After all the Ducks went through leading up to the Las Vegas Bowl with the departure of Willie Taggart, nobody quite knew what this game was going to look like for them. The answer wasn’t pretty.
The Ducks turned the ball over three times on offense and gave up nearly 500 yards on defense, falling 38-28 to the No. 25 Boise State Broncos.
Justin Herbert completed 26-of-36 passes for 233 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
The Ducks really missed Royce Freeman, as they rushed 28 times for just 52 yards as a team. Herbert was the team’s leading rusher with 16 yards.
The star of the day was Boise State wide receiver Cedrick Wilson, who had 10 catches for 221 yards and a touchdown. His quarterback, Brett Rypien, completed 21-of-38 passes for 362 yards and two touchdowns.
Boise State struck first, driving 67 yards down the field over 13 plays, ending in a quick, 1-yard touchdown pass to 21, giving the Broncos the early 7-0 lead. The play featured some…interesting movement from the receivers before the snap.
I wanna dance with someboooooody pic.twitter.com/Iim4hsJyv9— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) December 16, 2017
Oregon’s first two drives were unimpressive, to say the least. Here’s a summary of what happened, or lack thereof.
Oregon’s first two drives:— Joseph Hoyt (@JoeJHoyt) December 16, 2017
- Timeout to prevent delay of game
- 5-yard quick screen
- 4-yard jet sweep
- Negative rushing play
- Negative rushing play
- Screen for no yards
After a 50-yard completion to Sean Modster, the Broncos were knocking on the door of the end zone again. This time, Arrion Springs came up with an athletic interception, the second of his career, to get Oregon the ball back.
Arrion Spring shuts the Boise State drive down with this one-handed INT. pic.twitter.com/wOYMwR5UbR— Kevin Wade (@KwadeSays) December 16, 2017
Oregon’s momentum didn’t last long, however, as Tony Brooks-James fumbled after getting hit on a screen play, giving the Broncos the ball right back. Boise State would capitalize when Brett Rypien hit Cedrick Wilson for a 26-yard touchdown, putting them up 14-0.
Boise State would come up with yet another fumble on the very next drive when the pocket around Justin Herbert collapsed, ending in a sack and a fumble. However, Oregon escaped further damage as Boise State’s offense finally sputtered, with the drive ending in a missed field goal.
Oregon’s turnover problems would continue, as Justin Herbert threw two interceptions on consecutive drives. On the second interception, Boise State’s Kekaula Kaniho returned in 53 yards for a touchdown, giving Boise State a 24-0 lead.
But then, the turnovers finally went against Boise State, and the Ducks capitalized in big ways. With under a minute to go in the half, Troy Dye recovered a fumble and took it back 86 yards for the touchdown, getting Oregon on the board.
On the very next drive, after Brett Rypien completed a 65-yard pass to Cedrick Wilson, Tyree Robinson would come up with an interception on the next play, taking in back the length of the field to make it 24-14 Boise State at the half.
This game is drunk.— Kevin Wade (@KwadeSays) December 16, 2017
Tyree Robinson with a 100-yard pick six. pic.twitter.com/27XrhS37Xh
Boise State opened the second half with an impressive 12 play drive that went 75 yards, capping off with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Alex Dhaenens to give the Broncos a 31-14 lead.
That’s where the offensive action stalled, as the next six combined drives between the teams accumulated for just 89 total yards, with each drive ending in a punt.
Oregon showed some life late with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Herbert to Brenden Schooler, bringing Oregon within 10 points with 10 minutes to go. However, Oregon’s next drive stalled quickly and the Ducks were forced to punt it away.
With just over two minutes left, the Broncos put the nail on the coffin with a 1-yard touchdown run by Ryan Wolpin, capping off a drive that went 11 plays for 86 yards over the course of 5:19.
The Ducks scored quickly on their next drive, going 75 yards in just over a minute, but weren’t able to recover the onside kick, cutting the comeback attempt short.