Charting the Unlikely Rise of Oregon Football

Recruiting secrets, failed mascots, and infamous games of the UO Ducks.

By Marty Patail July 20, 2015 Published in the August 2015 issue of Portland Monthly

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How UO Recruits its Stars

They don’t have a big recruiting ground sitting in their backyard like other schools who are competing for national championships. They’ve had to recruit in Florida and Texas. So in 2001, they bought the billboard in Manhattan, in Times Square, and have tried to make themselves a national brand. Everything they’ve been doing is building towards where they are now: the uniforms, the facilities, the exciting brand of football, the name brand, the logo. You see the Nike Swoosh and you know you’re talking about Oregon football. They’re very deliberate in their recruiting approach. They do things differently than any other program does. The biggest factor is they’re winning. That has allowed them to really expand their reach nationally.” —Brandon Huffman, National Director of Recruiting for Scout.com

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Image: Amy Martin

 Duck Country?

The reach of UO football fandom, according to the New York Times, based on which school has the most Facebook likes in an area.


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Bro Duck

The notorious Mandrake, a.k.a. “Roboduck,” was briefly introduced (and quickly killed off) in 2002 as a muscular and universally hated replacement for Oregon’s much cuter Donald Duck–inspired mascot.


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Image: Beeboys

The Worst Game Ever Played

Quotes and stats from the infamous “Toilet Bowl” of 1983 between Oregon and Oregon State, dubbed by onlookers as “slapstick comedy” 0–0 Final score, the last-ever scoreless tie in college football // 8,000 Empty seats at UO’s Autzen Stadium // 55% Incomplete passes // 11 Fumbles // 5 Interceptions // 4 Missed field goals // “It was an incredibly strange game. It was almost like neither team wanted to win and found ways to mess it up.” —A “sour” Rich Brooks, Oregon head coach

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