EUGENE - It's been 294 days since Shout has echoed through Autzen Stadium. As the sun set, the third quarter closed and Oregon led by more than 50 points, the familiar tune sounded extra loud as the Ducks sideline grooved and gestured to the stands to “get a little bit louder now.”
In his final home opener, smiling senior linebacker Troy Dye danced alone to the Autzen Stadium tradition on the 15-yard line, pumping up the rowdy 50,920 fans that watched Oregon dominate Nevada, 77-6.
Teammate Brady Breeze was happy to see Dye let loose.
“He was just having fun, today was a day to have fun,” Breeze said. “Sometimes when you are playing football, you are so focused on making a call or the next play, that you don’t enjoy that you are playing in front of thousands of people and living your dream.”
It’d be an understatement to say that loads of fun was had by many Oregon players. Fourteen different Ducks recorded a reception and all 11 touchdowns were scored by different players. The offense rolled to make a strong statement that dates back a decade. The win marked the 10th straight home opener that Oregon scored 50 or more points. The Ducks’ 77 points tied a program modern era record and the Autzen Stadium scoring record.
The game didn’t start as rosy as it finished. Quarterback Justin Herbert’s first two drives were marked with a few uncharacteristic missed throws. However, the senior regained his composure after the underwhelming start with an explosive 66-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jacob Breeland. The score extended the quarterback’s nation-leading streak of 30 consecutive games with a touchdown pass.
Herbert caught fire after that first quarter touchdown, darting throws over the middle and commanding the offense to complete his next 10 of 11 passes. Herbert finished with 310 passing yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions in his 30th career start.
Herbert joined Marcus Mariota and Joey Harrington as the only quarterbacks in program history with multiple games with five passing touchdowns.
The quarterback wasn’t the only Duck to shine in their final season opener.
Breeland led the Ducks with 112 receiving yards on four catches. The 6-foot-5 senior tight end set a career-high in yards and reached his first career 100-yard receiving game. In the post game press conference, Breeland was caught off guard when realizing that it was his last season opener as a Duck.
Aside from the “lasts” the victory showcased many “firsts” that are a peek into Oregon’s not-so-far-off future.
Backup quarterback Tyler Shough took control of the offense half way through the third quarter. Shough’s first career completion was also his first career touchdown: A seven-yard pass to wide receiver Jaylon Redd.
An astounding five Ducks scored their first-career touchdowns.
"We found a whole bunch of guys that want to make plays and are able to, so we put them in today,” Herbert said. “I'm really happy for them that they stepped up big-time. It's fun to watch."
Daewood Davis, who coaches moved from cornerback to receiver to help with depth in the depleted unit, scored on a tight rope 16-yard pass from Herbert.
Wide receiver Bryan Addison, who earned the start, scored a 24-yard touchdown with 12 seconds left in the first half.
Ryan Bay, a 6-foot-3 senior tight end who walked on to the team as a freshman, scored his first career touchdown with a 16-yard grab in the second quarter.
Hunter Kampmoyer, a tight end who began his career as a defensive end, scored on a 21 yard pass from Shough.
Safety Brady Breeze recovered a DJ Johnson forced fumbled and took it to the house.
The biggest tight end on the field was offensive lineman Brady Aiello wearing a number 82 jersey. Aiello got to do what most linemen only dream about: catch a touchdown pass from the quarterback they usually protect.
“I’m very jealous of him,” Oregon coach and former offensive lineman Mario Cristobal said. “It’s what I wanted my entire life.”
On defense, inside linebacker Sampson Niu came away with first career interception and forced his first career fumble.
Not to be overshadowed is the “firsts” from the true freshman from UO’s highest-ever rated 2019 recruiting class. A total of 14 true freshmen saw action in the game. Outside linebacker Mase Funa’s got his first career sack, the first of many for the highly-touted four-star prospect. Defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux provided a highlight, tackling the Nevada punter for an 11-yard loss after a bad snap. Tight end Patrick Herbert made his first appearance under the college football lights. Running back Sean Dollars recorded his first carry, finishing with 12 yards on four carries.
The blend of the firsts and lasts with the veterans and newcomers meshing cohesively together, is enough to make Dye (and the Oregon fan base) want to shout.