Oregon Ducks

Preseason award watch lists rolling in for Justin Herbert

Preseason award watch lists rolling in for Justin Herbert

From the UO athletic department:

For the second consecutive day, Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert landed on a preseason watch list. This time, Herbert was one of 30 quarterbacks on the Davey O’Brien Award Watch List, announced on Tuesday by the Davey O’Brien Foundation.

[READ: Justin Herbert named to Maxwell Award watch list for America's College Player of the Year]

The Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award is presented annually to the nation’s best college quarterback and is the oldest national quarterback award. Herbert is one of eight players on the watch list that were semifinalists last year.

Herbert enters the 2019 campaign with the nation’s longest active streak of 28 consecutive games with a touchdown pass. On Monday, the Eugene, Ore., native was named to the watch list for the 83rd annual Maxwell Award, which is which is presented to America's College Player of the Year.

The projected top quarterback in the 2019 NFL Draft, Herbert announced that he would be returning for his senior season prior to Oregon’s win over Michigan State in the Redbox Bowl. The Eugene, Ore., product started all 13 games in 2018, passing for 3,151 yards and 29 touchdowns.

Herbert Quick Hits 

» Two-time Academic All-America first team honoree and the reigning Google Cloud Academic All-America® Team Member of the Year.

» Owns a streak of 28 consecutive games with a TD pass, good for the longest active streak in the nation.

» Has led Oregon to an average of 38.3 points per game over his 28 career starts.

» Oregon is 15-6 in his 21 starts over the last two seasons (2017 & 18).

» Enters 2019 season ranked fifth among active FBS leaders in passing TDs (63) and eighth in passing yards (7,070).

» Has 23 TD passes and two interceptions in 11 career Pac-12 road games (10 starts).

Preseason Honors

» Davey O’Brien Award Watch List
» Maxwell Award Watch List
» Phil Steele All-America third team
» Athlon Sports Pac-12 first team
» Phil Steele Pac-12 first team
» No. 11 on Sports Illustrated Top 100 Players

How Oregon's offense changes without Jacob Breeland

How Oregon's offense changes without Jacob Breeland

The Ducks have lost their fifth player for the season due to injury. Senior tight end Jacob Breeland’s injury suffered in No. 12 Oregon’s victory over Colorado will sideline him the remainder of the season and leave a gaping hole in the Duck offense.

Without Breeland, the Ducks are without their leading receiver and quarterback Justin Herbert’s go-to guy.

Breeland was off to his best season as a Duck. His reliability has proven to be an asset for Herbert, catching 26 of his 32 targets this season. Breeland has been one of Oregon’s main sources for explosive plays: totaling 24 receptions of 20-plus yards in his career, seven this season already. His 403 receiving yards leads FBS tight ends and his six touchdowns is tied for the lead.

Will the offense change without Breeland?

After Breeland went down in the first quarter, no tight ends caught a pass in UO's win over Colorado. Herbert targeted junior Hunter Kampmoyer in the third quarter but the would-be touchdown pass went through his hands. Oregon coach Mario Cristobal acknowledged that Kampmoyer would "like to have back" that incompletion in the end zone.

Would Oregon consider shifting towards playing more wide receivers? No. Cristobal added that there is no plan to eliminate the tight end position from the offense because that would negatively impact the running game and conflict with the team’s “personality”.

Is depth at tight end going to be an issue?

Next up at tight end is senior Ryan Bay and Kampmoyer, who are both listed as starters. The upperclassmen received a lot of reps leading up to the season when Breeland was rehabbing a previous injury but don’t have much in-game production:

-Kampmoyer has two career catches for 25 yards and a touchdown

-Bay scored his first career touchdown vs. Nevada and has 14 career catches for 129 yards

Redshirt freshman Spencer Webb will move back to tight end from slot receiver, where he moved in August when the wide receiver unit experienced multiple injuries. Remember: Webb delivered as the big-bodied target Herbert desperately needed against Auburn.

[READ: Spencer Webb: a "natural" offensive weapon ready to be cut loose]

Also, Patrick Herbert, who has been with the developmental squad, will get more time with the travel squad.

Oregon previously lost tight end Cam McCormick for the remainder of the season.

“The way we develop, the way we train, we have confidence in the next man up,” Cristobal said. “It showed up Saturday again on both sides of the ball. Complete confidence and trust in our guys and we have to continue to prepare and continue to elevate the way that we prepare.”

How does this impact Saturday’s pivotal game?

Oregon (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) will face a tough defense in rival No. 25 Washington (5-2, 2-2) on Saturday (12:30 p.m., ABC). The Huskies are coming off of a win at Arizona in which the Huskies' defense tallied a season-high four takeaways. UW is currently riding a streak of 63 games of holding opponents to less than 35 points.

The loss of Breeland is significant in the critical Pac-12 North Division show down.

Pro Ducks: How did they do in NFL Week 6?

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USATI

Pro Ducks: How did they do in NFL Week 6?

Another NFL Sunday is in the books and with it, another chance for the former Oregon Ducks in the NFL to take center stage.

Here is how our Pro Ducks did:

Royce Freeman, Broncos: 

Royce Freeman had another solid outing to help the Broncos pick up their second win of the season, as he continues to be a two-headed monster in the Denver backfield with Phillip Lindsay. Freeman rushed the ball 11 times for 34 yards and caught five passes for 42 yards. 

Pharaoh Brown/Terrance Mitchell, Cleveland Browns:

The Browns may have lost to the Seahawks, but Terrance Mitchell did everything he could to make things come out the other way. Mitchell had six tackles, five solo. On the other side of the ball, tight end Pharaoh Brown was targeted just once, but hauled it in for a nine-yard gain.

Kenjon Barner, Atlanta Falcons:

Barner continues to be one of the more reliable returners in the NFL. He hasn't been used much on offense this season but on special teams, he's at home. Barner had three punt returns for 17 yards and one kick return for 24 yards. He didn't break one this weekend, but he is always a threat. 

Arik Armstead/DeForest Buckner, San Francisco 49ers:

Armstead and Buckner have been huge for the 49ers. San Francisco has surprised the entire NFL by going 5-0 to start the season, and a big part of that success is thanks to the defense. Armstead and Buckner are the anchors of the d-line, and they showed us why on Sunday. Buckner had four tackles, two solo, and one tackle for loss. While Armstead had six tackles, three solo, a half-sack, and one giant fumble recovery. 

De'Anthony Thomas, Kansas City Chiefs:

The Chiefs were upset by the Texans Sunday, and Thomas never really got it going. He had just one rush for four yards and was targeted in the passing game once but didn't register a catch. However, he did contribute three kick returns for 64 yards

Troy Hill, LA Rams:

The Rams fell victim to the undefeated 49ers, but Hill still had a solid game on defense. He had five tackles, four solo, and one pass deflection. 

Kiko Alonso, New Orleans Saints:

No one gave the Saints a chance after Drew Brees went down with an injury earlier this year. But in the four weeks since all they have done is go 4-0. In that time span, the defense has allowed an average of 16.75 points per game. On Sunday, the defense held Jacksonville to just six points, while Kiko Alonso had three tackles, two solo. 

Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans:

Mariota had a rough afternoon Sunday going 7 of 18 passing for 63 yards, and two interceptions. He was also sacked three times. He watched much of the game from the sideline after he was pulled for backup quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The biggest question for Mariota is whether or not he will be the Titans starting quarterback come next week... 

  


 

Good and bad injury updates for Oregon vs. Washington

Good and bad injury updates for Oregon vs. Washington

Oregon’s victory over Colorado was bittersweet.

A balanced Duck offense and strong defense = sweet.

Injury to Oregon’s leading receiver = bitter.

Senior Jacob Breeland suffered a left knee injury Friday night against Colorado.

Late in the first quarter, after catching a 22-yard pass from quarterback Justin Herbert, Breeland was tackled out of bounds and immediately grabbed his leg. Breeland did not get up for a few plays and was immediately taken to the medical tent. He did not return to the game.

In No. 12 Oregon’s organization chart for the upcoming rivalry game against No. 25 Washington, Breeland is not listed. Oreogn coach Mario Cristobal announced Breeland will be out for the remainder for the season.

 

His 403 receiving yards leads FBS tight ends and his six touchdowns is tied for the lead.

Breeland was off to his best season as a Duck. His reliability has proven to be an asset for Herbert, catching 26 of his 32 targets this season. Breeland has been one of Oregon’s main sources for explosive plays: totaling 24 receptions of 20-plus yards in his career, seven this season already.

Entering the season, Breeland was projected to go undrafted in the 2020 NFL Draft but his performance this season has changed that. Bleacher Report called Breeland one of their biggest risers in the NFL Draft and CBS Sports picked him to be a first round selection.

Next up at tight end is senior Ryan Bay, junior Hunter Kampmoyer, redshirt freshman Spencer Webb and true freshman Patrick Herbert. Oregon previously lost tight end Cam McCormick for the remainder of the season.

Sophomore safety Jevon Holland and senior linebacker Troy Dye, who also suffered injuries on Friday, are listed on the depth chart. After the game Cristobal said those injuries were “minor” and both are cleared to play at Washington. 
 

Seven former Ducks with chance to revitalize career in XFL

Seven former Ducks with chance to revitalize career in XFL

The return of the XFL creates an opportunity for 1,000 football players to revive their careers. The full list for the 2020 XFL player draft has been released and there are seven Ducks in the draft pool.

  • Quarterback Darron Thomas (Oregon, 2008-11)
  • Linebacker Josh Kaddu (Oregon, 2008-11)
  • Linebacker Christian French (Oregon, 2011-15)
  • Safety Erick Dargan (Oregon, 2010-14)
  • Offensive lineman Alex Balducci (Oregon, 2012-15)
  • Long snapper Tanner Carew (Oregon 2014-17)
  • Linebacker Johnny Ragin (Oregon 2014-16)

Thomas is one of the top star quarterback names on the list. The former Duck accounted for 74 touchdowns in two seasons as Oregon's starter from 2010-11. He led Oregon to two consecutive Pac-12 Championships, the national championship game after the 2010 season and won the Rose Bowl after 2011.

The 1,000 professional football players in the draft pool have accepted a Commissioner’s Invitation and passed a standard background check.
Each XFL team will fill its 71-man roster by selecting players from a set of positional groupings in the five-phased draft, with the exception of the quarterback position, which will be assigned to each team.

The draft will move quickly and is designed to be social. Teams will be given 90 seconds to make a selection and declare their picks through a video conference, which will be announced on social media.

Returning after a 19-year absence, the league promises rule innovations that will produce a faster-paced and more interesting games.

The eight-team league will draft players on Tuesday, October 15 and Wednesday, October 16. Training camp is scheduled for January and the season will begin Feb. 8, 2020.

 

Oregon Ducks move up in AP Poll after major upsets in top 25

Oregon Ducks move up in AP Poll after major upsets in top 25

The Oregon Ducks (5-1, 3-0) moved up from No. 13 to No. 12 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll, after thumping Colorado 45-3 in Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Or.

Oregon’s fifth straight win improves the Ducks to 3-0 in Pac-12 play for the first time since 2013 and preserves their spot at the top of the North Division with zero conference losses.

[With NFL Scouts in the house Justin Herbert shows why he is the "best quarterback in college football"]

It was a wild week in the top 25. Among the ranked teams to lose were then No. 3 Georgia, No. 7 Florida and No. 11 Texas.

Oregon remains the top-ranked Pac-12 team, followed by No. 13 Utah, No. 17 Arizona State and No. 25 Washington, who moved back into the top 25 this week. The Ducks will play rival No. 25 Washington in Seattle at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday Oct.19.

In the Pac-12:

  • Washington Huskies come back from halftime deficit to beat Arizona, 51-27
  • Zack Moss lead Utah to a rout of Oregon State, 52-7, in Corvallis.
  • Notre Dame rode Troy Jones' 176 yards to a 30-27 victory over USC.
  • Arizona State rallied to beat Washington State 38-34.

With NFL Scouts in the house, Justin Herbert shows why he is the "best quarterback in college football"

With NFL Scouts in the house, Justin Herbert shows why he is the "best quarterback in college football"

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.

RELATED: [Breeland was off to a hot start before suffering an game-ending injury in the first quarter]

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.

What we learned: Verone McKinley III is better than expected

What we learned: Verone McKinley III is better than expected

The Oregon Ducks made quick work of the Colorado Buffaloes in the Pac-12 Friday Night matchup. A 45-3 thumping where quarterback Justin Herbert and the offense basically got to anything the Ducks (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) wanted. 

So what did we learn from the everything-they-did-works blowout win? 

We learned about Verone McKinley III... and he's better than expected. 

The freshman cornerback led the Oregon  defensive backs against the best all-around quarterback they've faced all season in Colorado's Steven Montez. They held him to 131 yards passing, 0 touchdowns, and picked him off four times. McKinley got two of those interceptions himself.

While senior linebacker Troy Dye or top freshman prospect Kayvon Thibodeaux might get a lot of the defensive hype, McKinley is poised to be a major contributor for the Ducks, now and in the future. 

Coach Mario Cristobal did not hesitate to throw praises McKinley's way after the game:

Verone is one of the smartest players that you'll see. He knows everyone's assignment... He is a student of the game and all his hard work is paying off. He has the confidence of this team.

With the rivalry game at Washington lurking next week, the Oregon defense will be a key factor in keeping the Huskies under wraps. UW fans are already worried about their recent offensive struggles, as outlined by UWDawgPound.com:

...the Husky offense is broken until proven otherwise. We’ve seen it now going on two plus seasons that against any team with a pulse, especially on the road, this team struggles to score.

For now, Oregon will take advantage of its extra day of rest thanks to a Friday night game.

But keep an eye on #23 in the defensive backfield as this Oregon teams chases another Pac-12 title and bowl game appearance. McKinley might just be the x-factor Oregon didn't know it needed. 

Social media reacts: Safe to say, Oregon beat the spread

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NBCSNW

Social media reacts: Safe to say, Oregon beat the spread

The Ducks shined bright in the Friday night lights.

Coming into tonight’s contest, the No. 13 Oregon Ducks were 21-point favorites over the visiting Colorado Buffaloes…. Safe to say the Ducks beat that spread and had done so by halftime. Oregon’s smothering defense held its opponent once again to just a single field goal. Sophomore running back Cyrus Habibi-Likio scored three touchdowns and the offense put up nine plays of 20 or more yards. 

The Ducks (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) dominated Colorado (3-3, 1-2 Pac-12) 45-3 at Autzen Stadium, in Eugene, Oregon.

Here’s how social media reacted to the game:

Junior wide receiver Jaylon Redd recorded another touchdown reception tonight, making that five games in a row now with a Redd touchdown reception:

The Ducks defense continues to wreak havoc against opposing offfenses. Oregon has allowed just one touchdown in their previous five games. 

And of course, the leader of the team quarterback Justin Herbert put up impressive numbers once again, this time in front of a lot of NFL scouts attending the game. Herbert went 18-for-32 for 261 passing yards and two touchdowns.

Next up: The Ducks head north to face rival Washington in Seattle, Washington. Kickoff time set for 12:30 p.m. (PT).

MORE ON THE DUCKS:

Instant Analysis: The good and the bad as Oregon thumps Colorado

What we learned: Verone McKinley III is better than expected

With NFL scouts in the house, Justin Herbert shows why he's "the best quarterback in college football"

 

Instant Analysis: the good and the bad as the Oregon Ducks thump Colorado

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USATI

Instant Analysis: the good and the bad as the Oregon Ducks thump Colorado

EUGENE - No. 13 Oregon crushed Colorado thanks to exciting and explosive offensive play in front of a sell out crowd of 50,529 fans and students.

The win improves the Ducks to 3-0 in Pac-12 play for the first time since 2013 and 11-1 under Coach Mario Cristobal at Autzen Stadium. Oregon (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) remains atop the North Division with zero conference losses.

Here are the top three takeaways from the contest. Starting with the concerning…

1. Injuries to star Ducks

Late in the first quarter, senior tight end Jacob Breeland went down with an injury and did not return to the game.

Breeland, the Ducks’ leading receiver, had a strong start to the game before the injury: three receptions for 53 yards and Oregon’s first touchdown of the game. He leads the nation among tight ends with six touchdowns this season.

Late in the second quarter, senior linebacker Troy Dye and sophomore safety Jevon Holland experienced an unfortunate collision. It appeared Holland's calf hit Dye's helmet as both players dove for the runner. Both Ducks were slow to get up and attended to by medical staff.

Dye walked off the field to the injury tent and returned to the game a few plays later. Holland was helped to a chair on the sideline before leaving the stadium on a cart. Holland returned to the sideline in the third quarter in a boot. 

Holland is Oregon’s second leading tackler, behind Dye, with 24 tackles and three interceptions this season. He has eight career interceptions, the most by an active Oregon player. Holland is also averaging 24.4 yards per punt return, the highest in the nation.

2. Justin Herbert let it fly

Back to the good news, with an astounding amount of NFL scouts present, Herbert put on a show. The 6-foot-6, 240-pound quarterback accurately catapulted the ball downfield to hit four different receivers for 20-plus yard plays. He attempted 28 passes in the first half alone.

A major highlight came in the second quarter when Herbert connected with true freshman Mycah Pittman on a 39-yard reception to put the Ducks in red zone right before halftime. The stunning pass set up a last second Jaylon Redd 2-yard rushing touchdown before the half ended.

Not to be overlooked, Herbert extended the nation's longest touchdown pass streak to 34 straight games.

3. Running game rolling

This season, the Ducks have been so-close-yet-so-far to breaking open the running game. Against Colorado, Oregon’s running backs finally established consistent success: averaging 5.3 yards per carry in the first half. Sophomore CJ Verdell marched the Ducks down the field with long runs and scorching speed, achieving his first 100-plus rushing yard game of the season. Sophomore Cyrus Habibi-Likio, red-zone warrior, had success punching it into the end zone several times. Surprisingly, sophomore Travis Dye did not have any carries in the first half.

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By the way, against the best quarterback the Duck defense has faced so far this season, the Ducks totaled four interceptions, two by Verone McKinley III. A stingy defense paired with an explosive Oregon offense, combined for a blowout. Next up, Washington Huskies in Seattle.  More to come with quotes and videos from Coach Mario Cristobal and Ducks players.