The No. 7 Oregon Ducks totaled the highest amount of penalty yards in a game since 2005 in a heated game vs. USC last Saturday. After leading the Pac-12 Conference as the least penalized team, Oregon’s 12 penalties for 157 yards against the Trojans, tumbled the Ducks to the bottom of the Pac-12 and heated coach Mario Cristobal’s blood to a boil.
Defensive tackle Austin Faoliu was responsible for two unsportsmanlike penalties and an automatic ejection after a verbal altercation that led to pushing and shoving with a USC offensive lineman in the second quarter.
"That ain’t part of football and it’s been addressed bluntly, directly and with an edge to it because it ain’t us, it’s not going to be us," Cristobal said. "It won’t be tolerated here and the message is loud and clear. That doesn’t help anybody win and it certainly doesn’t make you tough. He knows how upset I am about it. That’s been clearly addressed."
Since taking over as head coach, Cristobal hyper-focused in on reducing penalties.
Remember when penalties plagued Oregon in 2017? Last season, the Ducks successfully improved from the most undisciplined and heavily penalized team in the country to fourth the Pac-12 Conference in penalty yards. Cristobal corrected UO's bad habits to dramatically improve from the FBS-worst 88.31 penalty yards per game to 47.92 penalty yards in 2018.
After a chippy win at USC, Oregon is averaging 70.33 penalty yards per game this season. The Ducks’ discipline has been trending worse as of late, totaling more than 100 penalty yards in three of their last four games.
In order to be taken seriously as a College Football Playoff contender, the Ducks can’t be held back by penalties. Oregon is No. 7 in the first CFB Playoff rankings and a path exists to the final field of four. Extending opponents drives with lack of discipline or creating a tougher situation for the offense, isn’t going to help the Ducks emerge undefeated from Pac-12 play.
Cristobal knows it. Now, he’s hoping the team can execute the discipline he’s coached.