Nevada football

Oregon’s home opener marked with momentous firsts and lasts

Oregon’s home opener marked with momentous firsts and lasts

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.

Instant analysis: Oregon dominates Nevada in home opener

Instant analysis: Oregon dominates Nevada in home opener

EUGENE, ORE. – The Oregon Ducks won their first game of the 2019 football season against Nevada in front of rowdy 50,920 fans in Autzen Stadium. The dominating win extends Oregon’s streak of consecutive wins over non-conference opponents at home to 24, a stretch that dates back to 2008.

It was all eyes on the No. 16 Ducks to see how the team would rebound from their last second loss to No. 11 Auburn in prime time… Would Oregon allow the Tigers to beat them twice? The answer is a resounding no.

Here are the top three takeaways from the game.

1. JUSTIN HERBERT WOKE UP (AND THE STREAK LIVES!)

Saturday marked Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert’s 30th start and his 30th straight game with a touchdown pass, the longest streak in the nation.

After an underwhelming start and a few missed throws from the senior, Herbert settled down and woke up the Autzen crowd with a 66-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jacob Breeland. The explosive play tied Breeland’s career long for a reception in a game.

Following that touchdown pass in the first quarter, Herbert completed the next 10 of 11 passes for 209 yards and four touchdowns. Herbert finished with 310 passing yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions. Four of those touchdowns were caught by players who had never scored before: Daewood Davis, Ryan Bay, Brady Aiello and Bryan Addison.

 

2. DUCK DEFENSE DOMINATION

The Oregon defense entertained and delighted all night. Cornerback Deommodore Lenoir made a statement right away, stopping all three plays Nevada ran on their first possession. In the first half alone, the Ducks had eight tackles for loss and held Nevada to only 97 yards of offense.

The Ducks pestered Wolf Pack quarterback Carson Strong, grabbing two interceptions in the first half.  

True freshmen Mase Funa and Kayvon Thibodeaux provided highlights on back-to-back plays. Funa recorded his first career sack on third and 12 and then Thibodeaux tackled the Nevada punter for an 11-yard loss after a bad snap.

Oregon didn’t let up, DJ Johnson forced a fumble which Brady Breeze recovered and returned for a touchdown to extend Oregon’s lead to 62-6.

 

3. MONSTER DUCK TIGHT ENDS

Cue Oprah… “You get a touchdown, you get a touchdown, you get a touchdown!” With a depleted wide receiving corps, Oregon’s tight ends stepped up in a major way.

Breeland recorded his first career 100-yard receiving game and a career-high for receiving yards. The senior was dependable and a constant threat over the middle.

Ryan Bay scored his first career touchdown, a 16-yard grab in the second quarter. The 6-foot-3 senior came to Oregon as a walk-on from Tigard.

The biggest tight end on the field was offensive lineman Brady Aiello wearing a number 82 jersey. Aiello got to do what most lineman only dream about, catch a touchdown pass from the quarterback they usually protect.

Hunter Kampmoyer scored as well, a tight end who began his career as a defensive end.

Oregon had more than 10 receivers catch a pass. The Ducks offense rolled and made a strong statement that dates back a decade. The win marked the 10th straight home opener that Oregon scored 50 or more points.

 

More to come including videos and articles with quotes from Coach Mario Cristobal and Ducks players throughout the night.

Oregon vs. Nevada: 10 numbers to know

Oregon vs. Nevada: 10 numbers to know

No. 16 Oregon hosts Nevada in its home opener for the 2019 season. The Ducks (0-1) look to bounce back and get their first win after a last-minute defeat to No. 10 Auburn. Can UO stop a hangover loss or will the Ducks allow the Tigers to beat them twice?

Nevada (1-0) has nothing to lose, everything to gain and intense momentum coming into Autzen Stadium. The Wolf Pack mounted a stunning comeback win over Purdue on Friday night. Oregon can still win the Pac-12 North and contend for a conference title but the Ducks need to bounce back sooner rather than later.

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

1. INJURY UPDATES

Two Ducks will miss the entire 2019 football season: Sophomore linebacker Adrian Jackson and true freshman wide receiver J.R. Waters both suffered season ending foot injuries.

The loss of Waters is another hit to Oregon’s wide receiving corps. The Ducks are coping with injuries to Brenden Schooler (right foot)Mycah Pittman (shoulder) and most recently Juwan Johnson, who is day-to-day with a foot injury.

Tight end Cam McCormick is also day-to-day.

2. VEGAS, BABY

Oregon is a three-touchdown home favorite over Nevada. The Ducks opened as 21.5 point favorites over the Wolf Pack, currently the Ducks are 23 point favorites. The over-under is 62 total points.

3. SEWELL VS. SEWELL

Ducks starting left tackle Penei Sewell graded out as the third-best offensive lineman and second best tackle in the Pac-12 in week one according to Pro Football Focus. The sophomore has not committed a penalty in 521 snaps in his career.

Against Nevada, Penei Sewell will face a new challenge: his brother, senior linebacker Gabriel Sewell. Gabriel Sewell led the Nevada defense in 2018 with 92 total tackles and is on watch lists for the Chuck Bednarik Award and Polynesian Player of the Year.

"I'm sure when that number is called and he has to block him, and Gabe has to take on a block, they're not going to play patty cake," Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said.

4. POSITION MOVES

As a result of the depleted wide receiving unit, Oregon has switched up its week two depth chart.

-Redshirt freshman Spencer Webb has been moved from tight end to wide receiver.

According to Cristobal, Webb’s role will be “expanded.” With Juwan Johnson out, the 6-foot-6 246-pound Webb was the large target that Herbert desperately needed against Auburn, scoring his first career touchdown -- an impressive 20-yard grab over the back of a defensive back.

-Sophomore Daewood Davis has been moved from cornerback to wide receiver.

As a redshirt freshman, Davis played receiver in seven games and had a 13-yard reception against San Jose State. He moved from wide receiver to cornerback after the season.

5. RED HOT DYE

In his 34th consecutive start, Dye recorded a game-high 15 tackles against Auburn. After a stellar 115-tackle junior season, Dye needs 106 tackles in 2019 to become Oregon’s all-time leader.

Currently, Dye leads all active Power 5 players with 328 career tackles and has 18 games with 10 or more tackles.

6. STREAKING HERBERT

Herbert has a streak of 29 consecutive games with a touchdown pass, the longest in the country. He has led Oregon to an average of 37.7 points per game over his 29 career starts, and ranks sixth among active FBS leaders in passing touchdowns (64) and eighth in passing yards (7,312).

7. HISTORY

Oregon is 6-1 all-time against Nevada, winning the last six straight. The last matchup was in 2011 when Darron Thomas matched a school record with six touchdown passes and the 13th-ranked Ducks dominated Nevada, 69-20. Last time Nevada beat Oregon was in 1947.

8. HOME OPENER DOMINANCE

Oregon owns a 14-game win streak in home openers heading into Saturday's showdown with Nevada. The streak has been fueled by an offense that has averaged 57.1 points per game over that span, outscoring their opponents by an 800-285 margin.

Also, a win would extend Oregon’s streak of consecutive wins over non-conference opponents at home to 24 that dates back to 2008.

9. THE AVALOS FACTOR

Oregon’s X-Factor in preparing for Nevada’s offense may be new defensive coordinator Andy Avalos. Avalos spent the last seven seasons at Boise State, were he gained lots of experienced facing the Wolf Pack.

10. ANOTHER FRESHMAN QB1

After facing Auburn freshman Bo Nix in his first college start, the Ducks will face another freshman quarterback in Nevada’s Carson Strong. Strong is the first Wolf Pack starting freshman since 1998.

Strong earned the starting nod midway through fall camp and had a debut. In Nevada’s win over Purdue, Strong completed 30- of-51 passes for 295 yards and three touchdowns, including commanding a game-tying and game-winning drive in a come-from-behind victory.

MORE DUCKS:

Mario Cristobal's ear-catching comments about Jevon Holland

Oregon Ducks fall five spots in Top 25 after loss to Auburn

5 changes to Oregon's week two depth chart, following the loss to Auburn

Ducks started and ended their playoff run on the same night

 

Mario Cristobal's ear-catching comments about Jevon Holland

Mario Cristobal's ear-catching comments about Jevon Holland

Week two feels simultaneously like a breath of fresh air, an opportunity and a burden for Oregon football. After the Ducks’ last minute 27-21 loss to Auburn, coach Mario Cristobal had a lot of topics to cover in his weekly Monday press conference, including one comment that caught me off guard.

Ducks Fly South

Cristobal's opening statement began by thanking fans who traveled to Dallas for the season opener.

“It was awesome coming out of the tunnel and seeing every one out there,” Cristobal said. “Looking forward to the opportunity to get back to Autzen Stadium.”

Injury Update

Cristobal detailed the current injuries, including two Ducks that will miss the entire 2019 football season. Sophomore linebacker Adrian Jackson and true freshman wide receiver J.R. Waters both suffered season ending foot injuries.

The loss of Waters is another hit to Oregon’s wide receiving corps.  The Ducks are coping with injuries to Brenden Schooler (right foot)Mycah Pittman (shoulder) and most recently, Juwan Johnson who is day-to-day with a foot injury.

Depth chart changes

As a result of the depleted wide receiving unit, Oregon has switched up its week two depth chart, which Cristobal confirmed.

-Redshirt freshman Spencer Webb has been moved from tight end to wide receiver.

According to Cristobal, Webb’s role will be “expanded.” Webb saved quarterback Justin Herbert with an absolute stunner play vs. Auburn. Herbert got rushed and hit while throwing the ball into the end zone. Webb went over the top of an Auburn defensive back and came down with the touchdown, then channeled his inner Allen Iverson step-over. The 20-yard score was Webb’s first career catch. 

With Juwan Johnson out, the 6-foot-6 246-pound Webb was the large target that Herbert desperately needed. 

-Sophomore Daewood Davis has been moved from cornerback to wide receiver.

As a redshirt freshman, Davis played receiver in seven games and had a 13-yard reception against San Jose State. He moved from wide receiver to cornerback after the season.

Freshman standouts

Eight true freshmen made their collegiate debuts for Oregon: wide receiver Josh Delgado (start), linebacker Ge’Mon Eaford, linebacker Mase Funa, safety Jamal Hill, cornerback DJ James, kicker Camden Lewis, defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, cornerback Mykael Wright.

Cristobal named Funa and Thibodeaux as two new Ducks that had impressive performances.

With Jackson’s injury, Funa, who had a few major stops vs. Auburn, is the backup at SAM and at the STUD position this week.

Comment of the day

The most ear catching comments were Cristobal’s compliments of safety Jevon Holland. "I won’t kid you that he’s actually a better wide receiver than he is a DB but we’re not going to make that move anytime soon," said Cristobal.  

The sophomore could arguably be Oregon's MVP from the season opener. His performance made him the first FBS player since 2007 with 130 punt return yards and an interception in the same game. His electrifying 81-yard punt return in the second quarter was the longest punt return in a college game at AT&T Stadium. The ball-hawk intercepted his sixth career interception when he picked off Auburn quarterback Bo Nix in the second quarter. Holland looked like the best player on Oregon’s defense on Saturday. 

"If he plays to that level all year, he'll be one of the better players in college football," Cristobal said. 

Cristobal’s comment and piling injuries at the receiver position beg the questions… Should he switch? Could he play on both sides of the ball?

At Bishop O’Dowd High school in California, Holland was a star in all three phases of the game as a receiver, a defensive back and returner. Holland totaled 1,012 yards and 12 touchdowns. He averaged 22 yards per return and took five to the house.

While Cristobal noted there isn't a plan to move Holland currently, there is no doubt Holland’s hands and athleticism make him a dangerous player and potential star for the Ducks.

5 changes to Oregon's week two depth chart, following the loss to Auburn

5 changes to Oregon's week two depth chart, following the loss to Auburn

After Oregon's last minute 27-21 loss to Auburn, week two feels simultaneously like a breath of fresh air, an opportunity and a burden. 

Ahead of the Ducks’ (0-1) next matchup against Nevada (1-0), Coach Mario Cristobal released the weekly depth chart. There are a few notable changes for the 4:30 p.m. kickoff in Autzen Stadium.

Instant analysis:

1. Redshirt freshman Spencer Webb has been moved from tight end to wide receiver.

Webb saved quarterback Justin Herbert with an absolute stunner play. Herbert got rushed and hit while throwing the ball into the end zone. Webb went over the top of an Auburn defensive back and came down with the touchdown, then channeled his inner Allen Iverson step-over. The 20-yard score was Webb’s first career catch. 

With Juwan Johnson out, the 6-foot-6 246-pound Webb was the large target that Herbert desperately needed. 

2. Sophomore Daewood Davis has been moved from cornerback to wide receiver.

As a redshirt freshman, Davis played receiver in seven games and had a 13-yard reception against San Jose State. He moved from wide receiver to cornerback after the season.

3. True freshman Mase Funa is listed at backup at both linebacker spots.

Last week’s depth chart listed Sophomore linebacker Adrian Jackson as the backup at the "SAM" linebacker position but he was not with the team in Texas due to injury. This week Funa, who had a few major stops vs. Auburn, is the backup at SAM and at the STUD position.

4. Juwan Johnson and Cam McCormick remain listed

Neither Johnson or McCormick played against Auburn but both remain listed on the depth chart for week two. Johnson was in sweats on the sideline and out due to a late-week leg injury. McCormick was in uniform but not fully ready to play.

5. Zach Emerson is not on the depth chart

Last week’s depth chart listed Adam Stack or Camden Lewis or Zach Emerson at kicker, this week it is just Stack or Lewis.

Four Oregon football game times released

Four Oregon football game times released

There are 93 days until Oregon football kicks off the 2019 season against Auburn on August 31, 2019… But, who is counting?

 

Four weeks of the 2019-20 UO football schedule have been released:

 

Aug. 31 at 4:30 p.m. Oregon vs. Auburn in Arlington, Texas, ABC

Sept. 7 at 4:30 p.m. Oregon vs. Nevada in Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR, Pac12 Network

Sept. 14 at 7:45 p.m. Oregon vs. Montana in Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR, Pac12 Network

Oct. 11 (Fri.) at 7 p.m. Oregon vs. Colorado in Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR, FS1

 

The nation will be watching the Ducks vs. Auburn, the game is set for prime time and it’s already shaping up to be a doozy. The season opener is only the second meeting between the two programs and the first since the 2010 national championship game. The game is also Oregon’s first against an SEC opponent since it defeated Tennessee, 59-14, at Autzen Stadium during the 2013 season.