Kayvon Thibodeaux

Oregon vs. Wisconsin by the numbers: Offensive and defensive lines compared

Oregon vs. Wisconsin by the numbers: Offensive and defensive lines compared

Both the Oregon Ducks (11-2, 9-1 Pac-12) and Wisconsin Badgers (10-3, 8-2 Big Ten) prioritize their rushing attack and playing more physical than the opponent. The Wisconsin Badgers especially desire to dominate time of possession since they run on over 70 percent of their offensive plays to keep churning clock. You can’t play that way without stellar play from your offensive line. However, the Ducks’ offensive line was named a finalist for the Joe Moore Award.

To put it simply, the winner in the trenches will win the 2020 Rose Bowl. 

A quick glance at the numbers.

RUSHING YARDS PER GAME:

Oregon: 185.8 yards per game

Wisconsin: 201.1 yards per game

RUNNING PLAYS PER GAME:

Oregon: 36.6 attempts per game

Wisconsin: 43.8 yards per game

RUSHING YARDS ALLOWED:

Oregon: 106.8 yards per game

Wisconsin: 104.0 yards per game

SACKS ALLOWED PER GAME:

Oregon: 1.76 per game

Wisconsin: 1.84 per game

SACKS PER GAME:

Oregon: 3.15 per game

Wisconsin: 3.76 per game

TACKLES-FOR-LOSS PER GAME:

Oregon: 7.23 per game

Wisconsin: 6.69 per game

OREGON (11-2 9-1 Pac-12)

Under Mario Cristobal, the Ducks have embraced being the most physical team every time they step on the field. As a former offensive line coach, he still insists on coaching the line to give the correct fundamentals. The result? An offensive line that was not only a finalist for the Joe Moore Award given to the nation’s best offensive line, but the Outland Trophy winner sophomore Penei Sewell. 

Just look at how they handled a Utah defense that leads the nation in rushing defense.

The defensive line for the Ducks has plenty of talent to compete with the Badgers. Their defensive unit ranks tenth in the nation in rushing defense, giving up only 106.8 yards per game. 

Players to watch:

Junior Jordon Scott will demand double teams or else he’ll terrorize the backfield. Just look at when he blew up Washington’s quarterback sneak attempt during his sophomore season on a 4th and 1. 

The freshman phenom Kayvon Thibodeaux came into the season hoping for a double digit sack season. He currently sits at nine on the season. In the Pac-12 Championship, the former No. 1 high school player in the nation had his best game of his career with a blocked punt and 2.5 sacks.

Sophomore Penei Sewell was named the best interior lineman in the nation, so of course he’ll be named a player to watch. He even got some votes for the Heisman Trophy. When the Ducks need to get a few yards, they’ll likely run to the left side of the line behind Sewell and senior guard Shane Lemieux. 

WISCONSIN (10-3, 7-2 Big Ten)

Wisconsin wants to run the ball and does so on 70 percent of their offensive plays. That philosophy can only go as far as the offensive line can get them. Jonathan Taylor may be the nation’s most prolific running back, but a running back is only as good as the blocks set by his linemen. Their defensive line isn’t a slouch either as their defense ranks eighth in the country in rushing defense. 

Players to watch:

Center Tyler Biadasz was a unanimous All-American in 2019 and first-team All-Big Ten in 2018 and 2019. The junior also took home the Rimington Trophy Award which is given to the nation’s best center, becoming the first Badger to do so. He’s considered the Badger’s best professional prospect and expected to go in the first or second round in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft assuming he declares.

While the Badgers rotate their defensive line a lot, sophomore Matt Henningsen has been the most productive defensive lineman on the team this season totaling 24 tackles and 4 sacks. Their line mostly tries to fill gaps for their linebackers to finish plays though.

Oregon vs. Wisconsin: Numbers to know

Oregon vs. Wisconsin: Numbers to know

In arguably the most compelling game outside of the College Football Playoff, No. 6 Oregon looks to finish the 2019 season with a substantial win in the 106th Rose Bowl. The Pac-12 Conference champion Ducks (11-2) have to get past the stingy No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers to earn the “Granddaddy of them All” crown.

Here are 10 numbers you need to know about the 2 p.m. kickoff in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 1, 2020.

BETTING LINE

Oregon opened as 2.5-point underdogs to Wisconsin. The over/under is 49.5 total points.

AN OREGON WIN WOULD

-Be Oregon’s third straight Rose Bowl victory. The Ducks beat Florida State 59-20 in the semifinals of the College Football Playoff on Jan. 1, 2015 and Wisconsin 45-38 on Jan. 2, 2012.

A WISCONSIN WIN WOULD

-Be Wisconsin’s first win in the Rose Bowl in 20 years. The Badgers have played in the Rose Bowl four times in the last decade and 10 times in school history.

SEWELL FOR HEISMAN

Was Oregon’s offensive tackle on Heisman Trophy ballots? Yes.

Sophomore left tackle Penei Sewell gained some consideration for the Heisman Trophy, receiving votes from multiple Heisman voters. An offensive lineman has not finished in the top ten of the Heisman Trophy voting for nearly 20 years.

Sewell also took home the biggest honor for an offensive lineman, the Outland Trophy, becoming the first player in Oregon football history to do so. The top-graded offensive lineman in the nation by Pro Football Focus, the 6-foot-6, 335-pound sophomore had 57 knockdowns in 879 snaps this season.

BIG TIME TAYLOR

Jonathan Taylor is the only running back in FBS history to amass 6,000 rushing yards in just three seasons. Taylor is the reigning Doak Walker Award winner and leads the nation in scoring. The junior is coming off of a 148-yard performance against Ohio State in the Big Ten title game.

Taylor has said that he grew up believing the Rose Bowl is the biggest bowl you could play in and that hasn't changed during his time at Wisconsin.

IMPRESSIVE BADGERS BOWL GAME RESUME

Wisconsin has qualified for 18 straight bowl games, the longest current streak among Big Ten schools, and has won a program-record five consecutive bowls.

HERBERT’S LAST HURRAH

The Rose Bowl is senior quarterback Justin Herbert’s last Oregon game. Over the last three seasons, the Ducks are 26-8 in his 34 starts. Herbert looks to cap his final season, currently completing 66.7 percent of his passes for 3,333 yards, 32 touchdowns and five interceptions. Herbert has the opportunity for the most substantial victory of his Duck career in his finale, as the NFL Draft awaits.

THERE IS NO SLOWING THIBODEAUX

With one game left in his freshman campaign, Kayvon Thibodeaux can still reach his goal of 10 sacks for the season. His nine sacks this season broke Troy Dye’s previous freshman program record of 6.5 sacks. Thibodeaux is in good company, as the first Duck with nine sacks since former Duck, current San Francisco 49er, DeForest Buckner in 2015.

THROWBACK

The 2020 Rose Bowl is a rematch of the 2012 Rose Bowl. In 2012, Oregon beat a Russell Wilson-led Wisconsin team in an up-tempo shootout, 45-38. Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas passed for three touchdowns and De'Anthony Thomas dazzled for two long touchdown runs to lead the No. 6 Ducks past the No. 9 Badgers. LaMichael James led the Ducks with 159 yards and one touchdown while Thomas added 155 yards.

GOOD TO BE A DUCK

Oregon is the only school in the country with its men's basketball, women's basketball and football teams all currently ranked in the Associated Press top 10.

Budding Oregon football star Kayvon Thibodeaux already breaking records with no ceiling in sight

Budding Oregon football star Kayvon Thibodeaux already breaking records with no ceiling in sight

In Oregon’s Pac-12 Championship game victory, the Duck defense suffocated Utah.

Oregon silenced Utes quarterback Tyler Huntley, who entered the game as the nation’s second most efficient quarterback. The Ducks picked off Huntley twice to add to their nation-leading 19 interceptions this season. Oregon created negative plays with a season-high six sacks, which broke the Pac-12 Championship Game record.

One of their not so secret weapons? True freshman defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, who finished with 2.5 of those sacks, setting a new Pac-12 Championship game record for most sacks. Thibodeaux lived in the backfield all night, applying constant pressure on Huntley, almost hunting him like prey.

It’s not the only record Thibodeaux set in the Rose Bowl clinching victory. His blocked punt (which he almost scooped and scored) was the first blocked punt in Pac-12 Championship game history.

The nation’s No. 1 recruit in 2019 has been on a tear in the last five games, adding 10.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks to his season total.

His nine sacks this season broke Troy Dye’s previous freshman program record of 6.5 sacks. Thibodeaux is in good company, as the first Duck with nine sacks since former Duck, current San Francisco 49er, DeForest Buckner in 2015.

The scary/exciting part? It’s just the beginning for Thibodeaux, with no ceiling in sight.

I feel like I've gotten a lot better. I'm going to continue to get better. You could say it's only up from here, as long as I keep putting in the work, should see good results. --Thibodeaux

Or as he simply put it, “The proof is in the pudding.”

With one game left in his freshman campaign, Thibodeaux can still reach his goal of 10 sacks for the season. Oregon will play in the Rose Bowl on January 1st for the first time since 2014. Will the bright lights of the “granddaddy of them all” intimidate Thibodeaux?

For me it just sounds like another Tuesday.

(Note- The Rose Bowl is on Wednesday, Jan 1.)

Three keys for the Oregon Ducks to win the Pac-12 Championship

Three keys for the Oregon Ducks to win the Pac-12 Championship

Friday’s battle between No. 13 Oregon (10-2, 8-1 Pac-12) and No. 5 Utah (11-1, 8-1 Pac-12) for the Pac-12 Conference crown is bound to be intense with major post-season implications. 

The Ducks still have a chance at playing in the Rose Bowl as Pac-12 Conference champions (among another option). Standing in their way? The Utes, packed with experienced offensive weapons, one of the toughest defenses in the nation and imminent College Football Playoff dreams.

AN OREGON WIN WOULD…

·      Tie Oregon with Stanford for most Pac-12 Championship Game victories (3).

·      Clinch the program's eighth appearance in the Rose Bowl.

·      Give Oregon seven seasons with 11 or more wins (first time since 2014).


A UTAH WIN WOULD…

·      Be Utah’s first conference championship.

·      Extend its winning streak to nine games, their longest winning streak since 2008 when Utah went undefeated (13-0).

·      Keep its college football playoff hopes alive.

THREE KEYS TO AN OREGON VICTORY

Oregon can hang with anyone when they put it all together but how can they defeat a Utes team looking for a statement win to display to the College Football Playoff rankings committee?

1. Shake up Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley

Dual-threat quarterback Tyler Huntley is dangerous and experienced. The senior is crazy efficient (has completed 75.5% of his passes, which is second behind LSU’s Joe Burrow) averaging 11.1 passing yards per completion, a Pac-12 best and third in the FBS. 

Huntley and Burrow are the only two quarterbacks who have thrown under 70 percent in two or less games. They are also the only quarterbacks that have thrown for 80 percent or higher in four games this season.

The Heisman-Trophy candidate also has 74 carries for 255 yards and five rushing touchdowns.

“Huntley runs that offense like he’s been there for four years because he has been. We’re looking forward to playing against them,” senior linebacker Troy Dye said.
Oregon must disrupt Huntley and the ball-controlling Utes. The Duck defense has been mostly dependable this season, allowing 10 points or fewer in seven of 10 games. The Ducks have recorded a conference-best 35 sacks and will need to continue to play to that strength.

Look for starting defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux to have a major impact. The freshman has heated up in the last four games, totaling eight tackles for loss and four sacks. Coming off a two tackles for loss, one sack performance, Thibodeaux matched a program freshman record with 6.5 sacks on the season, tying Troy Dye’s 2016 total. Entering this season, Thibodeaux’s goal was 10 sacks: an accomplishment still in reach.

2. Win the turnover battle

The rainy, windy conditions in a clash between the most physical teams in the conference could lead to some mistakes and sloppy play. Oregon must be on the winning end of the turnover battle to contend against Utah. The Ducks practiced with a wet ball this week and aren’t overly concerned with “mother nature”. Some numbers to consider:

  • Keep Utah’s defense out of the end zone- The Utes defense has five touchdowns this season, ranking second in the FBS.
  • Oregon ranks first (17) and Utah (13) ranks second in interceptions.
  • Utah is 10th in FBS in turnover margin (0.83).
  • Oregon has scored 113 points off turnovers compared to opponents' 27 points off turnovers.
  • This season against Pac-12 teams, Oregon is undefeated when winning the turnover battle (4-0).

3. Passing game success

Utah is known for its defense, which is giving up a conference-best 11.3 points (third in the nation) and 56.3 yards rushing (first in the nation) on average. Opponents haven’t found an answer to the Utes rushing defense that is allowing an average of 2.26 yards per carry. The Utes have held 11 of their 12 opponents to under 100 yards rushing.

So likely, the Ducks will have to get it done through the passing game.

This is considerable reason for concern regarding Oregon’s offense, which has struggled in the last two games. After quarterback Jusin Herbert threw two interceptions against Arizona State, the Ducks totaled their lowest yardage of the season against Oregon State. Oregon’s receivers have lacked separation and Herbert has had some errant throws.

[READ: Justin Herbert's heart is Oregon's X-factor to win Pac-12 Title]

The Ducks will need junior wide receiver Johnny Johnson III to maintain his dependability in his strong season finish. In the last three games, he has 18 catches for 335 yards and four touchdowns. 34 of the junior’s 49 receptions have gone for first downs and he has three-straight games with a touchdown catch.

How and where to watch

Time: Friday, Dec. 6, 5:14 p.m. (PT)

Where: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California

TV: ABC

Radio: KUGN-AM (590), KUJZ-FM (95.3), KZEL-FM (96.1)

10 surprising numbers: Oregon vs. Utah in Pac-12 Championship

10 surprising numbers: Oregon vs. Utah in Pac-12 Championship

Friday’s battle for the Pac-12 Conference crown is bound to be intense with major post-season implications. The conference title winner gets an automatic bid to the Rose Bowl, unless the winner gets a berth into the College Football Playoff (Utah has a chance), then the No. 2 team would go to the Rose Bowl.   

Oregon is looking for its first win over a top 5 team since the 2015 Rose Bowl against No. 2 Florida State. No. 5 Utah is playing in the Pac-12 Championship game for the second-straight year after winning the Pac-12 South Title outright both years (2019, 2018).

BETTING LINE

Oregon opened as 6.5-point underdogs to Utah. The total over/under is set at 50 points.

AN OREGON WIN WOULD…

·      Tie Oregon with Stanford for most Pac-12 Championship Game victories (3).

·      Clinch the program's eighth appearance in the Rose Bowl.

·      Give Oregon seven seasons with 11 or more wins (first time since 2014).


A UTAH WIN WOULD…

·      Be Utah’s first conference championship.

·      Extend its winning streak to nine games, their longest winning streak since 2008 when Utah went undefeated (13-0).

·      Keep its college football playoffs hopes alive.

INJURY UPDATE

Oregon’s offensive line will be back at full strength for the Pac-12 Championship Game. Ducks center Jake Hanson, who did not play against Oregon State or the second half against Arizona State, is expected to play against Utah.

Backup receiver Daewood Davis did not play against Oregon State and his status remains undetermined for Friday.

TOUGH THIBODEAUX

In the last four games, freshman Kayvon Thibodeaux has eight tackles for loss and four sacks. Coming off a two tackles for loss, one sack performance, Thibodeaux matched a program freshman record with 6.5 sacks on the season, tying Troy Dye’s 2016 total.

DOMINANT DUCK DEFENSE

Oregon’s defense has held 11 of its 12 opponents under their season scoring average.

HERBERT’S SUCCESSES VS. UTAH

In quarterback Justin Herbert’s career vs. Utah, he’s gone 50-for-76 (65.8%) for 612 yards, six touchdowns and zero interceptions. 


PRECISE HUNTLEY

The Utes are ranked second in the FBS and first in Pac-12 in completion percentage (.747). Utah’s Tyler Huntley and LSU’s Joe Burrow are the only two quarterbacks who have thrown under 70 percent in two or less games. They are also the only two that have thrown for 80 percent or higher in four games this season.

JOHNNY JOHNSON III CATCHING FIRE

Johnny Johnson III is finishing the season strong, recording 18 catches for 335 yards and four touchdowns in the last three games. 34 of the junior’s 49 receptions have gone for first downs and he has three-straight games with a touchdown catch.

UTAH LEADING THE NATION

Utah leads the FBS in rushing defense (56.3) with opponents averaging just 2.26 yards per carry. The Utes have held 11 of their 12 opponents to under 100 yards rushing and have outscored their opponents 193-61 in the second half this season. 

Historically, quarterback Justin Herbert plays extremely well vs. ASU

Historically, quarterback Justin Herbert plays extremely well vs. ASU

Oregon (9-1, 7-0 Pac-12) has secured a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game as the North Division champion and is in the running as a College Football Playoff contender. The Ducks have two conference games left and Arizona State (5-5, 2-5) is the next opponent they must beat. 

The Ducks look to stay unbeaten in conference play as they head to Tempe… Here are 10 numbers you need to know about the 4:30 p.m. kickoff at Sun Devil Stadium.

ON A HERBERT HIGH

Coming off a season-high 333 passing yards vs. Arizona, quarterback Justin Herbert is displaying incredible accuracy. He’s completed 70 percent of his passes in three-straight games, connecting on 62-of-84 (73.8) over that stretch. Herbert has historically played well against ASU. In his career against the Sun Devils, Herbert is 69-of-111 for 1,032 yards, nine TDs and two interceptions. His career-best 489 passing yards came as a freshman vs. ASU in 2016.

CAN YOU SAY CLUTCH?

The Ducks have outscored their opponents 56-20 in the second half on the road. Oregon is also 25-for-41 (.610) on third down conversions in the last three games.

SINGLE DIGITS

Oregon has held six opponents under 10 points, which leads the nation and is a program best since 1960.

SPREADING THE LOVE

Oregon has 19 players who have scored a touchdown and 19 players who have at least a half-sack, both of which lead the nation.

CRISTO-BALLIN!

A win would make Mario Cristobal the fourth head coach in program history to win 10 games in a season. 

KEEPING UP WITH THE JOHNSONS

Johnny Johnson III is coming off a four-catch performance vs. Arizona, including a 73-yard catch, the longest of his career and longest by a Duck in 2019. Juwan Johnson’s potential is also being realized, totaling 16 receptions, 263 yards and four touchdowns in the last three games. He led Oregon with five catches, one touchdown and 93 yards vs. Arizona.

THIBODEAUX TRAIN, FULL STEAM AHEAD

Freshman defensive tackle Kayvon Thibodeaux has 4.5 tackles for loss and three sacks in the last two games. He’s coming off a season-high three tackle for loss performance against Arizona. The highest rated recruit in program history, Thibodeaux ranks 4th among all freshman nationally in sacks(5.5).

STRONG SHANE

For the second time this season, Oregon left guard Shane Lemieux was named Pac-12 offensive lineman of the week. Against Arizona, Lemieux was the highest-graded (80.4) guard in the Pac-12 and third nationally. He has not allowed a hit, hurry or pressure on Herbert over 67 snaps and leads the Ducks with a season-high seven knockdowns.

DEVILS COME UP SHORT IN CORVALLIS

A failed two-point conversion proved to be the difference in Arizona’s almost-comeback win at Oregon State. ASU rallied from two touchdowns down late in the game but the Beavers beat the Sun Devils, 35-34.

ARIZONA STATE VS. THE RUN

ASU has held eight of its last 10 opponents to under 150 total rushing yards (151 vs. Utah, 217 vs. UCLA). Although, the Sun Devils pass defense ranks 115th in the nation.

The Andy Avalos effect: Why Oregon's defense is wreaking havoc

The Andy Avalos effect: Why Oregon's defense is wreaking havoc

A major theme of the 2019 Oregon football season: first-year defensive coordinator Andy Avalos is delivering. The Ducks defense is posting eye-popping numbers accompanied by game-saving performances.

It’s exactly the change Oregon desired when hiring Avalos and his “multiple” scheme. In the first five games of the Avalos-era, the most asked question is, how can Oregon keep him?

A look into the bottom line… His three-year $2.445 million dollar contract shows that he’s earning more than double than what he was earning as defensive coordinator at Boise State with an added title of assistant head coach. He has $125,000 worth of performances bonuses.

If Avalos were to leave Oregon before Jan. 31, 2022 he would owe Oregon 20 percent of his guaranteed salary, unless he did so to become an FBS head coach.

Money aside, internal incentive exudes from the 36-year-old coach. He is connecting with the Ducks in a unique way, partly because of his youth, partly because of his communication tactic, but definitely because his philosophy is generating victories.

“He’s very receptive, he’s not just trying to jump down your throat. He’s going to talk to you and try to communicate with you to figure out what you were thinking about and why you were thinking that way or did something,” senior linebacker Troy Dye said. “He’s easy to relate to as a player so that’s what makes it easier to go to him and talk to him about different things.”

The offense has been able to depend on the defense while trying to establish a consistent run game. The Duck defense is leading the Pac-12 Conference in every major category and then some. The multiple and disguising fronts have led to confusion of opponents, holding four-straight teams to single-digit scoring for the first time since 1960.

Almost half way through his first regular season as a Duck, Avalos hasn’t had much time to reflect on his team that ranks sixth nationally in scoring defense (9.8 points per game) yet.

“It all kind of runs together,” Avalos said with a chuckle. “For me, I think the biggest thing that stands out is how we are learning to stay in the fight as a team and as a defense. Over the course of a game, no matter the situations that pop up, we are learning to fight together, work together as a coaching staff and that pays off because then the players do so.”

This isn't Avalos’ first rodeo. He helped the Boise State defense hold 20 opponents from 2016-18 to 20 points or less, while the Broncos tied for sixth nationally with 10 defensive touchdowns over that span.

It’s not easy to describe someone in one word, but that’s exactly what I asked of Oregon football players in regards to Avalos.

Dye’s chosen adjective was “relatable” as his hometown of Norco, Calif. neighbors Corona, Calif., where Avalos grew up.

Also a southern California-native, junior cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. fondly remembers his first impression of Avalos. Avalos was the first coach to offer a scholarship to Graham, who picked the Ducks over offers from Boise State, Alabama, Notre Dame, Nebraska, among others. Graham appreciates how “energetic” Avalos is and is passionate about how perfect his scheme is for the team.

True freshman defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux credits Avalos'’ “accountability,” as a factor to his improvement since stepping on campus as ESPN’s No. 1 prospect in the nation.

“I feel like he is one of the smartest coaches that I’ve had coach me,” Thibodeaux said. “He tells us stuff and he goes over hours of film. He’s a stickler. He looks at everything, which is for the greater good. Whether our shoe laces are tied or our hip pads are in, he’s all over everything.”

Thibodeaux will see an increased role with a season ending injury to starting defensive end Gus Cumberlander on Friday vs. the visiting Colorado Buffaloes. Thibodeaux is coming off his best performance yet as a Duck, which earned him Pac-12 Defensive Lineman of the Week honors. Oregon needs the 6-foot-5, 242-pound defensive end to unleash his ability sooner rather than later.

Avalos and the defense will face likely their toughest test this season in Colorado and veteran quarterback Steven Montez. While the Duck defense has dominated through five games, it’s important to note they did play the 11th-ranked Pac-12 offense (Stanford) and 12th-ranked offense (Cal).  Their biggest challenges are ahead of them in the next seven games.

Like Dye, three different defensive coordinators have coached senior La’Mar Winston Jr. during his Duck career. So, it’s not surprising that Avalos’ stability stood out to the outside linebacker.

“Consistent,” said Winston Jr. “He’s very consistent in his approach, in his energy, his mentality, across the board. And that’s our goal, to be consistent. “

Will the consistency sustain the toughest part of Oregon’s schedule? One thing is for sure, Avalos is ready for the fight.

10 numbers to know: Oregon vs. Colorado

10 numbers to know: Oregon vs. Colorado

The Ducks have redemption on the mind in their upcoming game against Colorado on Friday night in Oregon Coach Mario Cristobal’s 20th game as head coach. No. 13 Oregon (4-1, 2-0 Pac-12) is looking to win its seventh of the last eight matchups against Colorado (3-2,1-1) at 7 p.m. Friday October 11 at Autzen Stadium.

Here are 10 stats and numbers you need to know to be the fan-dropping knowledge at the tailgate:

REDEMPTION ON THE MIND

The last time the two teams met on the field, Colorado came into Autzen and shocked the Ducks with a 41-38 victory in 2016. The Ducks haven’t forgotten that defeat. It was the first-career start for Colorado quarterback Steven Montez, who is still the Buffalo’s starting quarterback. Montez had a record-setting day in the game, throwing for 333 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 135 yards and another score to become the first player in CU history to have 300 yards passing and 100 yards rushing in the same game.

DOMINATING DUCK DEFENSE

Oregon's defense is yielding just 9.8 points per game, best in the Pac-12 and sixth in the nation. UO has held its last four opponents to single digits, the first Power 5 team to do so since Michigan in 2015. Oregon has allowed just one touchdown over its opponents' last 51 drives and has forced 17 three-and-outs over that span.  

BETTING LINE

The Ducks opened as 20.5-point favorites over Colorado. The over/under has been set at 57 total points.

[READ: Is Oregon's offense boring? Maybe. But here's why it doesn't matter]
THIBODEAUX TIME

Gus Cumberlander will miss the remainder of the season, according to Coach Mario Cristobal. True freshman Kayvon Thibodeaux is being called into the starting role. Thibodeaux is coming off his best performance yet as a Duck, which earned him Pac-12 Defensive Lineman of the Week honors. Against Cal he provided major highlights, recording his first sack and finishing the game with two. It’s time for the 6-foot-5, 242-pound defensive end to unleash his ability.

BUFFALOS VS. RANKED FOES

The No. 13 Ducks will be Colorado's third ranked opponent this season. The Buffaloes are 2-0 in those games, beating both No. 25 Nebraska and No. 24 Arizona State in September.

A WIN WOULD…

Improve Oregon to 3-0 in Pac-12 play for the first time since 2013.

HOLLAND DOES IT ALL

Safety Jevon Holland is Oregon’s second leading tackler, behind Troy 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.

DEPENDABLE, EXPLOSIVE BREELAND

Senior Jacob Breeland has caught 23 of his 28 targets this season. His five touchdown catches rank second in the nation among tight ends. Breeland has been one of Oregon’s main sources for explosive plays: Five of Oregon’s 34 plays of 20-plus yards were to Breeland, two of which were touchdowns. Currently, Breeland has 22 receptions of 20-plus yards in his career.

BURNED REDSHIRTS IN 2019 CLASS

Now that Oregon has played five games, there are eight Ducks from the 2019 class that have burned their redshirt eligibility. If you aren’t familiar with the new redshirt rule established in 2018 by the NCAA, college football players can play up to four games in a season and still redshirt without burning a year of eligibility.

True freshman who have played in all five games and can no longer redshirt: wide receiver Josh Delgado, linebacker Mase Funa, defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, cornerback Mykael Wright, defensive back DJ James, defensive back Jamal Hill, linebacker Ge’Mon Eaford and kicker Camden Lewis.

HERBERT MAKING HISTORY

In Oregon’s most recent win over Cal, quarterback Justin Herbert moved into second at Oregon in career passing yards with 8,411, behind only Marcus Mariota.
 The senior’s 15 touchdown passes in the last five games are the most over that span in school history.


It’s Kayvon Thibodeaux time: Gus Cumberlander out for season with injury

It’s Kayvon Thibodeaux time: Gus Cumberlander out for season with injury

This week’s Oregon football depth chart included a big move at defensive end. Gus Cumberlander is officially out due to a knee injury suffered against California. Cumberlander will miss the remainder of the season, according to Coach Mario Cristobal. True freshman Kayvon Thibodeaux is being called into the starting role.

Thibodeaux is coming off his best performance yet as a Duck, which earned him Pac-12 Defensive Lineman of the week honors. Against Cal, he provided major highlights, recording his first sack and finishing the game with two. Currently, Thibodeaux has totaled nine tackles including six solo tackles.

“I was so excited, my blood was going I felt like a shark when there's blood in the water," Thibodeaux said after the win over Cal. "I mean it was unbelievable."

It’s time for the 6-foot-5, 242-pound defensive end to unleash his ability. He’s an elite pass rusher with explosiveness, scary speed and agility that creates major chaos. Cristobal named Thibodeaux a “game changer” from the moment he committed to the Ducks. ESPN's No. 1 recruit in the 2019 class set a goal of 10 sacks every season. Thibodeaux has played in all five games this season and has seen his role increase each week. Now, he will see a significant jump in playing time.

“We all know the type of player he can be, we’re really happy for him,” Cristobal said after the Cal game. “He’s been wanting to explode like that for a while, so it was great to see him do that tonight.”

The Ducks’ (4-1, 2-0 Pac-12) will host Colorado (3-2, 1-1) at this Friday (10/11) 7 p.m. in Autzen Stadium.

High expectations and laughable goals: WR Mycah Pittman's debut

High expectations and laughable goals: WR Mycah Pittman's debut

Eugene, OR- Mycah Pittman just shined in his Duck debut in No. 13 Oregon’s 17-7 win over California in which he made two spectacular diving catches that awed the sell out crowd of 54,766 in Autzen Stadium. Yet, the freshman walked off the field slowly, with a concerned look on his face that caused senior quarterback Justin Herbert to stop, put his arm around the young receiver and give him some encouragement.

Why so serious?

Because Pittman’s not satisfied.

“If he could, he’d put another hour on the clock and keep playing, that’s the kind of guy that he is,” Oregon Coach Mario Cristobal said. “You see how excitable he is when he touches the ball. Those aren’t easy catches, either… I was very happy that he’s healthy because it means the world to him. Looking forward to more explosive moments from him (and fellow slot receiver Jaylon) Redd.”

His four receptions and 43 yards helped the Ducks grind out the ugly win. The Ducks offense woke up just in time to improve to 2-0 in Pac-12 play for the first time since 2013. Oregon (4-1, 2-0 Pac-12) remains the only team in the North Division without a conference loss.

But Pittman has higher expectations.

“People tell me that I had a great game, I didn’t have any dropped passes, but at the end of the day I feel like I can do more for this team,” Pittman said. “We got a team win and I’m very grateful for that but personally, I’m very hard on myself… I’m a very competitive guy. If I told you guys my goals, you would laugh at me.”

When pressed, Pittman would only add his goals are “really high."

Since stepping foot on campus, the Pittman hype has been full go. During fall camp, he was the most talked about true freshman, making Oregon fans reel in excitement. A shoulder injury, from (of course) making a diving catch in practice set back his plans, changing course to rehabbing and exercising mental reps.

His first game proved that his athleticism and reliable hands are as good as advertised. The “fire in his belly” is also living up to the hype.

“I’ve always told everyone this, he has amazing hands, the best hands I’ve seen from a receiver,” said corner back Thomas Graham. “He’s very tough on himself and I like that, because I’m tough on myself. If you don’t hold yourself to a higher standard than what standard can you tell people to hold you to?”

Pittman’s ruthless attitude is echoed on the Duck defense, which once again came through to keep Oregon in the game. Oregon forced seven Cal three-and-outs and two turnovers.

Freshman Kayvon Thibodeaux also recorded his first sack, finishing the game with two.

“I was so excited, my blood was going I felt like a shark when there's blood in the water," Thibodeaux said. "I mean it was unbelievable."

The relentlessness is also exemplified in sophomore running back Cyrus Habibi-Likio, who couldn’t help but stop a rogue fan who ran onto the field during a TV timeout. He was toying with security when Habibi-Likio stepped up to take down the fan, even though strength and conditioning coordinator Aaron Feld told him not to.

“I had no intention to hurt him,” Habibi-Likio said. “It’s a Pac-12 game and we were down and the momentum was slipping away. Cal Coach (Justin) Wilcox seemed frustrated so he was signaling the security to get him and they weren’t able to get him. Coach Feld told me, ‘don’t do it, don’t do it’ because he saw me pacing back and forth but I had to do it.”

Habibi-Likio scored Oregon’s first touchdown late in the third quarter from a situation he is very comfortable with: on the goal line. The Ducks combined for 206 rushing yards, surpassing the rushing total against Stanford (83 yards) in the first quarter alone.

It wasn’t pretty: Travis Dye fumbled the ball twice, Herbert threw his first interception of 2019, Oregon committed eight penalties (four more than their average per game); and CJ Verdell went down an injury (although the X- Ray came back negative, ankle sprain, according to Cristobal).

However, faced with an opportunity to fold, the Ducks stood. Herbert finished 20-for-33 for 214 yards and was able to extend his touchdown streak to 33 games with a one-yard pass to junior wide receiver Jaylon Redd to all but seal the game in the fourth quarter.

All in all, it was a victory in Pac-12 play. The biggest win? The Ducks, like Pittman, aren’t satisfied.