Royce Freeman exited the Cal game with a shoulder issue. After much speculation throughout the week, Freeman returned on Saturday vs No. 11 Washington State. Unfortunately, with a true freshman quarterback, he was unable to find a rhythm. The senior amassed 70 total yards on 13 overall touches vs WSU.
OREGON’S CAREER RUSHING TD RANKINGS
#1 - Royce Freeman (54)
#2 - LaMichael James (53)
Freeman is the Ducks’ all-time leader
UO CAREER RUSHING YARD LEADERS
#1 - LaMichael James (5,082 career rushing yards)
#2 - Royce Freeman (4,738 career rushing yards)
#3 - Kenjon Barner (3,623 career rushing yards)
Freeman is currently 282 yards from being Oregon’s No. 1 running back in program history
PAC-12 CAREER TOUCHDOWNS
#1 - Ken Simonton, 60 (Oregon State)
#2 - Royce Freeman, 58 (Oregon)
Tied - LaMichael James, 58 (Oregon)
#3 - LenDale White, 57 (USC)
#4 - Skip Hicks, 55 (UCLA)
#5 - Charles White, 53 (USC)
Freeman is currently 3 TDs from being the Pac-12’s all-time scoring leader from scrimmage
FREEMAN’S SWAN SONG
- 115 carries (9th)*
- 654 rushing yards (12th)*
- 5.7 yards per carry
- 10 rushing touchdowns (3rd)*
- 10 catches
- 136 receiving yards
- 13.6 yards per reception
With true freshman QB Braxton Burmeister claiming his first career collegiate start, Freeman struggled from the outset. In fact, WSU started the game in a Cover 0 formation with zero safeties. They were literally forcing Burmeister to beat them.
Freeman carried the rock just 12 times for 62 yards. He caught an additional pass for eight yards. The shoulder didn’t seem to prevent him from much, but it was a gutty effort nevertheless.
Once the Ducks lost their 10-7 lead, WSU never looked back. In the second half, the Ducks were forced to move away from Freeman after WSU scored 26 unanswered points, including outscoring UO 20-0 in the final 30 minutes.
Willie Taggart’s coaching roots stem to his time with the Cardinal and then head coach Jim Harbaugh. The current Michigan man hired Coach Tag to be his running back coach at Stanford in 2006. There, Taggart helped guide Toby Gerhart to unprecedented heights.
Last year, Freeman had 20 carries for 111 yards and a touchdown run against Stanford in Eugene. The Imperial native secured three catches for 10 yards, as well. He had a team-high gallop of 37 yards.
Oregon’s run game wasn’t the problem vs Stanford in 2016, it was slowing down Christian McCaffrey and the Cardinal rushing attack. The current Carolina Panther secured 135 rushing yards on 17 carries, including three rushing tallies. He added five catches for 52 yards in the passing game. Stanford cruised to victory, 52-27.
Overall, Stanford’s defense is ranked No. 102 in the nation. Additionally, they’re having issues slowing down the run game. This season, Stanford has yielded 182 rushing yards (91st) per contest, so Freeman should find some space to operate.
The greatest defense for the Cardinal in 2017 is their superstar RB Bryce Love. He controls the clock with his legs and helps dictate the tempo of their attack. Love already has an incredible 1,240 rushing yards on 118 carries (10.5 YPC) this year.
Next up for Oregon (4-2) is a road clash with No. 23 Stanford (4-2) at Stanford Stadium on Saturday. Kickoff is slated for 8:00 p.m. PT via FS1.