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Second Half Thread: Ducks lead despite a slew of injuries

Go Ducks!

California v Oregon Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images


Halftime Score: Ducks 24 - Buffs 3

1ST QUARTER: The Ducks won the opening toss and elected to receive, leading to a 21-yard return from Travis Dye. Starting on their 25, Oregon was able to earn their first 1st down by handing off the ball to CJ Verdell on back-to-back plays.

A holding penalty committed by a Buffs’ linemen gave Oregon 10 more yards, but on the next play a high snap from Jake Hanson sailed over the head of Herbert who was lucky enough to jump on it far behind the line. On 2nd-and-29, Herbert earned back all their lost yardage through a pass to Jaylon Redd. Redd caught the next pass as well, this time for 17 yards and the first down.

Jacob Breeland then caught his first pass of the game, a 24-yard pass near the middle of the field set up by a fake screen. On the Colorado 9-yard line Verdell ran for a short gain and then Herbert threw an incomplete pass well defended by a Buffalo, but on the next play the Herbert-Breeland connection once again came up big for a touchdown.

Ducks 7 - Buffs 0

Ferocious pressure from Oregon’s defense forced Colorado into a three-and-out, consisting of an incompletion on first, a four-yard gain from running back Alex Fontenot, then another incomplete pass as Steven Montez was pinned to the boundary and frantically overthrew a receiver.

Offsetting penalties resulted in a second punt attempt from Colorado and Jevon Holland made good use of the practice run by returning it for 18 yards to the Oregon 46. The Ducks’ second drive went for nine plays and 35 yards. Juwan Johnson caught the first pass of his career, a 14-yard reception, but after a potential big play from Bryan Addison was taken away upon further review, Oregon elected to go for it on 4th-and-5.

Mycah Pittman came up with another athletic play by converting with a catch on a quick slant. However, the Ducks next fourth down conversion failed when Verdell was unable to hang on to a short pass behind the line.

It appeared Colorado was set to have another quick three-and-out, but on 3rd-and-8 Montez was able to connect with Dimitri Stanley, who dodged a couple of charging Ducks and fought forward for the first down and then some.

Completions to Stanley and Fontenot were also able to gain positive yardage after the catch, earning the Buffs another first down, and then a 15-yard pass to Laviska Shenault Jr. had the visiting team at the Duck 42. A 10-yard run by Fontenot was followed by another 15-yard completion to Shenault Jr. but when it got to 3rd-and-6 on the 13-yard line the Buffs could only gain four. James Stefanou connected on the 27-yard field goal attempt.

Ducks 7 - Buffs 3

Oregon’s next drive started on their own 24, but a 22-yard pass to Breeland quickly had them near midfield. Unfortunately for the Ducks, Breeland fell to the sideline after the catch and was later taken to the injury tent.

A combination of Cyrus Habibi-Likio and Verdell gained 28 yards in the next six plays and amid that Johnson caught his second pass in a Duck uniform, a 22-yard play that made Autzen erupt in applause. Habibi-Likio earned the first down that would have placed Oregon at the Buffs’ 4-yard line, but a personal foul on Brenden Schooler put them back 15 yards.

2ND QUARTER: Herbert delivered a beauty of a bullet to Johnson in the end zone, but the big target wasn’t able to hold onto it. Another Habibi-Likio run gained five yards, but an incompletion on third down resulted in a Camden Lewis field goal attempt that was barely able to find its target from 32 yards out.

Ducks 10 - Buffs 3

Colorado began on their 26 and gained six yards on first down off a powerful run by Deion Smith. However, back to back batted passes forced the Buffs to punt. Darrian Felix entered the game and caught a 4-yard screen, but two straight dropped off-passes led to Oregon’s first three-and-out on offense of the game.

Once again Oregon’s defense was asked to respond and once again they did so in a big way, forcing another three-and-out by blowing up screens and keeping Colorado to short gains. On the Ducks’ next possession Cristobal elected to put the ball in the hands of his running backs and was rewarded with 51 yards and a one-yard touchdown by Habibi-Likio. This 7-play, 65-yard drive featured a 30-yard run from Verdell and a 10-yard pass to Johnny Johnson III in the red zone.

Ducks 17 - Buffs 3

Steven Montez started on his 20 but quickly earned a first down off a playaction pass to Shenault Jr, then on 3rd-and-6 an incompletion to Shenault Jr. would have resulted in another punt but Thomas Graham Jr. was called for the pass interference.

A screen to Tony Brown lost five yards, however, a 20-yard run from Fontenot gave the Buffs a lot of momentum, not only through improved field position but through injury as well due to Troy Dye and Holland having to leave the game after they ran into each other.

Two plays later, Deommodore Lenoir was also called for a pass interference, placing the Buffs at the Oregon 15. After three tough carries from Fontenot, the Buffs were just three yards away from the end zone, but a short gain was followed by a false start. then a holding penalty put Colorado at a 3rd-and-11. And on the following play, Haki Woods deflected a ball which was almost caught by a Buffalo but ultimately picked off through an athletic play by Verone McKinley III.

With 1:20 left in the half, Oregon aired out an 8-play, 80 yard drive in which Herbert threw seven straight passes and Redd ran it in for the 3-yard touchdown. The drive was aided by a face mask on 3rd-and-10 at the Oregon 20 and featured explasive plays by true freshman Pittman, including a 39-yard catch that put the Ducks in the red zone.

Ducks 24 - Buffs 3

Colorado received the ball with little time left in the half and elected to run out the clock.


California v Oregon Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images