Oregon Rolls On 48-14 Over Wyoming

EUGENE – The No. 2 Oregon Ducks (3-0) did what they needed to do and notched the third win of the season against the Wyoming Cowboys, 48-14 on Saturday, Sept. 13. Marcus Mariota put on a show in a game he played just a little over two quarters by throwing two touchdown passes and scoring two more TDs by running the ball.

The Ducks appeared to be a stagnant after last week’s big win over the then No. 8 Michigan State Spartans, 46-27. This week the Cowboys controlled the tempo of the game in the first quarter and led Oregon, 7-0 when the first quarter concluded.

“We were a little sluggish at the beginning in every phase,” said Oregon Head Coach Mark Helfrich of his team and the game. "It could’ve been a bit of a hangover situation, but I’m proud of how our guys competed through three-ish quarters. We’ve got a ton of work to do, and luckily it’s in the wake of a victory. We’ll take it and move on.”

With the Ducks trailing at the end of the first, Marcus Mariota took the game over.

The Duck signal caller scored on a five-yard run on the first play of the second quarter. Matt Wogan kicked the point after to tie the game up 7-7. Oregon would go on and score three more TDs in the second quarter. Byron Marshall took the ball in on a 30-yard run. Mariota scored his second rushing TD on a 19-yard run and spectacular head first dive into the endzone.

“My emotions were: was he protecting the ball and was it a touchdown?” responded Helfrich to a question about what his emotions were when he saw Mariota dive into the endzone. “We have some very strict guidelines about reaching the ball. That was a tremendous play. It looked like, initially, he did a good job of protecting the football. We try to tell the guys to only reach the ball on fourth down or in a desperation situation. That was a pretty athletic play.”

Mariota closed out the first half scoring by hitting Devon Allen on a 16-yard pass. The Ducks went into the half leading 27-7. The only flaw being a muffed point after attempt.

The third quarter saw Mariota pick up where he left off by directing a six play, 72-yard drive that ended up when Mariota handed off to freshman running back Royce Freeman who sprinted into the endzone from 12 yards out.

On the ensuing drive, Wyoming quarterback Colby Kirkegaard was sacked by Torrodney Prevot, who also knocked the ball out of Kirkegaard’s hands and Oregon’s Christian French recovered on the Wyoming 29.

Mariota took the field again and hit two more passes then ran the ball before finding point guard turned wide receiver Johnathan Loyd on a five-yard TD pass. Wogan again kicked the PAT and Mariota’s day was over with Oregon leading 41-7.

The Ducks scored its last touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter when Kani Benoit plowed in from the Wyoming 1 for his first career TD. Wyoming also scored earlier in the fourth quarter when D.J. May caught a 12-yard scoring pass from Kirkegaard. Wyoming’s first TD resulted in an 18-yard TD pass and reception from Kirkegaard to Tanner Gentry.

For the game Mariota was 19-of-23 for 221 yards and the two TD passes. Jeff Lockie came in relief during the fourth quarter and was 6-for-8 and 72 yards.

The Ducks had 11 players with pass receptions with tight end Pharoah Brown leading the way with four catches for 46 yards. Keanon Lowe also had four grabs for 41 yards while Allen finished the day with three receptions for 42 yards and a TD. Darren Carrington also had three catches for 38 yards.

Marshall was the Ducks’ leading ball carrier with 80 yards gained on six carries and one TD. Mariota finished the day with 71 rushing yards and the two TDs. Freeman had five carries for 22 net yards and a TD. Thomas Tyner had 11 carries for 58 yards. In all the Ducks rushed for 263 yards on 37 carries.

Defensively, the Ducks struggled at times allowing Wyoming to gain 439 yards including 155 yards rushing and 284 yards passing. However the Ducks also five sacks among the nine tackles for loss plus created three turnovers (two interceptions and a fumble recovery.)

Reggie Daniels was the leading tackler with eight tackles (five solos) including credit for half of a TFL. Joe Walker and Rodney Hardrick both had six tackles (four and one solos respectively). Hardrick along with Tyree Robinson, Arik Armstead, Justin Hollins, Tony Washington and Alex Balducci all had a TFL or were credited with a partial TFL.

DeForest Buckner, Tyson Coleman, Prevot, Dior Mathis, French and Tui Talia were given credit for sacks or partial sacks.

Erick Dargan had two interceptions that led to Oregon scores. Dargan also had a pass break up.

“[Erick] Dargan made a couple of great plays,” cited Helfrich off Dargan’s play..” He’s been doing that all camp… He’s been exactly how he practices. And that’s amazing. He’s had a ton of picks in practice very similar to the play that he had today… We did well on the turnover ratio today.”

The Ducks did not attempt a field goal but Matt Wogan kicked six successful point-after attempts. Ian Wheeler punted once for 50 yards.

Kirkegaard was 19-for-33, 284 yards, two touchdowns (Gentry and Tanner) and two interceptions. Shaun Wick had 122 net yards rushing with a long of 42 yards and D.J. May finished the game with four catches and 101 yards receiving.

Wyoming was led in tackling by Mark Nzeocha with 11 tackles (six solos). The Cowboys also recorded a TFL by Jordan Stanton.

Wyoming’s Ethan Wood punted three times for a 39.0 yard per punt average with a long of 46 and one landing inside the Oregon 20.

For the game Oregon had a total of 556 yards (263 rushing, 293 passing) to Wyoming’s 439. The Cowboys had three turnovers while Oregon did not turn the ball over. Penalties were relatively even. Wyoming was flagged five times and lost 48 yards while the Ducks lost 30 yards on four penalties.

The Ducks now head into conference play. Next week Oregon travels to Washington State for a 7:30 game with the Cougars.

“I’m excited for the next game,” observed Helfrich of the season so far. “ Our guys did a decent job of shaking the hangover from last week. Now we’re moving ahead to conference play. We’re right where we want to be, as far as being 3-0, but we’re nowhere near where we want to be for the long-term.”

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