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The Formative Games of Justin Herbert

The Most Oregon Ducks Quarterback of All Time

Arizona State v Oregon Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

10/8/16 - Rough Start vs washington

Justin Herbert’s first official start came against Oregon’s most hated rival. The hometown hero didn’t save the day, the Ducks lost 21 to 70 at home in a game that broke Oregon’s 12-game winstreak over washington, but the fact that Herbert was able to throw for two touchdowns, 179 yards and just a single interception against the No. 5 Huskies gave Duck fans a silver lining on a dark day in program history.

Herbert’s first pass as a starter was intercepted, but the hometown hero never again lost to washington.

10/21/16 - Six Touchdowns at California

Herbert bounced back from the washington loss with a historic performance in a double-overtime game against the California Golden Bears. Justin Herbert joined Danny O’Neil, Joey Harrington, Darron Thomas. Marcus Mariota and Vernon Adams Jr in the six-way tie for most touchdowns scored in a single game by throwing six TDs.

Unfortunately, Oregon lost when Herbert made a bad decision in the second overtime that ended the game with a California interception. As painful as the 49-52 loss was, Duck fans started to get excited about the upside of the freshman phenom.

10/29/16 - 489 Yards vs Arizona State

The next week, Herbert earned his first win as a starting quarterback for the Ducks. Against the Sun Devils at Autzen stadium, the hometown hero tied another record by throwing for 489 yards in the 54-35 victory, tying the one-and-only Bill Musgrave for most yards thrown in a single game.

11/19/16 - Upset Victory at Utah

The magic of the win over ASU wore off after lopsided losses to USC and Stanford, and few were expecting the Ducks to win against Utah after losing every previous road game in the 2016 season. But Justin Herbert accounted for four touchdowns in the second half to lead a comeback victory that reached its peak when the freshman quarterback connected with Darren Carrington in the corner of the end zone with two seconds remaining.

A week later, the season ended on a grim note when the Oregon State Beavers upset the Ducks in Corvallis, leading to the firing of head coach Mark Helfrich and the hiring of Willie Taggart.

9/2/17 - Historic Beatdown vs Southern Utah

The Taggart era started on a historic high when Justin Herbert and the Oregon offense scored 77 points against the lowly Southern Utah Thunderbirds - a new record at Autzen and the second highest score in Oregon Duck history. Herbert surprisingly finished with just one touchdown and 281 yards, but his confident play helped shape the offensive onslaught.

9/9/17 - First Half Dominance vs Nebraska

Nebraska ended up being a bad team in the 2017-18 season, but when Justin Herbert and the Ducks were up 42 to 14 at the half, it seemed Willie Taggart was the coach that would reclaim Oregon’s former glory; their second half collapse in which they were outscored 21 to 0 was an omen that he most definitely was not.

11/18/17 - Warm Welcome Back vs Arizona

After missing five games due to a broken collarbone suffered on the road against Cal, Herbert’s homecoming resulted in a 48-28 victory against a red-hot Khalil Tate and the Arizona Wildcats. Herbert finished 14-of-21 for 235 yards, one interception, one touchdown through the air and one on the ground.

Also, Tyrell Crosby committed one of the nastiest blocks in Duck history.

The best left tackle in the nation

The best left tackle in the nation. Tyrell Crosby takes out three defenders with one block on Justin Herbert’s TD run. #GoDucks

Posted by Go Ducks on Sunday, November 19, 2017

10/13/18 - Reclaiming the Rivalry vs washington

After the sudden departure of Willie Taggart, new head coach Mario Cristobal hadn’t earned a signature victory, until the win against washington. One can hardly blame Cristobal for being a little distracted during the Las Vegas Bowl - after all, the keys to the program were thrown into his lap days before the matchup versus Boise State - and to his credit the team appeared to be much more disciplined in blowout victories over Bowling Green, Portland State and San Jose State. But a brutal letdown loss at home against Stanford deflated a lot of their early momentum.

However, Justin Herbert helped Cristobal win over some of his skeptics by restarting the winstreak against washington in an overtime thriller, 30 to 27, the only overtime in the history of the rivalry.

12/31/18 - Redbox Bowl vs Michigan State

Cristobal’s first season had its shares of ups and downs, but he ended the season strong by erasing Oregon’s recent hideous bowl history by beating a BIG 10 opponent in a bowl game that featured quite a bit of hideous football.

The Michigan State defense terrorized Justin Herbert and the Duck O-line, but the Spartans’ inept offense gave the Ducks a slew of chances to earn the victory, and in the fourth quarter Justin Herbert connected with Dillon Mitchell for the game’s only touchdown. From there the Duck defense took control to cement the 7-6 Redbox win.

10/19/19 - Comeback Win at washington

Justin Herbert faced a fellow hometown hero when the Ducks flew up to Seattle to take on Jacob Eason and the Huskies. Down by two touchdowns in the third quarter, the senior quarterback rallied his team to extend the winstreak to two with a 35-31 victory at Husky Stadium.

12/6/19 - PAC-12 Championship Game vs Utah

The Ducks were being considered for the college football playoffs until their loss to Arizona State in Tempe, and after a surprisingly close contest against the Oregon State Beavers, Oregon suddenly seemed vulnerable. Meanwhile, the Utah Utes finished the regular season with an 11-1, 8-1 record and entered the PAC-12 championship game oozing confidence after dominating the South Division.

But Justin Herbert showed off his toughness by leading the Ducks to a 37-15 victory, punching Oregon’s ticket to the Rose Bowl.

1/1/20 - Rose Bowl vs Wisconsin

There were times in Justin Herbert’s career you wished he’d run the ball and other times you begged he handed it off after flashbacks of the injury versus Cal, but in his final and biggest game as an Oregon Duck, Justin Herbert used his legs to score three touchdowns and end his career as one of the greatest quarterbacks in program history.