Both teams knew what they were getting into at noon on Saturday. Portland State was getting a paycheck. Oregon was getting a chance to make some first game mistakes without great risk of a loss. Hollywood is still on strike, but all the actors performed the script to the letter in this production.
The Vikings took the opening kickoff and promptly went 3 and out. After Bo Nix found Troy Franklin to convert 3rd and 7 on the Ducks’ first series, Oregon quickly marched down the field for 6. To put an exclamation point on the drive, the Ducks used a variant of the “swinging gate” on the point after. Portland State was unable to match numbers properly and a direct snap to TE Terrance Ferguson on the left side of the field resulted in an 8-0 Oregon lead. Portland State leaned into their running game and athletic QB Dante Chachere would answer Nix with a touchdown pass to Chance Miller to close within 8-7. “Captain” Bucky Irving stretched the Ducks lead to 15-7 only 68 seconds of game time later, and “Dead-eye Duck” Nix found Franklin again before the end of the first quarter to make it 22-7.
A long gain on a QB scramble gave Portland State some momentum on a drive that continued into the 2nd quarter, but it would peter out with an incomplete pass on 4th down when Chachere was under heavy pressure. Irving and RB Jordan James would carry the ball on four consecutive runs to make it 29-7. The Ducks would recover a fumble on the ensuing kick off, quickly leading to a second touchdown run for James and the rout was truly on at 36-7. Bucky Irving would bounce a 4th and 1 run outside and score from 56 yards out to make it 43-7. James would make it a hat trick with more tough running to make it a clean half of one hundred for the Oregon offense with 1:14 left in the half. The Vikings would kneel down on their last few snaps to shorten the game and end a penalty free (for both teams) first half.
The Ducks would keep the starting offense in for one more drive to complete their “middle eight” plan. Only 51 game seconds after kickoff Nix would find WR Gary Bryant Jr. for his third touchdown pass of the game to make it 57-7. The first major substitution for the Ducks would come on the extra point attempt when kicker Grant Meadors relieved starter Camden Lewis. Ty Thompson would lead the second wave for the offense after a 3 and out by PSU. Thompson’s first drive would see him go 3 for 3 with a touchdown pass to WR Gary Bryant Jr. despite some issues with errant snaps. At 64-7 both teams were no doubt grateful for the new clock rules this season that would speed up the conclusion of the game. Backup QB Logan Gonzales would take over for the Vikings against the Ducks second wave defenders, but to no greater success. A holding call would be the Ducks only penalty of the game on the ensuing drive, which ended with starting kicker Camden Lewis would get a chance to participate again with a 41 yard field goal to make it 67-7, a score that would hold until after the crowd was done with “Shout!”
Thompson finally threw an incomplete pass near the start of the 4th quarter. Freshman QB Austin Novosad would finish the drive handing off to RB Dante Dowdell for another touchdown as the Ducks’ fresh faces hung 74 on an exhausted Vikings defense. Conservative play calling by both teams kept the snap count to a minimum for the rest of the game. Oregon’s first punt of the season came after their first 3-and-out as Ross James booted a 56 yard kick resulting in a fair catch. RB Jayden Lamar would score a touchdown with 2:04 left in the game to make the final score 81-7, setting the modern era record for points scored by an Oregon football team.
Oregon cruised to a win and avoided major injuries while producing just enough teaching tape to keep this week’s meetings interesting. Next up comes a significantly more talented Texas Tech team in what is sure to be a lively stadium in Lubbock. The Ducks will need to maintain their focus and poise under more challenging circumstances. But, for today, what more is there to say?