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Oregon Ducks vs. Eastern Washington: Ducks win 61-42

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Freeman, Adams shine; defense struggles in Ducks win

Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Vernon Adams, it turns out, is good.

Royce Freeman, as we know, is phenomenal.

Both of these revelations are going to be vital going forward, because it appears Oregon has major concerns in the secondary. All three of these facts came to light on a crisp, beautiful night at Autzen Stadium, as Oregon opened its 2015 campaign with a ubiquitous 61-42 win over Eastern Washington.

Oregon's offense looked downright terrifying at times. Freeman, the sophomore sensation, rushed for a career high 180 yards and three touchdowns, setting a dominating rushing tone for a team playing without the services of Marcus Mariota for the first time in three years.

Kani Benoit added another 83 yards and one touchdown, and Tony Brooks-James chipped in 63 yards and a pair of touchdowns; and, for good measure, true freshman Taj Griffin broke off a 61-yard run in the fourth quarter.

Adams, the FCS transfer who won the starting job just two weeks after arriving on campus, was everything he was advertised to be. While lacking the blinding speed that made Mariota so special, Adams' escapability was clear and present from the opening moments, as he kept multiple plays alive, scrambling his way to 94 yards on the night, while throwing for 246 yards and two touchdowns.

He would leave midway though the fourth quarter after a late hit; he walked off on his own power, but by then, the damage he and the rest of his teammates had inflicted was enough.

The offense, by that point, had put the game away.

The concern for Oregon coming into the game was an inexperienced secondary, looking to overcome the attrition caused by losing three starters from last year's squad.

For most of the night, the results were bleak at best.

Jordan West, who backed up Adams at Eastern, threw for 293 yards before being knocked out in the third quarter, and Connor Kupp had 223 yards receiving, as the Eagles looked positively Cal Bears-like in their ability to throw the ball wherever, whenever they wanted.

Oregon missed tackles, looked lost in coverage, and seemed to be confused on assignments.

At the end of the day, it was all window dressing; the Eagles could score points, but their defense stood no chance in stopping Oregon's offensive attack.

They're simply the latest in line to feel that way, as Oregon improved to 25-4 in coach Mark Helfrich's tenure.

It's too early to ring the alarm for Oregon's defense -- the first game of the season is a feeling-out process, Eastern throws on everyone, and it was the first playing time for many members of the secondary -- but it certainly raises concerns, especially with Connor Cook and Michigan State just a week away.

Although with Adams, Freeman, and a stable of running backs behind him, the defense has lots of wiggle room. Freeman, especially, lived up to the hype created by an off-season in which he slimmed down, sped up, and, according to those privy enough to see practices, has been downright dominating.

It wasn't a masterpiece; the tackling needs to be cleaned up at all three levels of the defense, and Adams was not in sync with his receivers on a couple throws, but in the end, Oregon got out of its opening night what they wanted:

A win.

The quarterback situation is clearly in good hands, and handing it off to Freeman makes anyone's job easier. Now, the matchup we've all been waiting for is here. If Oregon's secondary can shore up their issues, we've got a real ballgame next Saturday in East Lansing.