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Oregon football ends 2018 with a jubilant scene

US Presswire

Oregon football ends 2018 with a jubilant scene

SANTA CLARA, Calif.- The Oregon Ducks ended 2018 with a 7-6 victory over Michigan State in the Redbox Bowl. The win wasn’t pretty; UO had more punts (11) than points, but the triumph and ensuing celebration felt significant to the future of the Oregon football program.

"You take a victory whether it be one point, two points or 50 points," UO coach Mario Cristobal said. “The culture has changed this program and we feel like we are just getting started.”

One look at the jubilant Ducks (9-4) and you would have thought Oregon won its first national title. Ironic, considering Alabama and Clemson will fight on that same field at Levi’s Stadium on Monday in the College Football Playoff Championship game.

The entire scene was something to behold and left an endearing impression of what this win meant to this group. 

When the clock winded down and victory was sealed, the Oregon football team began to chant “CRIS-TO-BAL!” as they doused their first-year head coach with Gatorade.

Cristobal, soaked with Gatorade, led a search party on the grass for his wedding ring; only to remember that he left it in the locker room for safe-keeping.

In their last hurrah of 2018, and with the programs third head coach in as many seasons, Oregon's seniors and team captains, Justin Hollins, Jalen Jelks, Ugo Amadi and Kaulana Apelu rejoiced at winning their first bowl game since the 2014 Rose Bowl victory.

Coaches kissed their spouses and hugged their children after achieving the program's most wins since 2016 with rival victories over Oregon State and Washington.

Junior Troy Dye hoisted his defensive MVP trophy in the air as fans congratulated Oregon’s leading tackler for three-straight seasons on possibly his last victory in a Ducks uniform.

Strength and conditioning coach Aaron Feld sought out and gave Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens’ a strong handshake and congratulations through a handlebar mustache grin.

Ducks fans chanted Justin Herbert’s name, after he etched his name in the UO record books by surpassing 3,000 passing yards in a single-season, becoming the fifth Oregon player to reach 7,000 career passing yards and extending his streak of games with a touchdown pass to 28, the longest active streak in the nation.

The secondary held an impromptu dance party after the Ducks' defense had held the Spartans scoreless through the first half, forced seven punts and allowed only two field goals, the same offensive output the Spartans managed against Ohio State.

After setting a new program single-season receiving record with 1,184 yards (breaking Josh Huff’s 1,140 record set in 2013), wide receiver Dillon Mitchell was awarded offensive MVP during the on stage trophy presentation, which he gave to his dad in the stands.

Lastly, at the postgame press conference, draft-eligible juniors Mitchell and Dye deflected NFL questions as the deadline to declare for the 2019 NFL Draft (Jan. 15) draws near.

No, it wasn’t a national title, not even close, but it was a meaningful postseason victory over a big-ten opponent with the best rushing defense in the nation. Who knows what 2019 holds, certainly a lot of work remains for Oregon to contend, but with a its star quarterback returning, stability in the coaching staff and a young, talented roster… the Oregon program is trending upwards.

Rapid Reaction: Three quick takeaways from Oregon's win over Michigan State in Redbox Bowl

US Presswire

Rapid Reaction: Three quick takeaways from Oregon's win over Michigan State in Redbox Bowl

In all the drama that surrounded Oregon football the past few weeks, with landing the No. 1 overall pick Kayvon Thibodeaux and the announcement of junior quarterback Justin Herbert returning for his senior season, the Oregon Ducks needed a Redbox Bowl win to cap off a season that was feeling great as of lately…

It happened, but it was U-G-L-Y. A win is a win, we guess. It was more of the sluggish offense that the Ducks were all too familiar with over the regular season that carried over on this sunny, 57 degree day here in Santa Clara, California. Oregon's first score came off a 28-yard touchdown from Herbert to Dillon Mitchell, a combo that has been so deadly all season. And that was all she wrote for the Ducks on offense. Luckily, it was enough. Oregon's defense showed up big once again holding the Spartans to just two field goals.

Oregon (9-4) finishes off the 2018-2019 season with a 7-6 win over the Michigan State Spartans (7-6) at Levi's Stadium.

Here are some quick thoughts from our reporters on scene….

FINAL BOX SCORE: Spartans 6, Ducks 7

Bri Amaranthus, NBCSNW Ducks Insider: Oregon’s offense was a snooze-fest. However, if you are looking for a silver lining, quarterback Justin Herbert etched his name into Oregon history books. In the first half, Herbert reached 3,000 passing yards in a single-season, coming the fifth Duck to do so.

Bri Amaranthus, NBCSNW Ducks Insider: The Duck defense delivered. Oregon held MSU scoreless in the first half and kept the Ducks in the game. In particular, Jevon Holland had key pass breakups and an interception. The redzone defense was clutch: Oregon has allowed 46 trips into the red zone this season, but only 20 touchdowns, a rate of 43.5% which ranks 5th in the FBS.

Ashley Young, NBCSNW Football Coordinator: Three words: Catch. The. Ball. Too many drops across the board on an already boring and predictable game plan.

Oregon Ducks at the Redbox Bowl: If you don't play, you don't go

Oregon Ducks at the Redbox Bowl: If you don't play, you don't go

There is a first time for everything! Oregon will make its first ever appearance in the Bay Area for a bowl game. The Ducks (8-4) will play Michigan State (7-5) in the Redbox Bowl on Dec. 31 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

I have good news and an interesting program modification regarding Oregon in the bowl game.

Let’s start with the good news, Oregon coach Mario Cristobal expects everyone to play. At the end of conference play, the list of wounded Ducks was long, but Cristobal’s injury update on Sunday was very positive.

  • Junior quarterback Justin Herbert, who left the Civil War early with a deep shoulder bruise, is healthy and ready to play vs. Michigan State.
  • Senior defensive lineman Jalen Jelks, who did not play in Oregon’s final conference game, is also expected to play in the Redbox Bowl.
  • Freshman offensive tackle Penei Sewell, who missed the last six games of the regular season with an ankle injury, will return for his first bowl game.
  • Senior linebacker Kaulana Apelu, who missed the final three games due to injury, hopes to resume practicing once the Ducks are in California the week of the bowl, in hopes of participating in the game.
  • Senior running back Tony Brooks-James, who left the Civil War with a strained knee, is in a similar situation as Apelu and it’s possible he returns for one more game as a Duck.
  • Offensive lineman Steven Jones, linebacker Isaac Slade-Matautia and freshman linebacker Andrew Johnson are all expected to play.

Two Ducks are questionable vs. Michigan State; Tight end Kano Dillon and cornerback Haki Woods.

The interesting program change? If any Ducks choose to sit out the Redbox Bowl, Cristobal says those players will not travel to the Bay Area. Last season, running back Royce Freeman decided to forgo the Vegas Bowl with a looming NFL Draft ahead, and was on the Oregon sidelines in Las Vegas.

“It’ll be real simple going forward,” Cristobal said. “Simple decision: either you’re playing in the game or not playing in the game. Those that are playing in the game will go to it and those that won’t, won’t.”

As of Sunday, no players have informed Cristobal that they elect to miss the game.

Oregon has requested scouting reports from the NFL advisory committee for a number of draft eligible juniors including; Herbert, wide receiver Dillon Mitchell and linebacker Troy Dye. Oregon coaches plan on helping draft-eligible prospects make an informed decision once those scouting reports are received.

Oregon will begin official bowl practices on Friday, Dec. 14. Until then, the team will be lifting, conditioning and continuing team workouts.

Oregon agrees to home-and-home matchups with Michigan State, Boise State

USA Today

Oregon agrees to home-and-home matchups with Michigan State, Boise State

Oregon has agreed to a home-and-home series with Michigan State renewing one of the better non-conference football series in Ducks history. 

Oregon will play at MSU on Sept. 8, 2029 and host the Spartans on Sept. 7, 2030. 

Oregon this summer also agreed to a home-and-home with Boise State. That series will run for three years with Oregon hosting the Broncos on Sept. 14, 2024, and Sept. 5, 2026. UO will play at Boise State on Sept 13, 2025.

Oregon recently faced MSU in 2014 and 2015. The Ducks, led by quarterback Marcus Mariota, defeated Michigan State 46-27 in 2014 to get a key victory on their way to the national title game. 

The following season, Oregon lost 31-28 at MSU.

Boise State is 3-0 against the Ducks including a 38-28 win in last year's Las Vegas Bowl. Boise State won the first meeting in 2008 by the score of 37-32 at Autzen Stadium. The following season, the Broncos won 19-8 in Boise. 

Here is a list of Oregon's upcoming non-conference opponents:

2019: vs. Auburn (Arlington, Texas), Nevada, Montana 
2020: North Dakota State, Ohio State, Hawaii 
2021: Fresno State, at Ohio State, Stony Brook
2022: Eastern Washington, BYU
2023: Portland State, at Texas Tech, Hawaii 
2024: Texas Tech, Boise State, at Hawaii 
2025: at Boise State 
2026: Boise State 
2027: at Baylor 
2028: Baylor
2029: at Michigan State
2030: Michigan State

Brackets Revealed for PK80

Brackets Revealed for PK80

The brackets for the much-hyped PK80 tournament have been released, and if you are a fan of college basketball you are in for a treat.

The tournament, boasted as one of the largest regular season tournaments in college basketball history, features 16 teams – a list that includes a combined 24 National Championships, three of last season’s Final Four teams, as well as five other teams that made the field of 64 last season.

PK80 will consist of two brackets, “Victory” and “Motion,” with each bracket crowning their own champion over the weekend. 

According to a press release, the names were chosen to pay tribute Nike and Phil Knight –

- “Victory”: In Greek mythology, Nike was considered the goddess of Victory

- “Motion”: The swoosh logo is not only meant to represent motion, but to also resemble the wings of the goddess Nike

Here is a quick breakdown of both:


The “Victory” bracket will play host to local teams Oregon and Portland, 2017 National Champions North Carolina, as well as UConn, Georgetown, Oklahoma, Michigan State, and Arkansas.

Round 1 will see North Carolina vs Portland, Arkansas vs Oklahoma, Georgetown vs Michigan State, and UConn vs Oregon.


“Motion” will be headlined by 2017 runner-up and Northwest favorite Gonzaga, along with fellow local school Portland State. They will be joined by Coach K and the Duke Blue Devils, Texas, Stanford, Ohio State, Florida, and Butler.

Round 1 will see Duke vs Portland State,  Butler vs Texas, Florida vs Stanford, and Gonzaga vs Ohio State.

Click here to view a printable bracket

The two brackets will run simultaneously at Moda Center and Veterans Memorial Coliseum from Thursday, Nov. 23 to Sunday, Nov. 26, with no games being played on Saturday.

Note: The champsions of the individual brackets will not play eachother, instead the brackets are being treated like two individual tournaments. 

For more information visit pkinvitational.com




PK80: 16-Team college hoops tournament comes to Portland in 2017


PK80: 16-Team college hoops tournament comes to Portland in 2017

Next November the Rose Quarter will play host to one of the largest regular season tournaments in the history of college basketball. Welcome to PK80 – The Phil Knight Invitational.

Held in honor of the Nike co-founder’s 80 birthday, PK80will see 12 teams from around the nation and four local schools converge on the Rose City. 

Portland’s own University of Portland and Portland State University will carry the torch for PDX, while Gonzaga and the University of Oregon will also help them represent the northwest.

The four northwest school will be joined by 12 of the best college basketball programs in the nation; Arkansas, Butler, Connecticut, Duke, Florida, Georgetown, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Stanford and Texas.

The invitational consists of two eight team brackets, with each bracket only having one school from each conference. The the winners of each bracket playing in a championship game.

In total the participants have combined for 23 national titles, 89 final four appearance, and 391 NCAA Tournament Invitations. Needless to say, this tournament is sort of a big deal.

The invitational starts on Thursday, November 23 and ends on Sunday, November 24(with no games played on Saturday).

Here are what some of the participating coaches are saying, via the official press release:

“It’s an honor to be included in this prestigious group of college basketball programs and to get the chance to participate in an event as exciting as the PK80. The level of competition, as well as the college basketball atmosphere, will make it a tremendous experience for everyone involved, especially the student-athletes. After all he’s done for college basketball, there is no more appropriate way to help Phil Knight celebrate such a special birthday.” – UConn head coach Kevin Ollie

“Phil Knight has been a visionary and an innovator for a long time. PK80 is a unique way we can honor him and the contributions he has made not just to the game of basketball, but to all of sport.” – Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski

“What a great way to celebrate Phil Knight and all that he and Nike have done for college basketball and the Florida Gators. We’re excited and honored to be part of this field that features so many excellent programs.” – Florida head coach Mike White

It's exciting to be a part of this tournament. It is a privilege to be involved in an event that honors Phil Knight.  Mr. Knight has not only been pivotal figure in college athletics, but he has been a driving force in the entire sports industry. We are proud to participate in an event that celebrates him. – Georgetown head coach John Thompson III

“We’ve been fortunate to play in some incredible preseason events, but we’ve never been a part of something this amazing – both in terms of quantity and quality of the teams. This is sure to be an incredible experience for all the student-athletes. It’s only fitting to pay tribute to a one-of-a-kind man with a one-of-a-kind event. Phil Knight has revolutionized modern day fitness, while setting the gold standard for shoes and apparel, not just in basketball, but across all other sports and activities as well.” – Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo

“What a thrill for North Carolina Basketball to be playing in such a special event to honor a truly special man. PK80 not only brings together some of the top basketball programs in the game, it honors a giant in business and sports. Mr. Knight has a wonderful ability to touch people’s lives and do great things, both in and out of the sports world. I’ll always cherish my friendship with him.” – North Carolina head coach Roy Williams

For more information, visit pkinvitational.com