injury news

Oregon vs. Montana: 10 numbers to know

Oregon vs. Montana: 10 numbers to know

Pac-12 after dark could get ugly this week in No. 15 Oregon’s matchup against Montana. The Ducks’ massively overmatch the Griz in their final non-conference game, which kicks off at 7:45 pm in Autzen Stadium in Eugene. Montana has won four of their last five road games and look to improve to 3-0 with a monster road upset over Oregon (1-1).

The Ducks and coach Mario Cristobal aren’t looking past Montana to their Pac-12 Conference opener at Stanford and neither should you. Here are 10 stats and numbers you need to know to be the fan dropping knowledge at the tailgate:

1. INJURY UPDATES

Oregon has yet to see two of its largest offensive weapons play this season and the wait may continue. Cristobal gave an injury update on senior wide receiver Juwan Johnson and junior tight end Cam McCormick.

Johnson’s (leg) availability is likely a Friday or Saturday decision. "It’s a soft tissue thing, so we expect progress and it’s going to be close," Cristobal said. "I think now we’re coming around to this thing could actually be a go.” McCormick (ankle) is unlikely to play this week and is eyeing a return for Oregon's Pac-12 opener at Stanford. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound pass catcher went through pregame warm-ups prior to the season opener against Auburn but not before last week’s game against Nevada.

2. EAGER PITTMAN

True freshman receiver Mycah Pittman, who was expected to contribute or possibly start this season, suffered a shoulder injury in a fall scrimmage that was supposed to sideline him for six to eight weeks. Pittman tweeted, "2 more weekkksss!" on Sunday, implying a quicker than expected return.

Cristobal addressed the tweet that excited fans who are anxious to watch one of the most praised incoming freshman from teammates and coaches.

“I know everyone is excited about Mycah’s tweet," Cristobal said. "He’s pretty ambitious. We’ve still got to wait a little bit, but he’s getting better. We hope to have him with us in a couple of weeks practicing again."

The initial 6-8 weeks projection would mark Pittman healthy as early as Oregon’s game against Cal on Oct. 5.

3. CRISTOBAL ON FIRE AT HOME

Oregon is looking to improve to 8-1 at home under coach Cristobal.

4. THE SHOUGH SHOW

Back-up quarterback has been a point of contention for Oregon in the last five seasons. The Ducks have seen countless quarterbacks transfer away, leaving a void: Bryan Bennett, Terry Wilson, Travis Jonsen, Braxton Burmeister, etc.

This season, four-star quarterback Tyler Shough has earned the back-up role behind senior Justin Herbert. Shough found success in the home opener and gave fans a little insight into the future as Herbert’s heir. In the most substantial playing time of his career, Shough threw his first college pass and finished 8-of-9 for 92 yards and two touchdowns.

His performance wasn’t the type of awe-inspiring play that causes someone to bet Oregon will win the national championship next season. However, Shough made solid decisions, showed his accurate arm and toughness under pressure. He also used his legs to rush for 11 yards and made a couple heads up plays including one flick to tight end Spencer Webb while getting blitzed on third and nine.

“He was accurate and made a play with his feet as well, got outside the pocket, got tripped up or he would have gone for a little bit more,” Cristobal said. “We felt that since spring, his progress has been great. We trust him to go in there and make plays.”

5. HELLO, FUNA!

The highest ranked linebacker recruit in school history, Mase Funa, is already making an impact for Oregon. The Mater Dei High School alum is the only freshman to have two sacks in a game this season in the FBS. Funa’s four tackles for loss currently lead the Pac-12.

6. DEFENSE TURNING HEADS UNDER ANDY AVALOS

Oregon’s defense has dominated through the first two games of the season under defensive coordinator Andy Avalos. Opponents have reached Oregon territory just 10 times in 30 drives. Oregon’s defense has not allowed a first half touchdown in four consecutive games (28 drives). Also, the Ducks forced four turnovers against Nevada that resulted in 28 points.

7. A DUCK WIN WOULD…

Mark Oregon's 25th consecutive nonconference home win.

Improve Oregon to 8-0-1 against Montana.

Be Oregon's 11th win in the last 12 games at Autzen Stadium.

8. “MR. ELECTRICITY”

Montana senior punt returner Jerry Louie-McGee or “Mr. Electricity” earned ROOT Sports Big Sky Conference Special Teams Player of the Week after juking his way to a 74-yard punt return for a touchdown. Louie-McGee is the Griz’s special teams star and speed threat at wide receiver. In Saturday’s victory, he averaged 30 yards per kick on five returns for a total of 150 yards - the most in a game of any player in FCS football so far this season by a nearly 40-yards.

9. GRIZ QUARTERBACK IS “HEART AND SOUL OF THE TEAM”

Quarterback Dalton Sneed a fifth-year senior that has impressed Cristobal.

“(Sneed is) very tough, will throw his body around, there’s no hesitation in his game whatsoever,” Cristobal said. “The ball is out quick and it’s accurate. I think he’s a special player.”

Sneed has completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 696 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions this season.

10. HIGH-FLYIN’ GRIZ

Montana totaled 520 yards of offense in their victory over North Alabama last Saturday. The Grizzlies have the No. 7 passing and total offense in the FCS.

BONUS

The Ducks opened as five-touchdown favorites over Montana. Currently, the Ducks are 36.5 point favorites. 

Oregon receiver Juwan Johnson injury scare just "precautionary"

Oregon receiver Juwan Johnson injury scare just "precautionary"

Oregon’s receiving corps received a scare with a possible fifth injury and appears to have dodged the literal largest blow.

6-foot-4, 230-pound senior Juwan Johnson was absent from Wednesday’s practice (during the time reporters can watch) after leaving Tuesday’s practice early with a noticeable limp, according to reports from Eugene.

When asked for an update on Oregon's big-bodied starter, wide receiver coach Jevon Bouknight said it was “precautionary” from cramps, according to reports from Eugene. Johnson is expected to play week one against Auburn.

Oregon needs to find its next leading receiver and the Penn State graduate transfer is looking every bit he part.

He brings needed experience to the position: playing in 16 more games than the Ducks' most veteran wide receiver, senior Brenden Schooler (21 games). Plus, his large, powerful, physical frame is unlike the other receivers currently on Oregon's roster along with his ability to power through and over defensive backs.

The Ducks receiving corps is already coping with the loss of Brenden Schooler, who will be out another five to seven weeks after suffering a right foot injury that required surgery.

The depth took another hit when true freshman receiver Mycah Pittman, who was expected to contribute or possibly start this season, hurt his shoulder while making a diving catch and will be sidelined for at least 6-8 weeks.

Also, freshman wide receiver JR Waters had a lower leg procedure and won’t return for four to six weeks. Freshmen Lance Wilhoit has also been limited with lingering injures.

Stay tuned for more updates, but it appears Oregon dodged a very large bullet. 

Confirmed: Justin Herbert's injury not serious, "good to go"

Confirmed: Justin Herbert's injury not serious, "good to go"

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert's shoulder injury is a deep bruise that is not serious. I am told by an Oregon team source that the junior "should be good to go."

First reported by John Canzano. 

Herbert went down with an injury after being sacked in the second quarter in Oregon's 55-15 win over Oregon State. NBC Sports Northwest reported a photo of Herbert leaving the Oregon locker room at halftime on a cart. He returned to the sideline in the third quarter wearing street clothes. UO coach Mario Cristobal confirmed after the game that the junior “took a shot.”

Before leaving the game, the junior extended his steak with a touchdown pass to 27 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the nation. Without Herbert, backup Braxton Burmeister played and Oregon’s offense scored 34 points. 

A bruise shouldn't keep the quarterback from playing in a bowl game for Oregon. More updates to come.