The OREGON DUCKS (0-1) lost to the AUBURN TIGERS (1-0) by a score of 27 to 21.
1st Quarter: The injury at receiver made itself painfully clear as Oregon was forced to take a timeout before the first play after receiving the opening kickoff. However, the Ducks used a 47-yard pass to Johnson III to spark a touchdown drive. Then, Andy Avalos made his debut stand at Oregon, and it was glorious, forcing Auburn into a quick three-and-out and finally showing off his ball of confusion style.
Oregon then threatened to score on their second drive, however, Addison wasn’t able to hold on to an uncontested touchdown pass, and Freshman Lewis missed the short field goal in his first official attempt. Nix led the Auburn offense to a field goal, but Oregon struck back with a 3-play drive ending in Webb’s first ever catch/touchdown.
The Tiger’s began to find more success, thanks to Nix who appeared to feel more comfortable while on the run, which was common due to Oregon’s constant pressure. Malzahn ran out the clock on his own 49 on 2nd and 3.
2nd Quarter: Nix started the second half promising enough, igniting the Tiger faithful with a play action pass to Joiner for 28 yards. But the defense held up in the red zone, namely Graham Jr. who read the freshman QB like a book for a pick. Auburn’s defense stepped up and forced Oregon into its first punt of the game and started on their own 13-yard line in part due to an illegal block which put them 10 yards back.
Auburn was forced to punt once again and Oregon’s Jevon Holland returned it for 81 yards. Unfortunately, the Ducks weren’t able to capitalize on the excellent field position, and instead fumbled the ball in a messy mesh and Big Kat Bryant returned it 83 yards but was thankfully stopped on the Oregon 3 thanks to the hustle tackle from Addison.
Oregon was able to hold Auburn to a field goal despite the close proximity to the end zone, and the Ducks once again had the ball with a lead. But Herbert and the team became less productive once things began to settle down and the Oregon receivers weren’t able to create space. Nix turned over the ball on his next drive, a Holland interception, but again Oregon had trouble moving down the field through the air.
A great kick by punter Maimone was followed by a foolish decision by punter Maimone resulting in an unnecessary roughness call that put the Tigers on Oregon’s 26 yard line. Thankfully, Avalos’ tenacious style once again held the opposing team to a field goal, and the football Gods smiled upon the Ducks as Auburn’s usually reliable field goal kicker missed a 42-yard attempt. The Ducks then ran down the clock to end the half 14-6.
End of Half
Tiger Passing Game: 91 YDS - 2 INT
Tiger Rushing Game: 70 YDS - 17 Att
Oregon Passing Game: 122 YDS - 1 TD
Oregon Rushing Game: 77 YDS - 20 Att
Turnovers Forced: Ducks 2 (two interceptions) - Tigers 1 (fumble)
3rd Quarter: Avalos came into the second half looking to shutdown Auburn’s run game, and found early success with a three-and-out. Herbert then led the offense on a 9-play, 53-yard touchdown drive that saw Johnson III snatch his first score of the season. Johnson III seemed determined to erase the memory of his disappointing 2018 season, and so far he has done a fantastic job by leading this receiving corps early in the season.
Nix was once again forced into quick decision making thanks to constant pressure and the disappearance of the run game. Herbert didn’t fare much better after an intentional grounding call doomed the Ducks drive early, forcing another great Maimone punt.
The good field position proved to be just what running back Stove needed, going 47 yards in two plays to cut the Duck lead to eight. Oregon had a tad more success moving the ball on the next drive, but still was forced to kick away the ball after toying with the idea of going for it on 4th-and-1 near midfield. The third quarter ticked away with Auburn on their own 38 with the Ducks leading by eight points.
4th Quarter: Funa made a great impression by stopping Shivers on third-and-short, but unfortunately Oregon was quickly off the field after failing to make a first down. Whitlow came alive in the fourth quarter, running for 49 yards on the next Auburn drive before needing medical assistance on the sideline.
Auburn, now on the one-yard line, sent in Gatewood to jump over the trenches and extend the ball across the plane for the score. The Tigers set up for the two-point attempt but ended up tacking on the kick instead after a costly false start, preserving the Duck lead but reducing it to 21-20.
With 9:48 left in the fourth quarter, Justin Herbert once again took the field. Just like in the first quarter, Redd became a threat against a defense that was focused on the run and screenpass game. Three straight Redd receptions and a Veredell run had the Ducks at midfield with a new set of downs. Three plays later, Oregon found itself on 4th and 1 with 5:34 left in the game. What’s worse, is that Herbert injured his knee forcing Shough onto the field.
But the Tigers smelled out Cristobal’s obvious rushing call and stopped it before it got started by bringing the house. Having been able to finally rest for a moment, the Duck defense came out and quickly forced another three-and-out.
A pattern became clear when Herbert again targeted Redd for a couple quick receptions and a first down, whittling down the clock to 2:28 before an Auburn sack put Malzahn into a position to call a timeout while the Ducks were at a 3rd and 14. A pass to Dye fell short of the sticks and Maimone was once again called on to restore field position.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t hist best kick of the night, and the Tigers began their final march on their 40. Oregon was able to stop the Tigers three plays in a row, but Nix powered his way through some defenders to rush for the first down on the 50.
With 1:21 left, Whitlow was pushed back by Bryson Young and taken down by a gang of Ducks. The clock was still running when Nix completed a pass to Nigh to make it 3rd and 1, then a Whitlow run gave them another first down.
The moment of the game took place with nine seconds remaining, a 26-yard touchdown pass to Williams for the win.
End of Game Stats
Tiger Passing Game: 177 YDS - 2 TD - 2 INT
Tiger Rushing Game: 206 YDS - 43 Att - 1 TD
Oregon Passing Game: 242 YDS - 1 TD
Oregon Rushing Game: 90 YDS - 33 Att - 2 TD
Turnovers Forced: Ducks (two interceptions) - Tigers (fumble)