier this week Aaron Fentress and Ken Goe of the Oregonian provided a cogent breakdown of all the reasons Darron Thomas should be the Oregon starter. He has experience in big games. He's proven himself with an 18-2 record, the only losses to a National Champion and the current #1 team. As a sophomore first-year starter he threw for 2881 yards and 30 touchdowns while rushing for another 486 and five touchdowns, while operating one of the most efficient offenses in the country. With his experience and command of what Oregon wants to do, he gives the Ducks the best chance to win in five big games needed to make the Rose Bowl.  Bryan Bennett is a great talent, but he's a year and two offseasons away from being fully groomed to take the reins fulltime. He was impressive and eye-opening sparking the Ducks to their last three wins, but Bennett needs more time in the film room and on the practice field. completing just over 52% of his passes in an offense that provides a lot of safe, easy throws.

But Thomas has to clean things up to get the Ducks another championship. He hasn't been consistent. In his best nine quarters of football, blowouts over Nevada and Missouri State, plus the first two and a  half quarters of the Arizona State game, DT was 37-51 (72.5%) for 688 yards, 11 touchdowns, 1 interception. The rest of the time he's underperformed 63-108 (58.3%), 690 yards, 7 tds versus 4 ints. He's shown an alarming tendency to get in his own way, missing receivers and misfiring high, with mechanical and footwork problems that are uncharacteristic.

Last season, Thomas played wonderfully in key games, sparking a rally against Tennessee on the road in his second start, outplaying Andrew Luck and Matt Barkley. He threw for 363 yards in the national championship game.

The Ducks need their junior leader to rise up to the challenge, not only from Bennett, but from four of the top teams in the conference (counting ASU in a potential championship game rematch) and their traditional rival OSU in the regular season finale. They can't get five more wins without solid play from the quarterback.

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