The #13 Oregon Ducks (10-2, 8-1) defeated the #5 Utah Utes (11-1, 8-1) in the PAC-12 Championship game to earn a trip to the Rose Bowl!
Justin Herbert: 14/26 - 193 YDS - 1 TD
Tyler Huntley: 17/29 - 193 YDS - 2 INT - 2 TD
TD SCORERS: (UO) CJ Verdell, Johnny Johnson III, CJ Verdell, CJ Verdell (UU) Zack Moss, Samson Nacua
DUCK YARDS: 432 YDS - 193 passing - 239 rushing
UTE YARDS: 309 YDS - 193 pass - 116 rushing
TURNOVERS FORCED: Ducks 2 - Utes 0
1ST QUARTER: Utah started with the ball after a Camden Lewis kickoff. Zack Moss picked up seven yards on the opening carry, then earned the first down on the next play. Tyler Huntley hit Jaylen Dixon on a slant for another first down on a 20-yard gain, then completed two consecutive passes for a gain of nine, but on third down Austin Faoliu stuffed Moss at the line. Coach Kyle Wittingham elected to go for it on 4th-and-1 at the Oregon 33 and an unblocked Brady Breeze was able to snatch the leg of Moss as Duck defenders swarmed the running back for a loss.
Johnny Johnson III was rocked on a tackle behind the line when Justin Herbert hit him on the reverse. The Ducks were able to regain some yardage when Utah committed and offside, then Herbert got the first down with his legs, and another on the following play with a 13-yard run. Jaylon Redd caught a short pass and took it eight yards, then a Cyrus Habibi-Likio carry gained ten more. Herbert attempted a shot in the end zone, but the receiver was well covered, Travis Dye nearly earned a first down with a big carry and Redd nearly earned the score before stepping out of bounds at the Utah three-yard line. CJ Verdell ran it in for the game’s opening score.
Ducks 7 - Utes 0
Huntley shoveled the ball to Brant Kuithe for a short gain, then on second down, the quarterback escaped the pocket and was lucky to earn positive yardage, while Oregon’s Breeze was fortunate not to be ejected for targeting. An impressive catch by Kuithe was ruled out of bounds on third down, resulting in Utah’s first punt of the night.
Herbert hit Johnson III on a quick slant off the rpo for a nine-yard gain on first down, then he found Juwan Johnson down field for a 50-yard play that put them at the Utah one-yard line. Herbert continued to carry the ball more than usual, and after a stiff arm he was brought down inches from the score. Verdell also failed to reach the end zone, and after a false start, a pass to offensive lineman Penei Sewell didn’t gain the necessary yardage despite a nifty spin move. Lewis hit the 23-yard field goal to give the Ducks a two-score lead.
Ducks 10 - Utes 0
Huntley ripped off an 18-yard run on first down after the field goal, but after three consecutive carries by Moss for a total of nine yards, a false start on 4th-and-1 forced another punt, which an unblocked Kayvon Thibodeaux was able to get a hand on and nearly take to the house.
Oregon went three-and-out due to a couple incompletions and a rare penalty on Sewell. Utah’s next possession opened with a 42-yard Moss run when the back was able to escape pressure and reverse to the open side of the field, but on the very next play Huntley was picked off in the end zone by Breeze.
Another false start was called on the Ducks, and both Juwan Johnson and Johnny Johnson III were unable to pick up positive yardage before the end of the first quarter.
2ND QUARTER: Verdell was two yards shy of converting on 3rd-and-18 so the Ducks punted. Moss received carries on first and second down to setup a 3rd-and-7, and Thibodeaux successfully caught Huntley as he attempted to escape the pocket.
After the punt, Herbert returned to the rpo game and hit Bryan Addison for a five-yard gain, then a Utah offside gave them the first. Julian Blackmon left the game after a non-contact injury. Redd caught a pass for 15 yards, then a wide-open Johnson III brought in a deep pass for a 45-yard score.
Ducks 17 - Utes 0
A 20-yard pass to Kuithe started things off well for the Utes’ next possession, but the next first and second down accumulated only two yards, and on third Jordon Scott brought down Huntley before he reached the first-down marker.
Verdell picked up 13 yards on Oregon’s next possession, and after gains of four and five yards by Verdell and Hunter Kampmoyer set up a 4th-and-1, Verdell earned the first down and then some with a five-yard carry. Johnson III had another big catch by using the back of a defender to help cradle the ball for a 33-yard reception. A couple false starts greatly disturbed the momentum of the Ducks, and they were forced to settle for another field goal in the red zone. Lewis made the 30-yard attempt.
Ducks 20 - Utes 0
Moss barreled forward for an 8-yard gain, then picked up the fresh set of downs on the next play. Huntley completed passes to Demari Simpkins and Samson Nacua for a total of 24 yards, but Moss was taken down a loss of five yards on the following play. Then, Troy Dye got to the QB as the ball left his hands and Dixon was injured on the incompletion. Huntley botched the throw on third down, resulting in another Utah punt.
Oregon started their final possession of the first half deep in their own territory, but a Verdell nine-yard gain gave the Ducks some breathing room and they were able to run out the clock.
***** Halftime Score: Ducks 20 - Utes 0 ****
3RD QUARTER: Mykael Wright’s return was wiped out due to an offensive holding on the kickoff. So, starting at their own 10, Travis Dye picked up three yards on first down, then two on second, but Justin Herbert was unable to find an open man on third and the Ducks punted on their first possession of the second half.
Tyler Huntley picked up four yards with his legs on first down, then found 15 more yards on the ground the next play. Kuithe was unable to bring in a pass and needed a moment to recover on the play. A Jaylen Dixon run for no gain had the Utes at 3rd-and-10, but Solomon Enis fought hard for an 11-yard catch. And on the next play, Zack Moss caught a pass and took it 24 yards for the Utes’ first score of the game.
Ducks 20 - Utes 7
Delgado took the kickoff for a short gain, then Herbert overthrew Verdell on a blown up screenplay on first down. The running back picked up a couple yards on second down, then on third-and-7, Jake Hanson snapped the ball before Herbert was ready and it flew past the QB who collected it at his own one-yard line. Utah’s Bradlee Anae got away with a hit well after Herbert was down, but the Ducks were fortunate enough to punt on fourth.
Starting at the Utah 42, Huntley was sacked for a three-yard loss by Popo Aumavae. A one-yard gain by Derrick Vickers had Utah in third-and-long and a run by Huntley set up a 4th-and-2. Wittingham elected to go for it once again on 4th down and Thomas Graham Jr broke up a pass to Demari Simpkins to give the Ducks the ball at midfield.
Justin Herbert and the Oregon offense took advantage of the field position by traveling 43 yards in eight plays and scoring another Camden Lewis field goal. Verdell started off the possession with a 24-yard carry, and later earned fresh downs by converting on 3rd-and-9, but the Duck drive stalled in the red zone. Lewis continued his surprising amount of success by hitting his third field goal of the night.
Moss lost two yards on first down, but a pass to Simpkins gained nine then Enis caught a short pass to keep the sticks moving. Huntley seemingly gained big yardage on a run, but the play was called back due to an offensive hold. On 1st-and-20, Moss picked up 33 yards on the ground, made even more devastating by an unsportsmanlike on the Oregon defense. And a couple plays later on 3rd-and-10 at the Oregon 25, Huntley connected with Samson Nacua for a touchdown pass. Nacua also was able to convert the two-point conversion to make it a one-score game.
Ducks 23 - Utes 15
Oregon’s CJ Verdell ran the ball twice for a combined six yards to end the third quarter.
4TH QUARTER: The Ducks failed to convert on third-and-four when Herbert was unable to connect with Brian Addison, and the Ducks were forced to punt. Utah started at the Ute 30 with a Moss two-yard run, but went backwards on the next play with a false start. Moss caught a ball and picked up seven yards, then on third down Thibodeaux was called offside setting up a 3rd-and-short which Utah converted. Bryson Young sacked Huntley behind the line, but a pass interference on Wright helped the Utes move the ball downfield. A sack by Kayvon Thibodeaux and Isaac Slade-Matautia on second down doomed the drive, and the Utes chose to punt from the Oregon 40 on 4th-and-4.
Herbert hit Addison on a free play for nine yards, then converted with a two-yard completion to Juwan Johnson. Verdell ran for two yards on the next first down, seven more on second down, then took it to the house on third down with a 70-yard touchdown run.
Ducks 30 - Utes 15
Huntley was sacked by Thibodeaux for an eight-yard loss, and the Utes were forced into desperation mode down by 15 with 6:52 left in the game. The Utah QB was unable to connect downfield with Nacua or Dixon and Oregon received the ball after a punt.
Cyrus Habibi-Likio carried the ball twice for a gain of six yards, then Herbert hit Johnson III for a short gain that earned the crucial first down. CHL carried the ball for a two-yard gain which made Utah call their first timeout. CHL carried the ball two more times but failed to reach the first down. Oregon was happy to punt with 3:29 left in the final quarter.
Huntley threw an incomplete pass to Simpkins, then Troy Dye picked off the next pass. Herbert picked up four yards on a run, then Verdell ran up the gut for a 31-yard touchdown.
Ducks 37 - Utes 15
Tyler Huntley and the Utes attempted the miracle comeback, Duck fans cheered and rejoiced, and the Ducks eventually forced the turnover on downs at the Utah six-yard line.