Oregon Ducks

Instant analysis: Oregon dominates Nevada in home opener

Instant analysis: Oregon dominates Nevada in home opener

EUGENE, ORE. – The Oregon Ducks won their first game of the 2019 football season against Nevada in front of rowdy 50,920 fans in Autzen Stadium. The dominating win extends Oregon’s streak of consecutive wins over non-conference opponents at home to 24, a stretch that dates back to 2008.

It was all eyes on the No. 16 Ducks to see how the team would rebound from their last second loss to No. 11 Auburn in prime time… Would Oregon allow the Tigers to beat them twice? The answer is a resounding no.

Here are the top three takeaways from the game.

1. JUSTIN HERBERT WOKE UP (AND THE STREAK LIVES!)

Saturday marked Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert’s 30th start and his 30th straight game with a touchdown pass, the longest streak in the nation.

After an underwhelming start and a few missed throws from the senior, Herbert settled down and woke up the Autzen crowd with a 66-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jacob Breeland. The explosive play tied Breeland’s career long for a reception in a game.

Following that touchdown pass in the first quarter, Herbert completed the next 10 of 11 passes for 209 yards and four touchdowns. Herbert finished with 310 passing yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions. Four of those touchdowns were caught by players who had never scored before: Daewood Davis, Ryan Bay, Brady Aiello and Bryan Addison.

 

2. DUCK DEFENSE DOMINATION

The Oregon defense entertained and delighted all night. Cornerback Deommodore Lenoir made a statement right away, stopping all three plays Nevada ran on their first possession. In the first half alone, the Ducks had eight tackles for loss and held Nevada to only 97 yards of offense.

The Ducks pestered Wolf Pack quarterback Carson Strong, grabbing two interceptions in the first half.  

True freshmen Mase Funa and Kayvon Thibodeaux provided highlights on back-to-back plays. Funa recorded his first career sack on third and 12 and then Thibodeaux tackled the Nevada punter for an 11-yard loss after a bad snap.

Oregon didn’t let up, DJ Johnson forced a fumble which Brady Breeze recovered and returned for a touchdown to extend Oregon’s lead to 62-6.

 

3. MONSTER DUCK TIGHT ENDS

Cue Oprah… “You get a touchdown, you get a touchdown, you get a touchdown!” With a depleted wide receiving corps, Oregon’s tight ends stepped up in a major way.

Breeland recorded his first career 100-yard receiving game and a career-high for receiving yards. The senior was dependable and a constant threat over the middle.

Ryan Bay scored his first career touchdown, a 16-yard grab in the second quarter. The 6-foot-3 senior came to Oregon as a walk-on from Tigard.

The biggest tight end on the field was offensive lineman Brady Aiello wearing a number 82 jersey. Aiello got to do what most lineman only dream about, catch a touchdown pass from the quarterback they usually protect.

Hunter Kampmoyer scored as well, a tight end who began his career as a defensive end.

Oregon had more than 10 receivers catch a pass. The Ducks offense rolled and made a strong statement that dates back a decade. The win marked the 10th straight home opener that Oregon scored 50 or more points.

 

More to come including videos and articles with quotes from Coach Mario Cristobal and Ducks players throughout the night.

Oregon named in top 6 for four-star 2021 safety JD Coffey III

Oregon named in top 6 for four-star 2021 safety JD Coffey III

While all official visits have been canceled for the foreseeable future, the recruiting world has not stopped.

One day after Oregon was named one of the top-six schools for five-star wide receiver Troy Franklin, the Ducks have been added to another top-six.

247Sports four-star safety JD Coffey III tweeted out his top six, that included Oregon, Washington, Michigan, Baylor, and Texas.

The prospect told 247Sports that he was planning to make a decision before his senior season of high school football, but with the canceling of his official visits, he may not make that target date. He still plans to make five official visits, however, when able.

He took an unofficial visit to Oregon on March 10th right before all recruiting was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

He's the 7th ranked safety in the nation according to 247Sports, the 31st ranked prospect in Texas and 186th nationally. Oregon hasn't had that much success lately recruiting out of Texas compared to California and Florida, so it's interesting they're in the running for Coffey III. 

Oregon sent him a scholarship offer on January 23rd of this year. 

You can watch his junior season highlights here:

 

Oregon becomes first school to have both of the nation's top point guards

Oregon becomes first school to have both of the nation's top point guards

Despite their senior seasons being cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sabrina Ionescu and Payton Pritchard still made plenty of history.

That includes both of them winning the award given to the nation's best point guard: Pritchard winning the Bob Cousy Award and Ionescu winning her third-straight Nancy Lieberman Award. The honors have made the University of Oregon the first school in NCAA history to take home both awards and therefore becoming the first school ever to have the nation's best point guard in both men's and women's basketball.

Ionescu spoke to Pac-12 Network about what it means to her to see Pritchard get the national recognition he deserves.

That makes me so happy. Being able to come with him these last four years, I mean he's made me a better player just because everytime I go to workout at the gym whether it's 6:00 a.m. or 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. he's in there working out. We workout together. We bounce ideas off of eachother and I think we both make eachother better. He's one of the best point guards that I've seen and I've been blessed to spend these four years with him and learn from him and how hard he works. He's more deserving of this award than anyone that I know and so I'm so happy for him and for the school and to really, kind of share that award with him is awesome.

The kid out of West Linn averaged 20.5 points, 5.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds while leading the Ducks to a Pac-12 Championship and 24-7 overall record. While Ionescu averaged 17.5 points, 8.6. rebounds and 9.1 assists per game leading the Ducks to a Pac-12 Regular Season Championship, Pac-12 Tournament Championship, and the nation's second overall ranking.

This season, the all-time leader in triple-doubles became the first player ever to score 2,000 career points, 1,000 assists, and 1,000 rebounds, ending her career as the program leader in wins points (2,562) and assists (1,091).

While Pritchard became the first player in Pac-12 men's history to record 1,900 points, 500 rebounds and 600 assists. Pritchard also capped off his career as the school record holder in assists (659), wins (105), games played (144) and games started (140). 

He joined Gary Payton, Damon Stoudamire and Jason Terry as the only players in conference history to lead the league in both scoring and assists. He also joins this illustrious cast as consensus first-team All-Americans.

Ionescu joins Sue Bird (2000-2002) as the second player in women’s NCAA history to win the Nancy Leiberman award on three occasions.  

Justin Herbert smashes away the doubters, one TV at a time

Justin Herbert smashes away the doubters, one TV at a time

Justin Herbert is a legend in Eugene. 

He rivals the likes of Joey Harrington and Marcus Mariota, as one of the greatest quarterbacks in program history. 

With his college days behind him, Herbert now moves forward as one of the most sought after prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft. 

Many NFL mock drafts have Herbert as a Top 10 prospect, likely being drafted No.5 or No.6 by the Dolphins or Chargers. 

But some experts still think he is a risk. 

From "I just don't believe he is one of the Top 10 players in the draft," to "He could potentially be one of the biggest mistakes of the draft," not everyone is 100% sold on Herbert... except Justin Herbert.

That's where smashing TVs come into play.

Herbert recently joined Sam Alipour of ESPN for a nice venting session. 

The two went to a Rage Room to take out their frustration. 

With a sledgehammer in hand, Herbert destroyed a TV... or ten.

On draft evaluator called Herbert, "unfailingly polite." Herbert's response: 

"I think I'm just myself but maybe I should start being more mean. I was pretty mean to my younger brother, Patrick... sorry Patrick."

The younger Herbert heard the apology and forgave his brother on social media. 

All fun aside, Herbert was honest about his prospects. He said he isn't a dual-threat quarterback but thinks of himself as a pass-first quarterback that can run when he needs to.

When asked who he would compare himself to, Herbert said "We watch a lot of Matt Ryan at Oregon. He's a guy that we try to implement a lot of his stuff into our program. We watch a lot of Drew Brees and Tom Brady as well for mechanics and throwing motion." 

That would be a pretty good quarterback to grab in the draft. 

30 teams will have a chance, but only one will be lucky enough to call Eugene's finest their own. 

Where will Herbert land? We'll find out on April 23rd. 

 

Oregon Ducks makes top 6 for five-star 2021 WR Troy Franklin

Oregon Ducks makes top 6 for five-star 2021 WR Troy Franklin

Despite all team operations being canceled due to the spread of COVID-19, that doesn't mean the recruiting timeline has frozen too.

247Sports five-star wide receiver Troy Franklin, one of the Oregon Ducks' top targets for 2021, has announced his top-six choices which includes enrolling in Eugene. 

Oregon's five lead competitors for Franklin's commitment are Alabama, Washington, USC, LSU and Arizona State. The 6-foot-2 California native appears to either be staying near the West Coast in the Pac-12 or will be heading east to the SEC East. 

The announcement comes a month after Franklin visited Eugene for the second time during the first weekend of March. 

He had visited Eugene on an unofficial visit on July 28, 2019 

The Ducks would have reason to be confident with Mario Cristobal leading the program which has resulted in securing the top commitment in California the past two recruiting cycles. Franklin currently ranks as California's fourth-best recruit and the 30th overall prospect in the nation. However, the inclusion of Arizona State means the Sun Devils may be more of a force to be reckoned with when it comes to recruiting battles, especially after they flipped prized Oregon verbal commit Johnny Wilson on Signing Day. 

Payton Pritchard receives Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year award

Payton Pritchard receives Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year award

Meet the nation’s top point guard.

That’s right. After being named unanimous All-American, Payton Pritchard has taken home the Bob Cousy Award, which recognizes the best point guard in the country.

Pritchard topped Duke’s Tre Jones, Kansas’ Devon Dotson, Marquette’s Markus Howard and San Diego State’s Malachi Flynn for the prestigious nod. 

The kid out of West Linn is coming off a senior season at Oregon where he averaged 20.5 points, 5.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds while leading the Ducks to a Pac-12 Championship and 24-7 overall record. 

This season, he became the first player in Pac-12 history to record 1,900 points, 500 rebounds and 600 assists. Pritchard also capped off his career as the school record holder in assists (659), wins (105), games played (144) and games started (140). 

He joined Gary Payton, Damon Stoudamire and Jason Terry, as the only players in conference history to lead the league in both scoring and assists. He also joins this illustrious cast as consensus first-team All-Americans. 

Pritchard’s shelves are packed full of hardware, too. The Oregon star took home National Player of the Week honors three times this season and was named Pac-12 Player of the Week on two occasions. 

Earlier this month, the Pac-12 Player of the Year landed a spot on the John Wooden All-American team. He also became the first Oregon men’s basketball player to earn first-team AP All-America honors this season.  

Sabrina Ionescu wins prestigious Wooden Trophy for Nation’s Most Outstanding Player

Sabrina Ionescu wins prestigious Wooden Trophy for Nation’s Most Outstanding Player

Sabrina Ionescu is simply the best. 

Hours after being named the Nancy Lieberman Award winner for the nation’s top point guard, Ionescu has been awarded the prestigious Wooden Trophy, recognizing the nation’s Most Outstanding Player, in back-to-back seasons.

It is the Cadillac of postseason awards; The Heisman Trophy of collegiate football; The MVP of the NBA. 

This is a huge honor and one fit for a queen.

Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award Program hosts the most prestigious honors in college basketball recognizing The Wooden Award Most Outstanding Player for men and women, The Wooden Award All American Teams for men and women and the annual selection of the Wooden Award Legend of Coaching recipient. 

Ionescu beat out Lauren Cox (Baylor), Tyasha Harris (South Carolina), Rhyne Howard (Kentucky) and her teammate and best friend Ruthy Hebard. 

Here is a list of the postseason awards following her senior season:

- Wooden Trophy Winner - Most Outstanding Player (2x)

- Nancy Lieberman Winner - National Point Guard of the Year  (3x)

- Wade Trophy Winner - National Player of the Year (2x)

- Naismith Trophy Winner - National Player of the Year

- Associated Press National Player of the Year (unanimous)

- USBWA National Player of the Year

- ESPN.com National Player of the Year

- Senior CLASS Award Winner

- Associated Press First-Team All-America

- WBCA First-Team All-America

- Wooden Award All-America

- USBWA First-Team All-America

- AAU James E. Sullivan Award Finalist - Nation's Top Amateur Athlete

- Pac-12 Player of the Year (unanimous)

- All-Pac-12

- Pac-12 Tournament Most Outstanding Player

She is the NCAA leader in career triple-doubles (26), averaged 17.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 9.1 assists and is the first player (male or female) in NCAA history to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists. 

Forget video game numbers, Ionescu would have broken the console with those stats.

It was a glorious four-year run in Eugene. One that will be remembered forever, whether you’re ordering the famous “triple-double” at the Wild Duck Cafe in Eugene, or perhaps one day seeing her #20 jersey hanging in the rafters of Matthew Knight Arena. 

Ionescu is and has been since last season the overall No. 1 draft pick in the upcoming 2020 WNBA Draft. 

Oregon Ducks land Aaron Estrada, MAAC Rookie of the Year

Oregon Ducks land Aaron Estrada, MAAC Rookie of the Year

The largest question looming surrounding the Oregon Ducks men's basketball team was who was going to replace the program's all-time winningest player and four-year starting point guard Payton Pritchard.

Obviously those are huge shoes to fill, but it appears the Ducks are on the right track securing a transfer from Saint Peters guard Aaron Estrada, the reigning MAAC Rookie of the Year. 

Despite only playing 19.4 minutes per game, Estrada ranked second on the team in points (8.0) and assists (1.9) in his first season playing college basketball. He ended the season playing in 28 games, including starting the last eleven games played, ultimately recording 227 points, 53 assists, and 69 rebounds. He led the Peacocks in scoring eight times including a career-high 20 points against Fairfield on February 16th. He helped the Peacocks finish one game short of a conference championship. 

He entered his name into the transfer portal on March 22nd after the conclusion of his freshman season. 

After shooting 34% from three and 87.9% from the free-throw line he should help the Ducks spread the floor and give his big men some room to operate in the paint.

Report: College football could be played in Spring 2021 due to COVID-19

Report: College football could be played in Spring 2021 due to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the sports world to come to a screeching halt with little end in sight.

This week, President Trump said that he wants to see spectators gathering at sporting events as soon as August or September, which would be in time for college football to begin on time, but whether that is a realistic goal remains to be seen.

However, if the season isn't ready to be played in the fall perhaps there's another option beyond canceling the entire season.

According to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic, a few coaches around the country and one administrator are considering moving the college football season from fall to the spring of 2021 to give teams more time to prepare for the season given their entire spring schedule has been ruined by the pandemic, and who knows if they will be able to have a normal training camp over the summer.  

Fellow writer Andy Staples further elaborated that the majority of schools need a college football season to be played in the 2020-2021 academic school year to fund nearly every other sport. 

The fact of the matter is that for most college athletic departments to survive as we know them, there needs to be a football season played at some point in the 2020-21 academic year. That doesn’t mean it has to be played on time. It just has to be played. That means you could finish up in late April or early May if you had to... No offense to the other sports, but football is the only college sport that needs to be played next school year. Everyone else’s job/scholarship relies on football. If no football gets played, football will come back. But... a lot of those other sports won’t come back.

Playing the season in the spring would bring up multiple questions, such as when would the NFL Draft be held. If the NFL doesn't want to push back their calendar then perhaps the NFL Draft can happen during the college football season as a one-time exception, but the NCAA would need to approve that. We all know the NCAA hardly ever makes the right calls when it comes to these sorts of things.  

Stewart Mandel speculates that it could eliminate the entire 2021 Draft class from playing because the NFL would not want to push back their draft. If that happened then there could be a lot of younger talent getting unexpected playing time next season. 

The Oregon Ducks are currently scheduled to have one of their most stacked home schedules in recent memory hosting Ohio State, Washington, Stanford, USC, and Arizona State. 

Oregon State is scheduled to travel to Stillwater to open their season at Oklahoma State.

If any non-conference games get canceled due to the pandemic, it would be up to the schools to reschedule in good faith. However, if the season just gets pushed back it should be likely teams would play the same teams just at a later date in the academic year. 

Ruthy Hebard wins Katrina McClain Award for Power Forward of the Year

hebardmcclain.jpg
NBC Sports Northwest

Ruthy Hebard wins Katrina McClain Award for Power Forward of the Year

The postseason accolades keep raining in for the defending Pac-12 conference champion Oregon Ducks women’s basketball team.

For the second time in the past three seasons, Ruthy Hebard has been named the Katrina McClain Power Forward of the Year.

Hebard beat out Baylor's Lauren Cox, Florida State's Kiah Gillespie, Michigan's Naz Hillmon, and Princeton's Bella Alarie.

The 6-foor-4 senior from Fairbanks, Alaska averaged 17.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game during her senior season. She led the nation in field goal percentage (68.5) and is the NCAA record holder for consecutive field goals made with 33 in a row.

Hebard will finish a historical career in Eugene, Oregon as the No. 2 leading scorer (2,368 points), double-figure scoring games (123) and games played (144). The No. 1 leading scorer in Oregon women’s basketball history? Her counterpart and best friend, Sabrina Ionescu. The double-double machine (55 total, third in Oregon history) will also end her career No. 3 in Oregon history in rebounds (1,299).

Hebard first won the Katrina McClain award during her sophomore campaign, where she averaged 17.6 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. That 2017-18 season ended in a historic run to the Elite Eight.

Oregon's 'Big 3' of Ionescu, Hebard and Satou Sabally will wait to hear their names called during the 2020 WNBA Draft, coming up on April 17. Hebard has been projected somewhere between the No. 7 (Dallas) and No. 11 (Seattle) picks, according to the latest mock drafts.