Oregon Ducks

Oregon's continuing QB competition could be good or bad for the Ducks

Oregon's continuing QB competition could be good or bad for the Ducks

If we are to believe Oregon coach Mark Helfrich, and there's evidence to go either way on that, the Ducks' quarterback competition remains wide open between senior transfer Dakota Prukop, redshirt freshman Travis Jonsen and true freshmann Terry Wilson.

To be fair, there's zero reason for Helfrich to tip his hand either way at this point. It's not as if a Marcus Mariota or Darron Thomas is returning as an unchallenged starter. 

Sources say that it's anywhere from a 75 percent to a 90 percent chance Prukop opens the season as the starter Sept. 3 against U.C. Davis at Autzen Stadium. 

Helfrich's words at Pac-12 Media Days, however, indicate otherwise.   

"I think it's a three-man race coming out of spring," Helfrich said. "And I think all three of those guys will be drastically different when they show up in the fall."

Helfrich said he expects a summer of throwing with receivers and further absorbing the playbook to result in a dramatic leap in consistency for all three quarterback contenders. But is there really a true competiton in play, or is that understandable coach-speak? Probably a bit of both. Let's look at the pros and cons involved in the possible scenarios surrounding this position heading into fall camp, which begins Aug. 8:

1. Dakota Prukop is the unchallenged starter. 

Pro: If Prukup demonstrated during spring that he can deliver a Pac-12 title then internally naming him the unchallenged starter is all good, even if the formal public statements are to the contrary. 

It is unlikely, however, that Prukop made such an impression during the spring. At least, no such word has leaked out that Prukop lit it up during closed practices, and he certainly didn't put forth a dominant effort during the spring game.

We've heard positives about his progress, but he has not yet seized the job like Vernon Adams Jr. did within a few days of showing up to fall camp last year. Then again, Adams faced less competitoin. 

Con: If Prukop becomes the guy by default, Oregon would have a problem. The last thing the Ducks want to see is Jonsen and Wilson not demonstrate at least the ability to produce as a starter. In this scenario, Prukop being the unchallenged starter because nobody is capable of challenging him and not because he is playing great football would certainly lead to trouble on the field with no Plan B in place. 

2. Jonsen truly pushes Prukop. 

Pro: The positve here would be that the Ducks could see the end to recruiting Big Sky quarterbacks to rescue the program. If Prokop appears to be a strong candidate to start but is facing a tough battle from the former No. 3-rated dual-threat quarterback in the nation, the Ducks are in business behind center for years to come. 

Plus, Oregon would know that if Prukop went down the team wouldn't skip a beat with Jonsen in the lineup. A Pac-12 title would be within reach. 

Con: If Jonsen is pushing Prukop because the latter is proving to be less than expected, the Ducks are headed toward a 7-5 record.

Should Jonsen win the job it must be because he is amazing in the same way Marcus Mariota took the job as a redshirt freshman away from redshirt sophomore Bryan Bennett prior to the 2012 season. Bennett, who ended up in an NFL camp after transferring and starting at Southeastern Louisiana, certainly had the goods to be a successful starter at Oregon. He simply lost out to a future Heisman Trophy winner. If Prukop loses out to a struggling redshirt freshman simply because he doesn't offer more than Jonsen does, the Ducks are in trouble. Remember, Oregon went after Prukop because the coaching staff wasn't confident Jonsen, who missed most of the available practice reps during his redshirt season because of a toe injury, would be ready to carry the load this season. If neither is capable, the Las Vegas Bowl awaits. 

3. Wilson truly has a shot to become the starter.  

Pro: He would have to be phenomenal. As in, the next Robert Griffin III (check the dreads). This scenario would require a special player to have arrived for spring as a three-star recruit and steal the job away from Prukop and Jonsen. For that to happen, the coaching staff would have to believe that Wilson is a future Heisman candidate that must get on the field right now. 

Con: If the above isn't the case, then that means Jonsen and Prukop lost out to a promising freshman who clearly is too inexperienced to win it. This would likely mean Prukop is a disgruntled backup second-guessing his decision to transfer to Oregon while Jonsen would be plotting a transfer in the winter while the coaching staff begins searching for another transfer. 

All bad. 


The best-cased scenario for Oregon is as follows: Prukop wins the job over a very competent Jonsen whom coaches believe the Ducks could win with if needed.  Jonsen receives meaningful time in blowout victories, and maybe a spot start due to injury (never ideal to have the starter go down but at least it would mean more game time for Jonsen). Jonsen continues to grow as a player and enters next season as an impact first-year starter with Wilson, who redshirts this season, as the backup. 

If the quarterback competition plays out in this fashion the Ducks will have a strong chance to prove doubters wrong by claiming the Pac-12 North Division and maybe the conference championship.

If not, the Ducks will fall short of achieving a 10-win season for the second consecutive year. 

No 20 Oregon's running game worst since 2006 with No. 7 Stanford looming

No 20 Oregon's running game worst since 2006 with No. 7 Stanford looming

No. 20 Oregon is heading into its biggest game in years on Saturday against No. 7 Stanford with a huge red flag waiving above Autzen Stadium. 

The Ducks' running game thus far, while facing a very weak non-conference schedule, is the worst that the program has produced since 2005 when UO adopted the no-huddle spread offense. This is not where Oregon (3-0) wants to be with the Cardinal up next. We've all seen what Stanford's defenses of the past did to some of the best Oregon running teams ever. Imagine what the Cardinal (3-0, 1-0 Pac-12) could do to this current Ducks' rushing attack if they do not make a huge turnaround on Saturday.

Here are the statistical facts:

  • Oregon's 214 yards rushing per game leads the Pac-12 but it is the least amount of rushing production UO has averaged since 2006 when the Ducks averaged 181.8 yards per game. However, that total came on 36.3 attempts per game at 5.0 yards per carry against an entire schedule. This year's 214 average has been produced on 46 carries per game at 4.7 yards per carry against the likes of Bowling Green, Portland State and San Jose State. 
  • Oregon's showing on the ground in games against mid-major or FCS programs is the program's worst since 2009. From 2010 through 2017, Oregon went 14-0 against such teams while averaging 354.7 yards per game at 7.2 yards per carry. 
  • Oregon’s 134 yards rushing against San Jose State is the program’s worst performance against such competition since the 2009 season opener at Boise State when the Ducks lost 19-8 and rushed for just 31 net yards. Beyond that debacle in Chip Kelly’s first game, you have to go back to 2002 to find a worse rushing performance against a mid-major or FCS program when Oregon rushed for 108 yards in a 28-24 win over Fresno State.
  • Oregon's 212 yards against Bowling Green on 42 carries (5.0 per) is the second lowest showing since Boise State in 2009. 
  • The previous low since 2010 came in 2016 when the Ducks rushed for 251 on 37 carries at 6.7 per carry against UC Davis. The lowest yards per carry during that stretch came against Arkansas State in 2012 when the Ducks averaged 5.21 on 57 carries for 297 yards.


As for the 2009 Oregon team, Kelly righted that ship and the team average 231 rushing yards per game while cranking up production in conference play. The Ducks clearly could do the same. But out the gate, Oregon is not in the same place that it was in terms of running the football in recent years. Meanwhile, Stanford is every bit as formidable against the run. 

Stanford has allowed just 7.7 points and 104.7 rushing yards per game. When Stanford is playing elite defense it has given Oregon's spread offense fits. The Cardinal shut down UO in 2012 and 2013 with national title berths on the line, and UO has Marcus Mariota at quarterback. 

This Oregon team is not on the same level as Mariota's Ducks teams. But, Stanford's defense appears to be as dominant as it has ever been. 

However, a good sign for Oregon is that during last year's 49-7 loss at Stanford, the Ducks managed to rush for 286 yards on 6.4 per carry. That performance, of course, involved running back Royce Freeman rushing for 141 yards. With Freeman now in the NFL, UO will be leaning on a group of backs with redshirt senior Tony Brooks-James and redshirt freshman C.J. Verdell.

"All of those guys have shown that they can help us win," UO coach Mario Cristobal said. "We're making this week very competitive. "

Not having a true lead running back could prove problematic in this type game. UO needs that one guy it can rely on to do all of the little things that a true lead back does, and that includes being a threat on every down to not only break a long run, but get two or three years when seemingly nothing at all is there. 

Against Stanford, those short runs could prove to be the difference between quarterback Justin Herbert routinely getting sacked on third down and long, or producing a high rate of success on third and short situations. 

Stanford's defense is a completely different animal than what Oregon has seen so far this season. Cristobal said the Cardinal not only plays sound schematic football, the players are very disruptive. The defensive linemen are big and physical. The linebackers are extremely sound tacklers. They won't easily get juked out in space and certainly are not going to get run over by UO's smallish group of running backs. 

On the back end, Stanford has usually deploys large defense backs that are very physical. No difference this season, Cristobal said. They could give Oregon's receivers some problems with their physicality. 

Cristobal has preached becoming more physical at the line of scrimmage. The offseason program and practices are designed to improve the team in that area so it can meet head on with a team such as Stanford.

Of course, we heard all of that last year and even the final two years under former offensive line coach Steve Greatwood during the Mark Helfrich era. 

Now it's time for this "new," more physical approach to prove itself and actually become more productive. 

"It has to," Cristobal said. 

If not, Stanford will be proudly waiving its Cardinal flag in Autzen Stadium. 

Five reasons why Oregon vs. Stanford is worth the hype

Five reasons why Oregon vs. Stanford is worth the hype

The undefeated No. 20 Oregon Ducks get the opportunity to upset No. 7 Stanford at home in front of the nation, in prime time (5 p.m. on ABC). The winner will take the early lead in the race for the Pac-12 North Division, be the front-runner for Pac-12 champion and announce its presence as a college football playoff contender.

Here are 5 reasons why this game is worth the hype:

1. Heisman Trophy hopefuls and Sunday’s potential stars:

This match-up is basically an NFL scout’s dream. Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert and Stanford running back Bryce Love are both potential first round NFL draft selections. Saturday is a chance for either (or both?) to put themselves on the top of draft boards and forefront of Heisman Trophy talk. Who will seize it?

Love is a 2017 Heisman Trophy runner-up. An offensive weapon with quick change of pace and explosive speed, at any moment he can burst through a hole and take it the distance. The senior sat out last week with an undisclosed injury, but will return against Oregon. Against the Ducks in 2017, Love reached the 100-yard rushing mark in less than five minutes (ouch!), and finished with 147 yards on 17 carries before leaving the game early in the third quarter.

Love isn’t the only Heisman Trophy hopeful throwing up statistics. Oregon is averaging 42.9 points per game in quarterback Justin Herbert’s 18 career starts.  He is tied for second in the nation with 12 touchdown passes in 2018. Through his first 19 games, Herbert’s 4,450 career-passing yards are the most all-time for an Oregon quarterback. Yes, even more than Marcus Mariota, who had 4,401 yards through 19 games.

It’s not just Herbert and Love that could shine on Sundays, eight of the top-100 NFL prospects will be on the field this Saturday. Jalen Jelks is left off of CBS’s list but is ranked as the 21st best prospect by NFL.com.


2. Oregon and Stanford; It’s like looking in the mirror...?

Oregon and Stanford’s star players have more in common than you might think. Besides being potential first-round draft picks, Herbert and Love both are biology majors that aspire to be doctors. In fact, Love decided to forgo the 2018 NFL Draft in part to finish his undergraduate degree so that when his NFL career is over he can made a quick transition to medical school.

Both teams want to control the line of scrimmage. Stanford coach David Shaw’s physical approach has proved successful, his career record for the Cardinal is 76-22. Two weeks ago the Cardinal sacked USC quarterback JT Daniels four times. 

Oregon coach Mario Cristobal’s smash-mouth approach emphasized weight-room gains for linemen and the entire Ducks team; including running back Tony Brooks-James(15 lbs) and Herbert (20 lbs).

(Side note- Oregon’s offensive line must win in the trenches to give Herbert a chance against a Cardinal defense that has allowed a nation’s best average of only 7.7 points per game.)

Both Oregon and Stanford are coming off of lackluster victories. The Ducks’ closer-than-expected 35-22 victory over San Jose State exposed uncertainty at the running back position while Herbert had an uncharacteristic performance and tossed two interceptions. The Cardinal were without Love in a 30-10 home win over UC Davis.

“We’re just really focused on Stanford and playing a great game,” linebacker Troy Dye said. “Our goal is to take the Pac and win the Pac-12, so we just have to go out there and start off on a great foot and get a win.”


3.  Eugene will be rockin’

I can guarantee one thing for Saturday. Autzen Stadium is going to bring it. Ducks fans have been waiting a long time for a match-up like this.

It’s perfectly timed with the University of Oregon's academic calendar. Classes begin next week, bringing students to Eugene (and Autzen's student section) just in time for this weekend's game.

Saturday will mark the 10th time the Ducks have hosted ESPN’s College Game Day. It'll also be the first time since September of 2014, against Michigan State, Oregon has been highlighted as the national game of the week. The show will air from 6-9 a.m. on ESPN, and will be staged in the grass area of Oregon's memorial quad. More info here.

Oregon is a 2-point underdog and it’s a night game. That is a combination for a rowdy Autzen Stadium, and Cristobal wants nothing less.

"It's very welcome. It's exciting," said Cristobal. "Autzen is unmatched as it is, now throw in the extra ingredient of GameDay, ABC, and everything that goes with it. We expect, we want, and we need Autzen to be Autzen at its finest. We expect that to happen."


4. A brief history lesson to boil your blood

Over the last decade, Oregon and Stanford are 4-4.  The teams have rich history of spoiling the other’s seasons.

It started in 2009 when unranked Stanford and freshman quarterback Andrew Luck uprooted the then-No. 7 Oregon’s first season under head coach Chip Kelly, handing the Ducks their only loss in conference play.  

The next season, revenge was sweet for the Ducks. 2010 was the year Oregon blasted the entire conference en route to the national championship game.

In 2011, the Cardinal were riding a 17-game home winning streak and Luck was a Heisman front runner. No. 6 Oregon handed undefeated No. 3 Stanford its first loss on the season and ending its BCS Championship Game hopes.

2012, not so sweet for Oregon. David Shaw got his first win in the series when No. 14 Stanford shut Autzen Stadium down in overtime with a 17-14 victory over the undefeated No. 1 Ducks.

For the second-straight year, in 2013, Oregon was undefeated heading into the Stanford game. Duck quarterback Marcus Mariota was limited due to a knee injury. The Ducks lost 20-26, putting Stanford into the Rose Bowl for the second season in a row.

In 2014, Mariota was healthy and No. 5 Oregon smoked Stanford 45-16 on their way to the inaugural College Football Playoff.

Oregon’s last victory over Stanford came in 2015 when the unranked Ducks upset No. 7 Stanford 38-36 at Stanford Stadium, keeping the Cardinal out of the Playoff.

The Cardinal has dominated in the last two matchups.

Stanford pummeled Mark Helfrich’s final Oregon team 52-27 during the 2016 meeting at Autzen.

Last season, Stanford destroyed Oregon under Willie Taggart, 49-7, in a game in which the Ducks were without Herbert and with plenty of penalties (nine for 109 yards).


5. Future

We are barely midway through September but the first game under the lights for Oregon could have some major future implications for the Ducks.

A win would give the Ducks a chance to make a run at the Pac-12 North title, and legitimize the idea that Oregon is back as one of the Pac-12's best teams. Not to mention, upsetting Stanford (in Nike swag) would play well on the recruiting trail.

“You need to meet a team like this head-on,” Cristobal said. “You have to play your best football.”

Among the prospects in Eugene on Saturday will be 5-star quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, who announced his visit on Twitter.

Uiagalelei is the No. 1 quarterback prospect in the 2020 class, according to 247sports.  

There is a lot on the line, it’s show time for Oregon.

Week 2 ProDucks: Royce Freeman reaches milestone; Marcus Mariota ailing

USA today

Week 2 ProDucks: Royce Freeman reaches milestone; Marcus Mariota ailing

Denver rookie running back Royce Freeman scored his first touchdown in the NFL on a one-yard run against Oakland on Sunday. 

Freeman finished with eight carries for 28 yards rushing, a dip from last week's 71-yard performance against Seattle. 

Quarterback Marcus Mariota did not play against Houston because he could not properly grip the ball in this right hand due to an elbow injury suffered the previous week against Miami. Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel said Mariota's status for this week at Jacksonville remains up in the air. 

Cleveland cornerback Terrance Mitchell continues to have a strong season. On Sunday, he had five solo tackles and forced two fumbles while recovering one during a loss at New Orleans. 

Kansas City receiver De'Anthony Thomas contributed to another win. He returned a punt 48 yards and recovered a fumble on special teams in a win at Pittsburgh. 

San Francisco's former Oregon defensive ends continued to play well. Arik Armstead had three solo tackles, including one for loss, and two quarterback hurries against Detroit. DeForest Buckner had five solo tackles, with one sack and two quarterback hurries. 

Watch out for Kiko Alonso. He is off to a great start with Miami. In Sunday's win over the New York Jets, Alonso had 13 solo tackles and forced two fumbles. 

There are 20 former Ducks currently on NFL rosters and practice squads. Scroll below to find out how they performed over the weekend. 

Below is a team-by-team list of former Ducks, Beavers and others from around the state, currently on NFL rosters If we've missed anyone, please let us know with an email to AaronFentress@CSNNW.com:







Score: Atlanta won 31-24 over Carolina.  

  • Andy Levitre, Oregon State, guard: Started at left guard but was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with a torn triceps suffered against  Carolina. Levitre will likely miss the rest of the season, according to reports. 
  • Rocky Ortiz, Oregon State, running back: Started at fullback and appeared in 12 plays on offense and five on special teams. 



Score: Lost 34-23 at Cincinnati.

  • Randin Crecelius, Portland State, guard: The undrafted rookie free agent is on the practice squad. 
  • Patrick Onwuasor, Portland State, linebacker: Started at linebacker and had eight tackles, three solo. Also had one quarterback hurry.  




Score: Lost 31-20 to the Los Angeles Chargers. 

  • Kyle Peko, Oregon State, nose tackle: Is on the team's practice squad.  
  • Jordan Poyer, Oregon State, safety: Started at safety and had seven tackles, six solo. Also recovered a fumble and had two tackles for loss. 



Score: Lost 31-24 at Atlanta. 

  • David Mayo, Texas State (Scappoose H.S.), linebacker: Started at outside linebacker and had two solo tackles. 




Score: Won 24-17 over Seattle. 

  • Kyle Long, Oregon Ducks, guard: Started at right guard. 
  • Ryan Nall, Oregon State (Central Catholic H.S., Portland), running back: Is on the team's practice squad. 





Score: Won 34-23 over Baltimore. 

  • Jake Fisher, Oregon Ducks, offensive tackle: Appeared in one play on offense and four on special teams. 





Score: Lost 21-18 at New Orleans.  

  • Terrance Mitchell, Oregon Ducks, defensive back: Started and had five solo tackles and forced two fumbles and one recovery. 




Score: Won 20-13 over the New York Giants. 



Score: Won 20-19 over Oakland. 

  • Royce Freeman, Oregon Ducks, running back: Scored his first NFL touchdown from one yard out. Carried the ball eight times for 28 yards. 




Score: Lost 30-27 at San Francisco. 








Score: Lost 20-17 at Tennessee.

  • Brennan Scarlett, California and Stanford (Central Catholic H.S., Portland): Started at the "Jack" linebacker and had three solo tackles. 













Score: Won 42-37 at Pittsburgh. 

  • Steven Nelson, Oregon State, defensive back: Started at right cornerback and had eight tackles, four solo, and defended one pass. 
  • De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon Ducks, wide receiver: Had a 48-yard punt return and recovered a fumble. Last week, Thomas forced a fumble on special teams. 




Score: Won 31-20 at Buffalo. 

  • Tyrell Williams, Western Oregon (Cascade H.S., Turner), wide receiver: Started and caught three passes for 48 yards. 





Score: Won 34-0 over Arizona. 

  • Brandin Cooks, Oregon State, wide receiver: Caught seven passes for 159 yards. 
  • Johnny Hekker, Oregon State, punter: Punted twice for 102 yards, an average of 51 yards per punt. Also made a 20-yard field goal and an extra point. 
  • Troy Hill, Oregon Ducks, defensive back: Played but did not have a tackle. 
  • Sean Mannion, Oregon State, quarterback: Did not play. 
  • Johnny Mundt, Oregon Ducks, tight end: Appeared in six special teams plays. 
  • Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska (Grant H.S.), defensive tackle: Had one assisted tackle and one quarterback hurry.  





Score: Miami won 20-12 over the New York Jets.

  • Kiko Alonso, Oregon Ducks, linebacker: Started at outside linebacker and had 13 solo tackles and two forced fumbles. 





Score: Tied 29-29 at Green Bay in OT. 

  • Mike Remmers, Oregon State, offensive tackle: Started at right tackle and played all 73 offensive snaps. 




Score: Lost 31-20 at Jacksonville.  

  • Ryan Allen, Louisiana Tech (West Salem H.S.), punter: Punted four times for 222 yards, an average of 55.5 yards per punt. 
  • Kenjon Barner, Oregon Ducks, running back: Inactive. 
  • Patrick Chung, Oregon Ducks, safety: Had three solo tackles. 





Score: Won 21-18 over Cleveland.  

Max Unger, Oregon Ducks, center: Started at center.




Score: Lost 20-13 at Dallas. 

  • Jonathan Stewart, Oregon Ducks, running back: The backup carried the ball twice for one yard. 
  • Aldrick Rosas, Southern Oregon, kicker: Made two field goals of 28 and 38 yards.   













Score: Lost 21-18 at Tampa Bay. 

  • D.J. Alexander, Oregon State, linebacker: Had one tackle on special teams.  
  • Haloti Ngata, Oregon Ducks, defensive tackle: Appeared in 36 snaps and had one assisted tackle. 
  • Isaac Seumalo, Oregon State, guard: Appeared in four offensive snaps.





Score: Lost 42-27 to Kansas City.   

  • Kameron Canaday, Portland State, long snapper: Appeared in 10 special teams plays.  





Score: Won 30-27 over Detroit. 

  • Arik Armstead, Oregon Ducks, defensive end: Started at right defensive end. Had three solo tackles, one for loss, and two quarterback hurries. 
  • Victor Bolden Jr., Oregon State, wide receiver:  Did not play. Serving four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances. 
  • DeForest Buckner, Oregon Ducks, defensive end: Started at left defensive end. Had five solo tackles with one sack an two quarterback hurries. 





Score: Lost 24-17 at Chicago. 

  • Ed Dickson, Oregon Ducks, tight end: Out with an injury.  
  • Dion Jordan, Oregon Ducks, defensive end: Played but did not record a tackle. 





Score: Won 21-18 over Philadelphia. 

  • Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State, running back: Had five carries for 13 yards.  





Score: Won 20-17 over Houston.  



Score: Lost 21-9 at home to Indianapolis. 


Best and Worst from Oregon's victory over San Jose State

Best and Worst from Oregon's victory over San Jose State

Yes, No. 20 Oregon remains undefeated heading into Pac-12 conference play with it’s 35-22 victory over San Jose State (0-3). Did the good outweigh the bad in the closer-than-expected victory? You be the judge.


Hey, a win is a win: The victory extended Oregon’s home non-conference win streak to 23 games.
 The Ducks have won 23 of last 25 games as a ranked team at home

Oregon’s run defense: Oregon held the Spartans to 29 rushing yards on 28 carries. The Ducks are holding opponents to 2.2 yards per carry over last five games.

Don’t mess with Justin Hollins: The outside linebacker recorded a team-high eight tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one interception. He has a tackle for loss in seven straight games and a sack in all three games this season.

Ugo Amadi is everywhere: The senior safety provided a spark on special teams, returning three punts for 100 yards, including one 57-yard return that was just short of a touchdown. On defense he finished with a team-high eight tackles and two pass break-ups. 

Jevon Holland, remember the name: The freshman safety recorded his first career interception with a first quarter pick.

Red zone warrior, Cyrus Habibi-Likio: When the Ducks need a running back to punch in a touchdown, they look to the freshman. Habibi-Likio scored twice against San Jose State and has four touchdowns on five carries this season.

Limited injuries: Right guard Dallas Warmack and left tackle Penei Sewell both suffered ankle injuries on Saturday but coach Mario Cristobal said the were full-go Sunday in practice and 100 percent healthy. Brenden Schooler (concussion protocol) will be evaluated today. Kicker Adam Stick, who has missed the first three games, is expected to return for Stanford.



Justin Herbert’s uncharacteristic performance: Herbert was intercepted twice by the nation’s second worst pass defense in San Jose State. He seemed uncomfortable in the pocket, forcing too-tight throws and underthrowing receivers. The tight score kept Herbert in the game until the final minutes, when freshman Tyler Shough took his place.

Braxton Burmeister injured: The backup quarterback was on the sideline with crutches after undergoing a minor procedure on his knee. Cristobal expects him to return in two weeks.

Running back uncertainty: Oregon’s six scholarship running backs got playing time on Saturday but only rushed for an average carry of 2.7 yards, totaling 134 rushing yards. Cristobal says the staff is going to make the running back position very competitive this week for carries. While Tony Brooks-James is the starter, the rest of the rotation will depend on this week’s practices.


What's next? No. 20 Oregon vs. No. 7 Stanford. Better get your signs ready, because ESPN's college game day is headed to Eugene

More Ducks:

Oregon Ducks fly into conference play on the back of their defense

GameDay headed to Eugene for Stanford vs. Oregon

Oregon Quarterback Justin Herbert is seeing Redd

Oregon football most valuable program in Pac-12 conference

Official: 4-star WR Jalen Hall off Oregon football team


Oregon football holds steady at No. 20 in AP Poll

Oregon football holds steady at No. 20 in AP Poll

The Ducks (3-0) remain steady at No. 20 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll after escaping non-conference play undefeated. 

Oregon's 33-22 victory over San Jose State extended its streak of consecutive non-conference home wins to 24. The closer-than-expected win left the Ducks unsatisfied and was marked with inconsistent offensive play and an uncharacteristic performance from quarterback Justin Herbert.

UO opens Pac-12 play against No. 7 Stanford next Saturday in Autzen Stadium at 5 p.m. Get your signs ready... College Game Day returns to Eugene for the game

Is Oregon ready for Stanford?

"I think it’s time to go find out," said coach Mario Cristobal.

The only other Pac-12 team in the AP Top 25 is No. 10 Washington. USC dropped out after losing to Texas. 

Some highlights around the nation: Oregon State's former defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake and BYU upset No. 6 Wisconsin. Washington shut down Utah in 21-7 victory. Texas beat formerly ranked No. 22 USC 37-14 to give second-year coach Tom Herman his biggest win in burnt orange. 

More Ducks:

Oregon Ducks fly into conference play on the back of their defense

GameDay headed to Eugene for Stanford vs. Oregon

Oregon Quarterback Justin Herbert is seeing Redd

Oregon football most valuable program in Pac-12 conference

Official: 4-star WR Jalen Hall off Oregon football team

Marcus Mariota did not start today for Tennessee

USA Today

Marcus Mariota did not start today for Tennessee

Former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota did not start for Tennessee in today's game against Houston, despite reports all week that he would likely return from injuring his elbow last week at Miami. 

Mariota, according to reports, still can't properly grip the football in his right hand. 

Mariota injured his right elbow when Miami defensive end William Hayes hit him while the Titans' quarterback carried out a fake after handing off the ball to a running back. After the game, Mariota said that his hand felt numb from the injury.

Mariota completed 9 of 16 passes for 103 yards and two interceptions, both following the injury, during the 27-24 loss at the Dolphins (1-0). 

Blaine Gabbart started in place of Mariota. 

Oregon Ducks fly into conference play on the back of their defense

Oregon Ducks fly into conference play on the back of their defense

No. 20 Oregon remains undefeated heading into Pac-12 conference play with a 35-22 victory over San Jose State (0-3), but the 3-0 Ducks aren't satisfied. 

The closer-than-expected win was marked with inconsistent offensive play and an uncharacteristic performance from quarterback Justin Herbert.

Herbert was intercepted twice by the nation’s second-worst pass defense in San Jose State. He seemed uncomfortable in the pocket while forcing too-tight throws and underthrowing receivers, like Dillon Mitchell on the first play of the game.

"Today we played some inconsistent football," coach Mario Cristobal said.

When asked about Herbert’s performance Crisotbal said, “I’m not disappointed with his play at all. I know he is very critical of himself, and that’s okay. We want our players to have high standards for themselves.”

He finished the game 16-of-34 for 309 passing yards and three touchdowns. 300 passing yards might seem like a good statistic but consider this: In SJSU’s first two games, UC Davis quarterback Jake Meier and Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew each finished with over 425 passing yards.

The tight score kept Herbert in the game until the final minutes, when freshman Tyler Shough took his place. Backup quarterback Braxton Burmeister was on the sideline with crutches after undergoing a minor procedure on his knee. Cristobal expects him to return in two weeks.

[READ: Oregon football most valuable program in Pac-12 conference]

It wasn’t all bad for Herbert and the Oregon offense. The Ducks splashed in some explosive plays that sent the 50,049 fans in Autzen into a frenzy.

A wide-open Jacob Breeland took a pass a career high 66-yards to the end zone for his first touchdown of the season.

Herbert also completed a 23-yard touchdown pass to CJ Verdell, who led Oregon today in rushing (42) and receiving yards (85), totaling 127 all-purpose yards.

Tony Brooks-James took a kickoff return 95 yards to the house, but it was negated by a costly holding penalty. The Ducks committed six penalties for 59 yards, which is still less than last season’s average of nine penalties a game.

But the real bright spot was the Duck run defense. Oregon held the Spartans to 29 rushing yards on 28 carries. So far this season, the Ducks have held opponents to 2.2 yards per carry.

Oregon also had 11 pass breakups and two interceptions, including freshman Jevon Holland’s first career pick.

Senior Ugo Amadi was seemingly everywhere, finishing with a team-high eight tackles and two pass break-ups. He also provided a spark on special teams, returning three punts for 100 yards, including one 57-yard return that was just short of a touchdown.

“(Amadi) was making more plays in the backfield than I was, “ said outside linebacker Justin Hollins. “To have a defensive back like that is tremendous.”

Hollins could have been the MVP of the game. Hollins had a team-high eight tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one interception. He has a tackle for loss in seven straight games and a sack in all three games this season.

“Justin Hollins is always wreaking havoc off the edge, always in the quarterback’s face and applying pressure,” said linebacker Troy Dye. “He finally got a pick, he kind of bobbled it, if he would have dropped it I would have got on him.”

Oregon’s run defense is peaking at the right time, with No. 9 Stanford and running back Bryce Love headed to Eugene to open conference play next Saturday. All eyes will be on the Ducks, as ESPN’s college game day visiting for the prime time 5 p.m. game.

Is Oregon ready for Stanford?

"I think it’s time to go find out," said Cristobal.


GameDay headed to Eugene for Stanford vs. Oregon

USA Today Img.

GameDay headed to Eugene for Stanford vs. Oregon

It is official. The long wait is over Oregon fans. College GameDay is headed back to Eugene. 

Stanford vs. Oregon. No. 9 vs. No. 20. Bryce Love vs. Justin Herbert. These two teams are on a collision course for the big stage and GameDay said yes. 

"It will be a really cool experience," says Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert who is a Eugene-native and grew up watching College GameDay come through Eugene as a frequent stop. GameDay has been to Eugene a total of nine times, with six straight years over the course of 2009-2014.


Game Information:

Stanford at Oregon; Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon; kickoff 5 PM (PT); Saturday, September 22nd, 2018.



Kenjon Barner reunites with former Oregon mentor in New England

USA Today

Kenjon Barner reunites with former Oregon mentor in New England

Former Oregon running back Kenjon Barner last suited up for a NFL game that mattered as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles when they defeated New England in Super Bowl LII. 

Fast forward seven months later and Barner finds himself in the lair of his former enemy as a new member of the Patriots, who signed him this week to help the team solve its running back depth issues.

There, he discovered a familiar face in former Oregon safety Patrick Chung, who was a senior in 2008 when Barner redshirted with the Ducks. 

“He’s taken me under his wing again, like he did my freshman year,” Barner told reporters.

Barner became available after Carolina - the team that drafted him in the sixth round in 2013 - released him during roster cuts following the preseason. He had signed with the Panthers after leaving the Eagles as a free agent. Now Barner must learn a third offensive system in less than a year and do so in a few days in case he is called upon to play Sunday at Jacksonville (1-0). 

“It’s a lot to learn, a lot to take in, but I’ve had a lot of help to get to where I’m at...," Barner said. "Still things to learn, obviously, in such a short window of time, but I’m definitely feeling comfortable with the things I do know.”

New England (1-0) was dealt a blow when running back Jeremy Hill was lost for the season with a knee injury during the team's win Sunday over Houston. Hill's misfortune created an opportunity for Barner, who also returns punts. 

There is a chance Barner won't be activated on Sunday. There is also a chance he could play, and play a lot.  One thing for sure is that Barner said he can definitely feel the Patriots differ from other NFL teams he has played for, but not different from his playing days at Oregon.   

"The way they do things around here is a lot different [from NFL teams], but not for me," Barner said. "It reminds me of college. There’s no time wasted. Everything is efficient. The attention to detail here is something I’ve never experienced.”