Quarterback Justin Herbert gave the people the show that they’ve longed for.
With an astounding amount of NFL scouts present, Herbert provided highlights that won’t soon be forgotten by Oregon fans, Colorado’s defense or the professional teams with a top-10 draft selection.
No. 13 Oregon’s offense exploded to thump Colorado 45-3 on a chilly Friday night game in Autzen Stadium. The chills weren’t caused from the wind, but instead from thrilling throws from the 6-foot-6 240-pound passer with deadly arm.
“The offense was scoring so fast, we would sit down to try to drink some water and the offense had already scored,” junior safety Brady Breeze said. “It’s amazing to see.”
Herbert made it look easy to his leading receiver, senior tight end Jacob Breeland. On the first drive, Herbert connected with Breeland for a seven-yard touchdown to give the Ducks (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) a quick lead. The touchdown extended Herbert’s nation leading touchdown pass streak to 34 straight games. It also marked Breeland’s sixth touchdown of the season, first among tight ends.
Junior wide receiver Jaylon Redd may need to ice his hands after Herbert’s 13 yard touchdown bullet in the third quarter. Redd's diving touchdown grab was his second touchdown of the game and marked his fifth straight game with a receiving touchdown, the longest streak in the country.
“It’s sensational,” said Redd describing catching passes from Herbert.
“Herbert is the best quarterback in college football right now, so anytime I get an opportunity I’m doing whatever I can to please him.”
Then there was the multiple highlights between Herbert and freshman phenom Mycah Pittman. Oregon Coach Mario Cristobal decided to go for it on fourth and five, and the Ducks converted the first down with a crossing route to Pittman, moving the chains and sparking the offense.
The duo shined again to set up a last second touchdown before the half came to a close. Herbert let it fly to Pittman for a 39-yard reception to put the Ducks in the red zone.
He finished 18-32 for 261 yards and two touchdowns. Yes, Herbert’s stunning passes were against a Colorado pass defense that entered the game ranked 124th in the nation.
But, they could have played down to their opponent. They didn’t and the Duck offense gained rhythm and confidence as they enter the toughest part of their schedule. Herbert showed up in the spotlight and now he must shine the rest of the way for Oregon to stay atop the North Division through tougher opponents.