Its hard to be successful in football when you can't keep the ball off the ground.
The conference debut of Cal's "Bear Raid" sputtered and crashed in an Oregon typhoon, and the Duck offense buried the Golden Bears under a tsunami of touchdowns as the Ducks defeated California, 55-16, in abysmal conditions at Autzen Stadium.
While it rained all evening at Autzen, the first quarter provided the worst conditions of the night, as the high winds and heavy swirling rains that made up the remnants of Typhoon Pabuk circles over Autzen Stadium. The conditions affected both teams. Byron Marshall fumbed on three carries on Oregon's first possession, only to see the Ducks recover all three. After Marshall reached the end zone, Dustin Haines fumbled the snap on the extra point try to leave the Ducks with a 6-0 lead.
However, Cal would see worse effects from the weather. The first four Cal possessions ended with fumbles lost in their own territory. Three of those were turned into Oregon touchdowns, and the game was over at 20-0 with 7:19 to go in the first quarter.
The early news wasn't all positive for Oregon. Running back De'Anthony Thomas turned his ankle on the opening kickoff return, and spent the remainder of the game on the sidelines in a boot. While the replays didn't look terribly serious, I wouldn't expect Oregon to release any information on his condition. Likewise, I wouldn't expect him to play against Colorado next week, a game where his services are unlikely to be needed.
The Ducks also saw an end to their impressive opening season streak of not having a turnover, with Oregon twice losing fumbles in Autzen's wet conditions.
However, those were the only negatives of the night for the Ducks. Marshall piled up 130 yards and two touchdowns. Thomas Tyner had another 112. Bralon Addison scored on two unreal punt returns. It was another dominant offensive performance in every way for the Ducks.
But the defense was equally up to the task. The weather undoubtedly helped--and Cal benched starting quarterback Jared Goff after two first quarter fumbles in favor of Zach Kline. Kline managed to hold onto the football, only to throw an interception on his first series. Altogether, Cal never could get the Bear Raid going in the driving rain, the two quarterbacks going 21-44 for 176 yards. Cal rushed for another 149 yards on the ground as they switched strategies to a run game to try and hold onto the football--but averaged only 2.9 ypa on 51 rushes.
Oregon now sets its sights to next weekend when they travel to Boulder to face the Colorado Buffaloes.