Ducks

No. 11 Oregon Ducks defeat the UCLA Bruins after dominating off of turnovers

Ducks

The No. 11 Oregon Ducks (3-0) walked out of Autzen Stadium with the win, but there's still plenty of work to do in Eugene, Oregon 

Entering the game as 17-point favorites, Oregon got all it could handle from Chip Kelly's UCLA Bruins (1-2) to leave with a three-point victory, 38-35.

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Here are the key takeaways from the contest.

1. Oregon won the turnover battle 

Heading into the game, the Ducks defense had failed to force a turnover. Surprising given the defense led the Pac-12 in that category last season.

Andy Avalos' unit looked more like 2019 forcing three first-half turnovers: two fumble recoveries and a pick-six interception from Jordan Happle to end the first half.  

Oregon scored 21 points on either the play which forced the turnover or the play immediately after. Besides those scores, the Ducks had just one solid offensive drive (13 plays, 70 yards) but it ended with a field goal. 

The Ducks won the turnover battle 4-1. 

2. Oregon's defense misses the opt-outs

Despite returning Dede Lenoir, Mykael Wright, Verone McKinley and Nick Pickett, the Ducks defense sorely misses Jevon Holland, Brady Breeze, and Thomas Graham Jr: three defensive backs who opted out of the season to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft. 

After having 11 interceptions in 2019 (tied for 11th in the nation), the Ducks have just two through three games with both coming Saturday against UCLA. 

 

3. Running the Quarterback Opens Up the Running and Passing Game

Oregon has run the quarterback more under Joe Moorhead than at any point since Chip Kelly left for Tampa Bay and it has paid off.

Tyler Shough entered the game averaging 83.0 rushing yards per game, an Oregon record for a quarterback in his first two starts. 

On Saturday, the Ducks scored twice off of pass plays that were disguised as quarterback runs. First, the Ducks faked a QB Power with Travis Dye acting as the lead blocker. Instead, Dye was running a seam route which was completed for his third receiving touchdown in two games. 

Then in the third quarter, Shough faked a zone-read while tight end Hunter Kampmoyer leaked into the endzone uncovered. Shough easily completed the pass to take a ten-point lead. 

Next, Oregon will travel to Reser Stadium to play rival Oregon State (1-2) on Friday, November 27th at 4:00 p.m. PT.