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Oregon Falls Apart Against Arizona, Wildcats 44 - Ducks 15

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NCAA Football: Oregon at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

TUCSON, ARIZONA

WILDCATS 44 - DUCKS 15

Oregon’s third loss of the season has arrived and it is perplexing. The loss to Stanford was heartbreaking, but it also provided our first real glimpse into how Cristobal wants this offense to function.

Our second loss, against a Washington State team fueled off their first ever College GameDay visit, was painful due to our slow start, but understandable and even admirable when you take in the heroic play of Herbert in the second half. But this loss to Arizona provides next to nothing for optimistic Duck fans.

Oregon had some injuries during the game, namely Dallas Warmack and Dillon Mitchell. They also had a few players who weren’t able to travel with the team (Kano Dillon and Austin Faoliu), a couple who were still recovering from injuries (CJ Verdell, Kaulana Apelu), and even a player who missed the first half due to a violation of team rules (La’Mar Winston Jr).But it is hard to believe that Oregon was incapable of fielding a team capable of driving down the field with at least some regularity.

The Ducks allowed the Wildcats to score their second highest total of the season while at the same time scoring the second fewest points against the Wildcats’ defense. Whether it was due to bland playcalling, an off-night from Herbert, injuries, a lack of team focus, or all of the above, this team resembled the 2016 Ducks.

NCAA Football: Oregon at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

OREGON PASSING

Justin Herbert: 24/48 - 186 YDS - 2 TD - 1 INT

Just like the second half of last week’s game the entire offense relied on Justin Herbert, but this time the hometown hero fell short of excellence and nobody on the Ducks’ offense was there to bear the load.

The story of the game was Oregon’s inability to find success on third down. The Ducks finished 3 of 16 and had no answers outside of Mitchell when it came to third and long. Herbert overthrew receivers and threw an interception/punt near the end of the third quarter.

His two touchdowns took place in the first and third quarter; the first was to Mitchell to make it a 16-8 game, and the other was a garbage time tipped catch touchdown.

NCAA Football: Oregon at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

OREGON RECEIVING

Dillon Mitchell: 6 rec - 69 YDS - 1 TD

Jacob Breeland: 4 rec - 34 YDS

Jaylon Redd: 6 rec - 33 YDS

Travis Dye: 2 rec - 19 YDS

Brenden Schooler: 3 rec - 14 YDS - 1 TD

CJ Verdell: 2 rec - 12 YDS

Ryan Bay: 1 rec - 5 YDS

The Ducks played with seemingly little energy. Oregon’s offense went three-and-out three straight times, each possession failing due to either an incompletion or a catch that fell short of the sticks.

It was clear that Dillon Mitchell was the only target that Herbert felt comfortable throwing to and Arizona’s defense did a great job limiting their connection to just 69 yards and one touchdown in the second quarter. Herbert also led Mitchell to a treacherous short incompletion in the third quarter that took the go-to receiver out for the remainder of the game.

Jacob Breeland finished with the second most yards and all of them took place on the final drive in garbage time. I suppose the only other noteworthy receiver would be Brenden Schooler, who caught a tipped touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Hopefully this gives him a little something to gloat about when his brother starts rubbing in the win.

OREGON RUSHING

Justin Herbert: 6 car - 31 YDS

Travis Dye: 5 car - 23 YDS

Tony Brooks-James: 5 car - 20 YDS

CJ Verdell: 6 car - 14 YDS

The absence of freshman Penei Sewell appears to be a season threatening loss. Cristobal’s vaunted offensive line performed adequately in pass protection but struggled to produce 84 yards against a defense that came into this game allowing 195.9 yards per game. Dallas Warmack also left the game a couple of times, his status seems more questionable every week.

This should tell you everything you need to know about this game: Herbert was Oregon’s leading rusher with 31 yards and six carries.

Tony Brooks-James got the first carry of the game, for no gain. Then, two drives later, Travis Dye started to receive the majority of carries. The game seemed doomed when after three straight three-and-outs Dye fumbled the ball.

It’s safe to assume that CJ Verdell is still a bit shook up from the Washington State game, as he received only six carries. To be fair, Oregon had to abandon the run pretty quickly after the roof started to cave in.

NCAA Football: Oregon at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Khalil Tate utilized his playmakers and embarrassed the Duck defense, while the Oregon offense did almost nothing.

NCAA Football: Oregon at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

NOTABLE WILDCATS

Khalil Tate: 19/33 - 189 YDS - 3 TD - 1 INT - 7 car - 26 YDS

JJ Taylor: 30 car - 212 YDS - 2 TD - 3 rec - 16 YDS

Shun Brown: 10 rec - 96 YDS - 1 TD

Shawn Poindexter: 2 rec - 30 YDS - 2 TD

Colin Schooler: 11 tackles - 1.5 TFL

Tony Fields II: 6 tackles - 1 sack

Scottie Young Jr: 2 tackles - 1 INT

In a day of PAC-12 chaos, it seemed destined that the Wildcats would upset the Ducks in Tucson. After struggling with the newly installed offense, Khalil Tate looked much more comfortable than he did earlier in the season.

The Junior did an impressive job utilizing his offensive weapons. Shun Brown caught ten passes for 96 yards and a touchdown. Shawn Poindexter pulled in a couple of touchdowns- one by utilizing his size advantage over Oregon’s secondary, and one by walking into the endzone on a blown coverage.

The star of the game was running back JJ Taylor, who destroyed a Duck defense that prided itself on stopping the run. Taylor’s 212 yard, two touchdown game served as a surrogate of what Tate did on the ground last season. Tate did an excellent job reading the defense, resulting in a flurry of high-tempo runs and passes that went for increasingly large distances as the defense got tired (hmm... now where have I heard that before?)

One thing that could have cost the Wildcat’s some momentum was their penalty problem. Arizona finished with 11 penalties for 106 yards. while Oregon committed only six for 53 yards.

But the Wildcats answered the one time the momentum began to shift in the second quarter; after a Herbert touchdown and two-point conversion, Arizona marched down the field on an 18-play, 88-yard touchdown drive that finished with a one-yard touchdown run.

NCAA Football: Oregon at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona’s defense dominated Oregon like no other team has this season. Washington State may have held the Ducks scoreless for a half, but the Wildcats made Herbert and his O-line look like FCS opponents.

Herbert had time in the pocket and for the most part stayed away from pressure, but the Wildcat’s secondary shutdown Oregon’s receivers by playing man to man. An open Duck receiver was a rare occurrence and Arizona shutdown Oregon’s run game, as well. To better exemplify how dominant the Wildcats were defensively in this game, here’s a list of Oregon’s first half possessions:

  • PUNT
  • PUNT
  • PUNT
  • FUMBLE
  • PUNT
  • INTERCEPTION
  • PUNT
  • TOUCHDOWN
  • PUNT

And the second half looks almost completely identical. But for those of you that require video proof of how much better the Wildcats played, enjoy:

OREGON DEFENSE

Arizona Passing: 189 YDS - 3 TD - 1 INT - 5.7 AVG

Arizona Rushing: 276 YDS - 2 TD - 5.4 AVG

Turnovers: Ducks 3 - Wildcats 1

Perhaps the lone bright spot of the game was Oregon’s defensive showing throughout much of the first half. After Poindexter’s early touchdown, the Duck defense held Arizona to three field goals on their next six drives, despite the Wildcat’s advantageous field position.

It was a two score game until the last couple of minutes before halftime. And at the beginning of the third, Thomas Graham Jr. intercepted the first play of the half. Ultimately, the Wildcats would run away with it, but the defense deserves some credit for keeping the Ducks within striking distance for much of the game.

Overall, the defense does not have the depth to handle being on the field for the majority of the game. At no point in the second half did the offense look like it was going to mount a comeback, so it’s understandable that they became uninspired in garbage time.

ALL-GANG GREEN TEAM

  • Troy Dye - 13 tackles - 1 TFL
  • Thomas Graham Jr. - 7 tackles - 1 TFL - 1 INT
  • Jalen Jelks - Recorded the games only sack by a Duck
NCAA Football: Oregon at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

What looked like an easy win for the Ducks has now become an intriguing matchup. Will the Ducks come out flat again, or will Autzen prove too much for the returning Chip Kelly?


NEXT UP: UCLA