It has been an up and down season for Tyler Shough as Oregon’s staring quarterback to say the least.
The sophomore earned the starting role as Justin Herbert’s heir to begin this 2020-2021 Oregon Football season and started off decent. Through the first three games of the season vs. Stanford, at Washington State and vs. UCLA, Shough completed over 63% of his passes, totaled nine touchdowns (eight passing and one rushing) and threw two interceptions.
In the last three games at Oregon State, at Cal and at USC, the performance has been on the other end of the spectrum.
Shough threw two questionable interceptions in the loss at Oregon State. The offense was held scoreless in the second half at Cal in Berkeley, CA. And against USC in the Pac-12 championship game, Shough only completed eight passes out of 15 attempts for 91 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception.
Offensive Coordinator Joe Moorhead shook things up a bit against USC by bringing in backup quarterback and Boston College transfer Anthony Brown into the game in certain situations, particularly near the goal line or in third-and-short distances.
But for Shough, who has a lot of confidence in himself, it’s about finding his groove again.
“It doesn’t matter how many years I’ve played, the offense is designed so we can be successful,” said Shough following the loss at Cal. “And I’ve put myself in a position where I can be successful or at least I need to do a better job at that because there’s got to be more at the end of it. If we’re perfect, we’d win every game.
“So I have the highest expectation of myself. I don’t care how old I am…I’m never going to doubt myself or this team.”
Now, the No. 25 Ducks will face the No. 10 Iowa State Cyclones in the Playstation Fiesta Bowl this Saturday.
In order for the Ducks to come out victorious, they need the old Shough back and especially against this Cyclones defense that ranks second in the Big 12 Conference in points allowed per game (21.8), third in yards allowed per game (343.0) and giving up 238.4 passing and 104.6 rushing yards per game.
"Yeah, Coach [Joe] Moorhead, we talk about pre-snap tips and post-snap confirmations. So whatever you see pre-snap, then you're going to see the safeties getting off,” said Shough on Tuesday’s media availability. “You have to see that as you're catching the ball from the snap. There's a lot of stuff that goes into it. We're really trying to simplify reads, make it easy on us as an offense with all the different looks that they bring and trying to execute accordingly, just because sometimes you may not know they're coming, but you've got to roll with it and you've got to react and play football.
“So you have a plan going up to the snap, and then sometimes things go haywire. And that's what playmakers are for. Johnny Johnson, Mycah Pittman, Jaylon Redd, Sean Dollars, and Travis Dye, they're just playmakers. Any way I can get the ball to them, that's the key.”
Kickoff for the Fiesta Bowl is scheduled for 1 p.m. (PT) at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.