Oregon over California 44-28

EUGENE  -- The Oregon Ducks (6-3, 4-2) became bowl eligible at Autzen Stadium on Saturday night with a 44-28 win over California (5-4, 2-4). The Ducks rolled up a record setting 777 yards of total offense. Vernon Adams threw for 300 yards and four touchdowns.

"Obviously a huge win," said Oregon Head Coach Mark Helfrich. "When you get two punts blocked and you throw two picks in the end zone, the percentage chance of winning is a decimal and a lot of zeros and a couple numbers down the way, but at the same time, we never blinked when that happened. We had enough playmakers to make it happen and beat a very good team."

Oregon overcame a slow start that saw the first punt block the Bears managed to orchestrate against punter Ian Wheeler. That miscue let to Jared Goff finding Stephen Anderson on a 7-yard TD pass. The Ducks then drove the field on the following possession but Adams was intercepted in the endzone by Griffin Piatt. The Bears drove back down field but the Oregon defense, which had been missing in action all season long, bowed its back and stopped the Cal drive at the Oregon 10 and force a Matt Anderson field goal which was good from 27 yards out.

The Ducks responded with a field goal by Aidan Schneider from 41-yards out and the score was 10-3.

From that point on, the Duck defense seemed to make for lost time and forced a 3-and-out to which Oregon mounted an eight play, 65 yard drive lasting 3:24 culminated with Adams making one of the most remarkable, acrobatic individual efforts when he leaped in the air, doing a flip and landing in the endzone for the TD. Following the successful point after by Schneider, the game was tied at 10.

The next Cal possession was more of the same as again the Bear offense back on the sidelines after three snaps. When the Ducks got their hands on the ball, it took just four plays that covered 78 yards in 1:03 with Adams hitting Bralon Addison on a 28 yard strike for a TD and with the PAT it was 17-10 Oregon.

Cal’s next drive ended with a punt which was downed at the Oregon 32, but five plays and 68 yards later, Adams hit Dwayne Stanford on a 10-yard route for the score and with the PAT, Oregon took a commanding 24-10 lead.

Cal got the ball back following the kickoff but again, the drive stalled and the Bears punted. Nine plays and 75 yards later, Oregon was in the endzone on Adams’ second TD pass of 15 yards to Addison. The PAT was good and Oregon was up 31-10, which was the score going into the lockerrooms at halftime.

While Oregon was firmly in control of the game as the third quarter started, someone forgot to tell Cal that it was all over. The Bears scored on the first possession of the second half when Anderson hit a 48 yard field goal cutting Oregon’s lead to 31-13.

Oregon’s next drive looked promising but the drive stalled and Wheeler was in punt formation, but his second punt was blocked by Jonathan Johnson giving the Bears the ball at the Oregon 45. Jared Goff finished off that possession by plunging into the endzone and following a 2-point conversion, Cal trailed 31-21.

Oregon then went into a ball control offense on the ensuing kickoff and held on the ball for four minutes and 19 seconds, covering 74 yards and the Ducks added a second Schneider field goal from 21 yards out.

Leading 34-21 the Ducks forced Cal to punt on the next drive and the Ducks began a drive that would exhaust the third quarter, but one play into the fourth quarter, Adams threw his fourth TD to Charles Nelson covering 20 yards and the Ducks broke the 40-point mark. With the PAT Oregon was up 41-21.

Even though the Bears looked like they had given up on the next drive and forced to punt, the Ducks took the ball, ran it behind Kani Benoit’s hard effort and the Ducks found themselves at the Cal 19. Adams went to the home run and threw the ball into the endzone for Darren Carrington but for the second time of the night Cal picked him off in endzone. The ball was spotted at the  Oregon 20 and with one throw, Goff hit Bryce Treggs for an 80-yard touchdown.

Now it was 41-28.

From that point on, the Ducks continued to run the ball, driving it to Cal 1, but instead of going for the TD on fourth and goal from the 1-yard line, the Oregon coaches opted to kick another field goal and the Ducks led 44-28.

Cal’s last drive ended when Khalil Oliver intercepted Goss.

For the game Oregon managed to gain 777 yards of total offense, 477 rushing and 300 passing. Royce Freeman was the leading rusher for the game going off for 180 yards of rushing on 29 carries, marking the eighth game of the year he has rushed for more than 100 yards. Also breaking the 100-yard mark was Tony Brooks-James who finished with 101 yards on seven carries. Benoit almost broke the century mark finishing with 94 yards. Ironically only Adams scored a rushing TD, and he finished with 43 net yards of rushing on eight carries. Taj Griffin also contributed 59 yards on eight carries.

"We ran the ball really well at times, and then another oddity of the night, no rushing touchdowns," commented Heflrich of Oregon's rushing attack. "But obviously, starts up front, those guys did a really good job of neutralizing their front, getting to the second level. We broke a bunch of tackles tonight."

Bralon Addison had to most catches for the Oregon receiving corps with five grabs for 79 yards and the two TDs, but Darren Carrington racked up 112 yards on four catches. Griffin had 32 yards on two catches while Devon Allen and Stanford had two catches each for 32 and 19 yards respectively.

“It feels good to be able to come back off of suspension and be able to just add a little ‘umph’ to my team," said Carrington.

Schneider finished the night with three successful field goal attempts of 41, 21 and 19 yards.

The much aliened Oregon defense played much better against the Bears, even though they allowed 432 yards and 28 points, but well below the season average in both categories. Even though the game will do little to get the Ducks out of the basement in the conference standings for points allowed  and total offense given up, Oregon made several stops that were key in getting back and holding the lead throughout the game.

"Limiting the run game was a huge deal," commented Helfrich of his defense. "Rallying up and driving together put away this game."

Tyree Robinson was the top Duck tackler with seven (six solos) iincluding a sack. DeForest Buckner, playing his usual aggressive game had five solo tackles including a sack that dropped Goff 16-yards behind the line of scrimmage. In all the Ducks had four TFLs, one from Alex Balducci and one-half each by Henry Mondeaux and Terrodney Prevot.

The Ducks were haunted by penalties, committing 10 for minus 90 yards. Cal was flagged six times for minus 15 yards.

Goff finished the night throwing for 329 yards on 18-for-41 and two TDs. He was also picked off once.

Bryce Teggs had one of the TD that covered 80 yards and that contributed to his team high 112 yards of receiving on two catches. Stephen Anderson also had a TD and finished with three catches for 23 yards. Maurice Harris had four catches for 78 yards.

Vic Enwere was the leading Bear rusher with 68 net yards.

Official Notes:

•The Ducks amassed 777 yards of offense against California, breaking the school single-game record of 772 yards previously set on Aug. 31, 2013 against Nicholls State.

•Royce Freeman finished the game with 180 rushing yards on 29 carries and ran his career total to 2,652 yards, moving him past Ricky Whittle (1992-95) for seventh on the all-time rushing list. His 29 attempts matched a career-high.

•Freeman’s 100-yard rushing effort was his fifth straight and seventh in nine games. He has 13 career 100-yard rushing games and is one away from tying Kenjon Barner (2009-12) and Jonathan Stewart (2005-07) for second in program history. Freeman’s 180 yards rushing puts him at 1,287 rushing yards on the season, moving him into eighth on the Oregon single-season list.

•Dwayne Stanford finished with 2 catches for 19 yards and a touchdown, moving him over 1,000 yards receiving for his career.

•With a crowd of 56,604, Autzen Stadium hosted a sellout crowd for the 108th straight game.

•Bralon Addison caught a pair of touchdown passes for the third time in his career. He is just two touchdown receptions away from tying Lew Barnes (1983-85) and Ahmad Rashad (1969-71) for ninth all-time at Oregon.

•Vernon Adams Jr.’s touchdown pass to Addison in the first quarter marked the 77th straight game for Oregon with a passing touchdown, an NCAA record.

•Adams threw four touchdown passes for the second straight game. The fifth-year senior transfer threw for four scores in the 3OT win at Arizona State on Oct. 29.

•Adams extended his personal streak to 32 straight games with a touchdown pass.

•Darren Carrington caught four passes for 112 yards. The 100-yard receiving effort was the fifth straight for Carrington, dating back to the Pac-12 Championship game against Arizona last season.

•Tony Brooks-James carried the ball seven times for 101 yards, breaking his previous single-game high of 63 yards (9/05/15 vs. Eastern Washington). It was the first 100-yard rushing game in Brooks-James’ career. His 26-yard run in the third quarter was a new career-long.

•Brooks-James and Freeman both went over 100 yards rushing, marking the second time this season that a pair of Ducks have exceeded 100 yards rushing in the same game (Freeman, Taj Griffin at Colorado).

•Charles Nelson continued to show his versatility. The sophomore made three solo tackles on defense and hauled in a 20-yard touchdown on offense. He also returned three kickoffs for 52 yards.

•Kani Benoit rushed for 94 yards on 8 carries, exceeding his previous single-game high of 83 yards (9/05/15 vs. Eastern Washington).

•Aidan Schneider was good on all three of his field goal attempts, moving him into 10th on the Oregon all-time list with 27 career makes.

Official Game Book

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