Thomas Graham Jr.

What it means to have Thomas Graham Jr., Deommodore Lenoir back in Oregon’s secondary

What it means to have Thomas Graham Jr., Deommodore Lenoir back in Oregon’s secondary

Let’s rewind a little over one year ago.

The Oregon Ducks were preparing for a Redbox Bowl showdown against the Michigan State Spartans when junior quarterback Justin Herbert and junior linebacker Troy Dye decided to give Ducks fans one more Christmas present: another season in a Ducks uniform. 

And it paid off. Today, the Ducks can not only call themselves Pac-12 champions but also Rose Bowl champions. 

The decision as a junior (or three-year collegiate player) to either declare for the NFL Draft or play another season in college holds a lot of weight on each end. The risk of injury; a paycheck; which round your name will be called; family opinions; etc.

Fast forward to Monday, January 13, 2020, and juniors Thomas Graham Jr., Deommodore Lenoir, Jordon Scott and Austin Faoliu had that same decision in front of them. They have ALL decided to forgo the NFL Draft and return to Oregon for their senior season.

A big time decision with great impact on an already impressive defensive roster. In 2019, the Ducks defense (under first-year defensive coordinator Andy Avalos) lead the Pac-12 in interceptions (20), turnovers forced (23) and sacks (41), categories that Graham Jr., Lenoir, Scott and Faoliu greatly contributed in.

Now, they’re back for another year.

We decided to do this altogether because we all came into together, class of 2017. We all felt we made a change together and felt this decision needs to be made to everybody together as one. — Thomas Graham Jr. 

Let’s break down cornerbacks Thomas Graham Jr. and Deommodore Lenoir’s individual impact as well as what it means for 2020.

THOMAS GRAHAM JR.

The minute Thomas Graham Jr. stepped onto the field as a freshman, you knew he was going to be great. The 5-foot-11, 197-pound corner from Rancho Cucamonga, California earned the starting corner spot his freshman year alongside senior Arrion Springs and junior Ugo Amadi. 

Graham had offers from Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma amongst others, and chose the Oregon Ducks and then Coach Willie Taggart. He chose a first-year head coach at Oregon over the stability and history that Nick Saban brings to the Crimson Tide. The reason? He wanted to come in and help change a program. Oregon was coming off a 4-8 season with no postgame bowl and hiring a brand new coaching staff when Graham committed.

Loyalty, hard work, and trust all come to mind when thinking about his career at Oregon. The junior ended this past season with 64 tackles (47 solo), five tackles-for-loss, one forced fumble, ten pass breakups, and two interceptions.

With all said, for me I’d like to thank the University of Oregon for everything they’ve done for me. It’s been such a blessing. A lot of childhood dreams have come true. I always told my dad as a kid I would win the Pac-12 championship. I was able to do that. Didn’t think I was going to do it in the colors that I’m in but no less than anything, thank you Oregon. All that being said, I’d like to announce that I’m coming back for my senior year. I got one more season left to go in Autzen. Let’s see what we got to do Duck nation. — Graham Jr.

[RELATED]: Thomas Graham Jr.’s NFL test results

DEOMMODORE LENOIR

Deommodore Lenoir has shown consistent improvement throughout the years at Oregon. A four-star rated prospect out of high school by Rivals and 247Sports, the 5-foot-11, 202-pound corner from Los Angeles, California snagged a beautiful one-handed interception vs. USC and returned it 45 yards. In the 2020 Rose Bowl, he recorded six tackles and recovered one fumble. 

The junior cornerback ended this past season with 47 tackles (32 solo), two tackles-for-loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, seven pass breakups, and one interception.

I would like to thank the University of Oregon. I want to thank my family, friends. The relationships that we built over the years, and with that being said, I will be returning for my senior year. Thank you Oregon. — Lenoir

It’s not all about football for Lenoir. He stated that the biggest thing for him is being able to get his degree before he left Oregon.

[RELATED]: Oregon CB Deommodore Lenoir to return to Oregon for senior season

WHAT THIS MEANS

If you thought the Ducks secondary was scary in 2019, it could get even scarier in 2020. A defense that caught the eyes of Dez Bryant among others at the beginning of the season vs. Auburn ended their 2019 campaign with a 2020 Rose bowl victory and leading the Pac-12 conference in multiple team defense statistic categories.

The 2020 Ducks defense will be without linebacker Troy Dye as his career is NFL bound now, but returning starting corners Graham and Lenoir along with returners Nick Pickett, Brady Breeze (2020 Rose Bowl Defensive MVP), Jevon Holland, Verone McKinley III, Mykael Wright, Trikweze Bridges, DJ James and incoming freshmen Luke Hill and Dontae Manning.

I’m a competitive person also. So having great players in one room, it just brings out the best version in everybody. — Lenoir.

What’s in store for the Ducks secondary in 2020? With the return of Graham Jr., and Lenoir, the sky is the limit.

A main thought for all of us is just being dominant. The only way you can be dominant is to be consistent. — Graham Jr.

Sorry Pac-12, they’re back.

Oregon Ducks CB Thomas Graham Jr. to return for senior season

Oregon Ducks CB Thomas Graham Jr. to return for senior season

Not many Ducks have the chance to be a four-year starter.

Thomas Graham Jr. will be one of them.

The junior cornerback announced he will return to school for his senior season in a Ducks uniform in a joint press conference Monday afternoon.

[RELATED: Jordon Scott returns for his senior season | Deommodore Lenoir to return for his senior seasonAustin Faoliu to return for his senior season]

Graham Jr., along with three other Ducks, tested the draft waters ahead of the Rose Bowl and was told he would not be a first-round or second-round selection. He was expected to be drafted sometime during the second or third day of the upcoming NFL Draft if he declared.

The defensive back was a starter from his first game and didn't take long for him to make an impact. He came away with two interceptions in his second career game in a 42-35 victory over Nebraska. 

The junior cornerback ended this past season with 64 tackles (47 solo), five tackles-for-loss, one forced fumble, ten pass breakups, and two interceptions. He was an instrumental part of a Ducks defense that led the nation in forced turnovers (23) and interceptions (20).

 

With his return, the Ducks secondary will return every starter from this past season. In the first season under defensive coordinator Andy Avalos, the Ducks ranked 22nd in the nation in total defense.

Returning or incoming cornerbacks include junior Daewood Davis, sophomores Trikweze Bridges, DJ James, Verone Mckinley III, Jordan Adeyemijohn, and incoming freshmen Dontae Manning and Luke Hill.

To stay or to go? Thomas Graham’s insight into his looming NFL decision

To stay or to go? Thomas Graham’s insight into his looming NFL decision

The Pac-12 Conference champion Oregon Ducks (11-2) are prepping for their 2019 season finale and biggest challenge of the season. The Ducks have a chance to win the biggest game of their UO careers against No. 8 Wisconsin (10-3) on Jan. 1 at 2 p.m. in the Rose Bowl (ESPN).

For seniors like quarterback Justin Herbert, linebackers Troy Dye and La’Mar Winston, it’s the last 60 minutes in a Duck uniform. There is a chance the ‘Granddaddy of them All’ could be the finale for a few draft eligible Ducks. 

One of those players is cornerback Thomas Graham, Jr. An honorable mention All-Pac-12 Conference selection, Graham requested an NFL evaluation, which tells players if they are projected in the first or second rounds. After testing the waters, Graham’s evaluation came back, suggesting that he should return for his senior season.

Graham has yet to make a decision and won’t announce his plans until after the Rose Bowl, but he has had some important conversations to help his process.

I talked to all the seniors and they just said, play the game, focus on the game, and then after have the discussion with your family. Outside of the NFL evaluation, I’ve told coach Cristobal that I am focused on this game. At the end of the day, that’s the main point, these seniors owe too much and I’m not the type to sit out... Whatever decision I make will be the best decision for me. -Thomas Graham

What is the biggest contributing factor for Graham?

How comfortable I am with my play.  If I don’t feel I am good enough to go play at the next level, or that I need to learn more,  then it would be dumb for me to leave. I have a great coach in coach Donte (Williams) here. -Thomas Graham

The junior, who has made 38 consecutive starts, is tied for seventh among active Pac-12 Conference players in career interceptions with seven.
 He played a major role in one of Oregon’s strongest defenses in history. This year, Oregon’s 15.7 points allowed per game in 2019 is the lowest in school history since 1966, holding 12 of 13 opponents under their season scoring average. 

[READ: Troy Dye is sorry… but not for coming back for his senior season]

If all the draft-eligible Ducks (Jordon Scott, Austin Faoliu, Deommodore Lenoir, Graham Jr.) decided to stay for 2020, Oregon would return all starters on the defense except for one: linebacker Troy Dye. 

The glitz and the glam of the NFL is inviting but should Graham Jr. return, he would be leading a secondary unit full of veterans (Lenoir, Brazy Breeze, Nick Pickett) with added up-and-comers (Verone McKinley III, Mykael Wright) in what could be a dangerous group of ball-hawks for Oregon's 2020 defense. 

Thomas Graham Jr.’s view of the 2020 Rose Bowl will be slightly better than in 2015

Thomas Graham Jr.’s view of the 2020 Rose Bowl will be slightly better than in 2015

The 2015 Rose Bowl game between Oregon and Florida State is definitely one that is hard to forget. Well, maybe if you are a Seminoles fan, it’s a bit different. The Ducks flew onto a 59-20 victory over Jameis Winston and the Seminoles. 

Can you picture the exact moment where you witnessed quarterback Marcus Mariota hoisting the trophy as the green and yellow streamers sailed to the ground at the ‘Granddaddy of them all’?

For Oregon junior corner Thomas Graham Jr., it was from the stands.

On Wednesday, Graham Jr. will have a slightly better view of the Rose Bowl… from the field alongside his fellow teammates against the Wisconsin Badgers.

It really hasn’t hit me yet. When I step onto the field, it’s going to be like ‘Wow, this is exactly where I was standing at watching Marcus Mariota do his thing. Seeing Jameis Winston out there. It was a lot of people that I was a big fan of at the time. -- Thomas Graham Jr.

Graham Jr. remembers when Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston threw the ball backwards and was returned by Oregon linebacker Tony Washington for a touchdown. He remembers when Darren Carrington broke free down the sideline and capped off his touchdown run with the "whip" celebration.

It all had an impact on his life. Now, he hopes to give a kid in the stands that similar feeling when the No. 6 Ducks take on No. 8 Wisconsin in the 2019 Rose Bowl this Wednesday on January, 1, 2020.

Just being able to be on the field and actually be there and there’s probably going to be a kid in the stands watching that wants to be in my shoes one day. Keep on dreaming because that dream could come true. -- Thomas Graham Jr.

Legacy of a Leader: Troy Dye's intensity guiding Oregon to a season worth coming back for

Legacy of a Leader: Troy Dye's intensity guiding Oregon to a season worth coming back for

Flashback to a beautifully crisp winter day and Oregon’s win over Michigan State in the Redbox Bowl at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. 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.

It wasn’t. Despite gaining traction as a “freak athlete” in NFL circles with an opportunity to make major money in the 2019 NFL draft, Dye chose to stay at Oregon for his senior season. 

317 days later, Dye is still leading No. 6 Oregon in tackles, has jumped up to a projected first round 2020 NFL draft selection and has the opportunity to be hoisting a more prestigious trophy in the air in his actual final season.

Through eight games, Dye’s senior tour has featured 42 tackles with 6.5 for a loss including a sack, three pass breakups and an interception on one of Oregon’s strongest defenses in program history.

His highlights are stunning:

  • In his final home opener, the smiling linebacker danced alone to the familiar tune of “Shout” letting loose and pumping up the rowdy crowd in a moment that will go down in history.
  • Dye recorded a career-high 15 tackles and the most in a season opener in Oregon history vs. Auburn.
  • Dye performed a snow angel in the middle of the W at Husky Stadium after overcoming the largest second-half deficit since 2008.
  • Back in his home of southern California, Dye jumped into the stands after handing USC its worst home loss since 2009.

The Ducks are undefeated in Pac-12 Conference play, one win from claiming the North Division and contenders for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

On a scale from 1-10, how much fun is Dye having?

“I’m at a 12. I’m having a blast. I wake up every morning with a smile on my face, I come here (to practice) with a smile on my face and I’m going to leave with a smile on my face.”

The most telling moment of his season may have come from suffering a broken thumb and gutting it out at Washington. The injury kept him on the sideline against Washington State, snapping his consecutive start streak at 40 games and bringing a reality that it takes only one snap for a football season, or career, to be over. In a cast the size of a club, Dye returned one game later to beat up on the Trojans and show the truth of his character.

“That’s a significant injury that a lot of people would have probably waited to be fully healed and then go and play,” Oregon Coach Mario Cristobal said. “But what he chose to do is different. When guys like Troy speak, those are strong, powerful and impactful words. This (season) means a lot to him and it shows in the way he approaches practice and everything he does. I can’t say enough great things about him, I think he’s as good as it gets in the country.”

His words impacted Oregon's home opener, in which the Ducks trailed Cal 7-0 at halftime. Dye’s halftime speech eloquently made it clear the Ducks needed to play to their standard. The sentiment was echoed and the Ducks overcame their slow start to beat the Bears 17-7.

His actions speak louder than his words. Since returning and still in a cast for his thumb, the linebacker has hit a new level with three conference games left to play.

“He’s done a tremendous job over the course of the season but you really see it now, down the stretch,” Oregon Defensive Coordinator Andy Avalos said. “In my opinion, I think he’s turned it up in practice, since the injury. It made him want it even more.”

Troy Dye agrees that he has hit a new intensity.

“I realized that it can be taken from you. Within a snap, it can be gone,” Dye said. “I’m super fortunate to be able to come back and play with my brothers and end the season how I want to end it. I’m happy, I’m having fun with it and enjoying my time here.”

His teammates couldn’t be happier for him, either. True freshman Mase Funa beams when he details all the tips he’s learned from Dye. Junior Thomas Graham loves to see Dye prosper after witnessing him help change the program from a 4-8 team (2016) to a team on an eight-game winning streak with the biggest goals, a conference title and playoff berth, still possible.

What’s it like for Cristobal to witness Dye live his best life this season?

“I’m jealous. I want to go back to college and do it like he’s doing it,” Cristobal said.

In his final season, the future opportunities are ever-present for Dye. Every Oregon game, more and more NFL scouts grace the media press box. Dye accepted a Senior Bowl invite, where he can show off his elite agility and lateral quickness.

But before all of that, the Ducks need their leader to finish a potentially history-making season, which is exactly the kind of season a junior hopes to return for.

Mario Cristobal’s ear catching comments on expanding Mykael Wright’s role

Mario Cristobal’s ear catching comments on expanding Mykael Wright’s role

Oregon true freshman Mykael Wright has earned the nickname “silent assassin” from his teammates. His quiet demeanor, number two jersey and superstar type skills draw the comparison to NBA star Kawhi Leonard. The cornerback lived up to that label in the No. 7 Ducks’ win over USC when he killed USC's momentum and returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown with 20 seconds remaining in the first half.

The speedy freshman had only regularly began working as a kick returner earlier that week. However, Oregon coach Mario Cristobal was not shocked when Wright completely transformed the energy of the game. The top-ranked cornerback in the nation (ESPN, 2019) returned punts in high school and provided tape highlights, which Cristobal often refers to. Cristobal instantly noticed Wright’s natural instincts as a returner.

“Naturally, when the ball is in the air, he knows how to get to it,” Cristobal said. "He knows how to handle receivers and handle guys who show late hands. When he’s had the ball in his hands in practice when he gets a pick or something of that nature, he just has a natural feel for following his blockers or setting up his blocks.”

His versatility has provided a solid foundation and a major strength for Oregon. During his two seasons at Valencia high school in California, Wright had nine interceptions and 25 tackles on defense. On offense, he picked up 1,986 receiving yards in addition to 26 touchdowns.

Entering this season, junior starting cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. tabbed Wright as a future freshman All-American. Now, Cristobal is game planning an increased role for Wright.

“Without question, he’s an electrifying player back there,” Cristobal said. “I think the more he does it, the better and better he’ll get. We don’t want to extend him too much because he’s got a lot going on with special teams and playing corner for us, but his role on teams is going to expand.”

The natural playmaker’s next opportunity will come this Saturday night, as Oregon looks to beat Arizona to officially punch its ticket to the Pac-12 Conference title game.

Say a little prayer, win a big game --- Camden Lewis comes up big for Oregon

Say a little prayer, win a big game --- Camden Lewis comes up big for Oregon

With 34 seconds remaining on the clock and Oregon's hopes of snapping a four-year losing streak vs. Mike Leach and the Washington State Cougars laying in the balance, there was a moment of calm. A game winning field goal was pending as Oregon ran the ball to the WSU six yard line then centered the ball at the eight, trailing by a single point. 

Thomas Graham Jr. embraced freshman kicker Camden Lewis on the sideline and prayed. 

The story writes itself from there. The freshman kicker drove home the 26 yard field goal and the madness ensued. 

After the game, Justin Herbert gave praise to his kicker on TV, just as Coach Mario Cristobal did in the press room:

“He went in there cool as can be and got it done.”

It was a storybook ending to a drama-filled game and what better way than a freshman kicker, at home, in front of a packed Autzen Stadium to bring home the win?

Graham Jr. tweeted after the game:

Oregon will head to USC next for a 5pm kickoff on Saturday, November 2nd. For now, Lewis and Graham Jr. will enjoy the excitement of the moment, but will not forget the moment before the moment. 

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.

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.

Oregon Ducks' surprising hobbies: Can you guess who is the best at video games?

Oregon Ducks' surprising hobbies: Can you guess who is the best at video games?

Have you ever wondered which Oregon Duck football player is the best at video games? Did you know that UO’s leading rusher lived in Japan for three years of his life? Would you guess that an incoming freshman is a huge Star Wars fan?

At Oregon football media day, players’ personalities shined through, and we discovered divulging hobbies and facts that fans might be surprised to find out.

At this point, you’ve seen Oregon football’s strength and conditioning coordinator Aaron Feld and his mustache. You’ve heard of Flex Friday. Today we are trading in Flex Friday for Fun Friday, so you can learn more about the Ducks off the field.

A few highlights from the video above:

- Starting cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. loves video games and is the self-proclaimed “best player at Madden on the team". The only person that can challenge him is fellow junior cornerback Deommodore Lenoir.

- Freshman tight end Patrick Herbert, quarterback Justin Herbert’s younger brother, is a huge Star Wars fan.

- Safety Jevon Holland is from Vancouver, British Columbia. In his spare time, he loves to paint.

- Defensive tackle Jordon Scott can throw down in the kitchen.