After coming up short against their respective opponents last weekend, the Oregon Ducks and Colorado Buffaloes both came into Saturday’s game looking to turn things around by making a statement.
While the Ducks typically come out fast and furious to build up a sizeable lead, Saturday’s game definitely didn’t go as planned given that Colorado virtually dominated Oregon with a score of 26-17 at the end of the first half.
But even with a bad first half, the Oregon Ducks came out stronger in the second half in an attempt to rally back. However, but the Ducks ultimately fell short after Colorado wide receiver Bryce Bobo made a spectacular one-handed catch for a Buffalo touchdown late in the fourth quarter to capture the win 41-38. This is the first time since 2007 that Oregon has lost two straight games, and has ultimately put their season in jeopardy.
Critical mistakes also continue to hamper Oregon, causing the team to rack-up a good number of penalties, being flagged 8 times and costing the team 75 penalty yards.
When interviewed post game, Oregon Head Coach Mark Helfrich, summed up the game by saying, “more improvement needs to take place, starting with me,” and “as a team we have to grow up.”
Oregon’s quarterback Dakota Prukop had a decent game, although he still had difficulty at times in making quick decisions and missed a few big yardage attempts by either under/over throwing the ball to wide-open receivers (which showed in the final Oregon play, which resulted an in a costly interception).
Prukop completed 22-33 passes for 293 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. Prukop was also forced to scramble away from pressure six times and gaining 14 yards rushing. Prukop summed up his performance after the game by stating, “it comes down to execution on my part and I go by the 24 hour rule where you learn from it, watch film, and get ready to play Wazzu next weekend.”
The Ducks were also without their workhorse Royce Freeman, but fortunately for Oregon, running backs Tony Brooks- James, Kani Benoit, and Taj Griffin picked up the slack on offense combining for 199 rushing yards and three touchdowns (122 of those yards came solely from Brooks-James).
After the heartbreaking loss, Brooks-James commented on his performance saying, “He felt confident in himself and his abilities, but it also felt good that the coaches trusted him with his decision making.”
Colorado put up 333 passing yards and 260 rushing yards (culminating in 593 yards of offense). And even though the Ducks’ defense would push Colorado to third down most of the time, the Buffaloes would more often gain 10-20 yards on the conversion.
Oregon knew that they had to stop Colorado’s running backs Phillip Lindsay and Kyle Evans if they wanted to keep the Buffaloes under wraps. Unfortunately for the Ducks, Lindsay and Evans combined for 25 carries, gaining 134 yards, and scoring two touchdowns.
In addition to having to stop the running game, the Ducks also had to make sure that they kept Colorado’s top wide receivers from breaking out into open field. But Colorado’s wide receivers Devin Ross, Bryce Bobo, and Shay Fields did break loose, combining for 17 receptions, which gained 260 yards of offense.
The Ducks also could not stop the Colorado’s quarterback Steven Montez from executing the quarterback draw, which he used effectively to extend several Buffaloes’ offensive drives.
Montez scrambled away from pressure 21 times, while gaining 156 yards, and scoring one touchdown. In addition, Montez also completed 23-32 passes, for 333 yards, including three touchdowns, and two interceptions.
After the game, Oregon Defensive Coordinator, Brady Hoke, commented on the defensive play, saying, “We have to tackle better after missing crucial tackles and I just have to coach better.”
Oregon needs to regroup and keep their cool against Washington State next week in order to have any shot at winning. With both the Cougars and Ducks having two losses thus far, neither team has anything to lose going into next weekend’s matchup.