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Ducks Get Their Money’s Worth Against PSU, 62-14

Portland State not able to contain Oregon’s offense.

NCAA Football: Portland State at Oregon Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Eugene, Oregon


Nothing encapsulates the beauty of college football more than a David-and-Goliath-esque upset, like when Portland State beat Washington State to open the season in 2015. For an FCS team, beating a power five opponent is the ultimate high- giving you a freight train level of momentum going into your conference schedule while also providing some financial security for the future.

Despite the odds, Portland State came in to Autzen looking to take the whole pie, not just their $550,000 slice. But for the Ducks, it was business as usual.

NCAA Football: Portland State at Oregon Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Ducks amassed 562 yards of offense: 266 passing and 296 on the ground. And to the delight of Oregon fans across the country, the Ducks committed only a few penalties (5-55). Justin Herbert was his usual stellar self, finishing the game in the third quarter with four touchdowns. Braxton Burmeister once again replaced the Heisman hopeful after the game appeared to be well in hand, and once again, his performance was slightly underwhelming.

Technically, the sophomore threw a perfect game (3/3 for 16 yards), but his performance resembled last week’s, meaning all offensive momentum seemed to halt under his watch. Not to insult the Viking’s defense, but it’s by far the worst defense Oregon will play all season. It’s worth noting that Burmeister led the team on a 75-yard, 16-play touchdown drive. His other drive resulted in a quick three-and-out.

In a rather perplexing move, Tyler Shough made his Duck debut right before the conclusion of the game. The drive resulted in Oregon’s final score of the day. Shough handed the ball off four-straight times to CJ Verdell and did not attempt a pass, so we still have no idea what the true freshman will look like in a real game.

Justin Herbert: 20/26 - 250 YDS - 4 TD

Braxton Burmeister: 3/3 - 16 YDS

Tyler Shough: really good at handing it off.

All offseason it’s been stated that receiver was a weakness for the Ducks. Last week’s lowlights consisted mainly of dropped passes by Johnny Johnson III and Jaylon Redd. So it makes sense that Duck fans bemoaned the beginning of today’s contest, which once again was riddled with drops (the first three passes were dropped by Dillon Mitchell, Johnson III, then Redd.)

That being said, unlike the Bowling Green game, the Ducks eventually found their rhythm in their opening drive and scored. Brenden Schooler should be credited with breaking the drop streak, his 25-yard reception was the first catch of the game. The junior led the team in receptions and was an excellent screen blocker.

Eleven different Ducks caught a pass from either Herbert or Burmeister, and each passing touchdown was caught by a different player: Johnny Johnson III, Jaylon Redd, Tabari Hines and Kano Dillon. Freshman Bryan Addison made his collegiate debut and Dillon Mitchell had some rather spectacular moves after the catch, but the most intriguing development was the positive play of the transfers- Hines and Dillon both had breakout performances that should give Herbert a couple of reliable options.

Dillon Mitchell: 2 rec - 55 YDS

Kano Dillon: 3 rec - 41 YDS - 1 TD

Jaylon Redd: 3 rec - 36 YDS - 1 TD

Tabari Hines: 3 rec - 32 YDS - 1 TD

Brenden Schooler: 4 rec - 30 YDS

Johnny Johnson III: 2 rec - 24 YDS - 1 TD

Travis Dye: 2 rec - 17 YDS

Bryan Addison: 1 rec - 12 YDS

Tony Brooks-James: 1 rec - 9 YDS -

Taj Griffin: 1 rec - 6 YDS

Hunter Kampmoyer: 1 rec - 4 YDS -

Portland State v Oregon Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Against Bowling Green, Oregon utilized six different running backs in what felt like an audition for playing time. Against PSU, Cristobal seemingly narrowed down the list of starting RBs, but only by one.

Tony Brooks-James once again earned the start and posted impressive numbers, but didn’t necessarily distance himself from the young usurpers. Even if CJ Verdell doesn’t earn the primary running back role this year(a role which may not actually exist this season), he seems to be the favorite for the job next season- though Cyrus Habibi-Likio will be hard to beat with his 66% touchdown rate.

Travis Dye continues to impress, this time with a 49-yard TD run.

Tony Brooks-James: 21 car - 107 YDS - 2 TD

CJ Verdell: 11 car - 106 YDS - 1 TD

Travis Dye: 4 car - 58 YDS - 1 TD

Taj Griffin: 3 car - 19 YDS

Braxton Burmeister: 2 car - 8 YDS

Cyrus Habibi-Likio: 2 car - 3 YDS

Justin Herbert: 4 car - (-5) YDS

Although the Ducks had a huge talent advantage over the Vikings, the game brought a unique form of pressure. Oregon couldn’t be satisfied with a win, they had to blow the competition out of the water. Anything under 50ish points would be a let down and allowing more than 21 points would also be a let down.

Fortunately for this young defense, PSU’s measley 14 points can be traced back to a handful of bad defensive plays, most of which occurred with the second string. The Vikings first scored on 3rd and 6 in the second quarter, a 71-yard bomb to receiver Charlie Taumoepeau. The second and final score by the Vikings took place in garbage time (the 4th quarter when Oregon led 49-7), once again a pass to Taumoepeau.

QB Jalani Eason: 7/14 - 111 YDS - 2 TD

Sirgeo Hoffman: 10 car - 40 YDS

Charlie Taumoepeau: 5 rec - 125 YDS - 2 TD

NCAA Football: Portland State at Oregon Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The week two goal, besides racking up a lopsided score, was to get the second and third string as much playing time as possible. As a unit, the defense played sound, disciplined football. Jordon Scott was once again too much for a single lineman to handle, Kaulana Apelu played with the ferocity of someone twice his size and lead the team in tackles with seven, and Jalen Jelks and Justin Hollins are proving to be an elite pass-rushing duo.

The Ducks didn’t force a turnover, but didn’t lose the turnover battle either, as Herbert and the offense kept control of the ball. Jim Leavitt’s might Oregon defense allowed only 224 total yards, 158 in the air and 66 on the ground. Though nobody wants to give up 14 points to PSU, it’s comforting to know that the 1st string offense allowed only one score on a single blown coverage. Another improvement from week one is the reduction of opponent first downs from 21 to 10.

La’Mar Winston Jr sat out the game due to an injury he suffered last week. Backup d-linemen Popo Aumavae, Drayton Carlberg and Gus Cumberlander were serviceable and each recorded a tackle for a loss. Keith Simms had a great game replacing Winston Jr and freshman Adrian Jackson saw the field for the first time.

NCAA Football: Portland State at Oregon Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports