Originally posted on The Duck Stops Here  |  Last updated 11/22/11

Good starts matter more in big games. In the Super Bowl, for example, the team that scores first was 28-16 in the first 44 games, and the team leading at the half, according to the dallasnews.com, was 33-9 with two ties. Favorites were 28-16 straight up.

The Ducks sometimes fall into a pattern of executing poorly at the beginning of games, relying on pace to wear an opponent down with a second half surge. It's a bad pattern that makes a home crowd restless and gives an underdog life. Oregon's is a tempo offense, and the sooner they find a rhythm, the more fun they have playing football. Darron Thomas in particular is more effective when he begins a game under control, getting the ball to his targets.

Against USC, the Duck defense looked assertive in the first three possessions, diving on a USC fumble and two punts, swarming to the ball. They gave the Oregon offense the ball on their own 31, the SC 20, and their own 38, good field position. The offense surrendered that momentum, accomplishing little, and the Trojans went on to establish a big lead.

Playing a beat up, 3-8 Oregon State team with the Ducks having the opportunity to earn the right to host the Conference Championship and host the Rose Bowl, executing early is a big advantage. If the Ducks establish dominance , the Beavers will go away.

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