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First Half Recap: Duck Defense Poised for Upset of No. 12 Utah, 7-3

Oregon’s 3-win football team showing major signs of growth and maturity with disciplined effort vs ranked Utah

NCAA Football: Oregon at Utah Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The Ducks are on the verge of a major upset, as they trail No. 12 Utah, 7-3, at halftime. Believe it or not, Oregon’s defense is showing major signs of life from Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Seeking their ninth win of the season, Utah receiver Cory Butler-Byrd inhaled the first points of the day from his signal-caller, Troy Williams. Following his 24-yard reception, the Utes led 7-0 less than five minutes into the game.

Oregon drew their first blood from a solid drive of 14 plays. The Ducks consumed 5:25 off the scoreboard clock, traveling 62 yards to conclude the first quarter of play.

Following Aidan Schneider’s successful field goal, the Ducks cut their deficit nearly in half, 7-3. That would be where the scoring stopped for the half.

The Ducks had a huge stop on 4th and 1 deep in Oregon territory. It truly illustrated that this 3-win team has yet to give up on one another.

After a failed challenge, Utah stood near the 30-yard-line on the Duck side of the field. Running back Joe Williams lost a yard on the play, handing the ball back to Oregon’s offense.

On the next Duck drive, standout athlete Charles Nelson was ejected from the game for targeting. You decide for yourself after this highlight...

Utah’s offense was driving as halftime drew close. Then, Jimmie Swain forced a fumble by Williams. Oregon’s Wayne Tei-Kirby recovered the massive turnover on Oregon’s 26-yard-line.

Oregon v Utah
Rice-Eccles Stadium didn’t take very long to fill up to capacity as the No. 12 Utes play host to the Ducks. Last season, Utah manhandled Oregon, 62-20, in Eugene. Revenge is on the menu Saturday.
Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

The biggest play of the half for the Oregon offense came after their fumble recovery. On 4th and 4, Herbert found his favorite receiver Johnny Mundt for a completion of 21 yards.

Schneider missed the 31-yard field goal attempt, however. The Ducks can not afford empty drives after forcing a game-changing turnover.

Mundt leads all receivers in the game with 58 yards on four receptions.

The change of pace between Duck running back’s Royce Freeman and Tony-Brooks James is challenging the Utah front seven. Oregon has been dictating the tempo of the game, as Justin Herbert is in complete control thus far.

For the first time in a long time, Oregon leads the time of possession battle with 15:57 in the first half of play.

At the half, Freeman has rushed for 58 yards on nine carries. Meanwhile, TBJ has toted the rock seven times for a total of 28 yards.

The true freshman quarterback from Eugene completed 16 of 21 passes for 167 yards. Herbert has yet to throw a touchdown today.

Another first half highlight was Duck linebacker Troy Dye sacking the Utah QB for a loss of 10 yards. He now has 7.5 sacks on the season. The freshman continues his impressive campaign.

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