Rich Kolbell

Oregon drops to 2-2 for the season

EUGENE, ORE. – The Oregon Ducks (2-2, 0-1) gave up 593 yards of total offense in its 41-38 loss to the Colorado. Buffaloes (3-1, 1-0) and when Dakota Prukop threw his first interception, Oregon lost all chance of winning the game. Really though, the Ducks were lucky to be as close as they were.

Oregon porous defense could not stop Colorado for most of the game and only showed some signs of life in the third quarter with two interceptions by two freshmen, one by Brendon Schooler and the other by Troy Dye. Other than though, it was business as usual for a defense that was horrible last season and not much better this.

The Ducks were torched by Colorado backup quarterback Steven Montez who only came out and threw for 333 yards and three touchdowns, but also rushed for 135 yards and a TD. Montez did make the two mistakes by throwing interceptions but made up for it by tucking the ball in and taking full of advantage of Oregon’s inability to stuff holes, gaps and gashes in the defensive line.

The Buffaloes were more balanced and executed nearly flawlessly as opposed to Oregon which sputtered too often and stalled as evidenced by the fact the Ducks had to punt six times while the Buffaloes punted three times.

Devon Ross was the game’s top receiver with seven catches for 153 yards and a TD. Bryce Bobo had five grabs for 72 yards and a score while Shay Fields also had five catches for 35 yards and a TD.

Phillip Lindsey also scored a TD for Colorado plus finishing with 72 yards on 15 carries. Kyle Evens had 10 carries for 61 yards.

Oregon trailed at halftime 26-17 but came back in the third quarter to take a 38-33 lead with 54 seconds left in the third quarter. Unfortunately for the Ducks Colorado recaptured the game for good at the 8:43 mark of the fourth quarter.

Prukop was 22-for-33, 293 yards and two touchdowns, both to Darren Carrington, one covering 25 yards with the second going 18 yards.

Prukop’s interception was the first turnover of the year for the Ducks.

While Royce Freeman was announced as the starter, he did not play and wasn’t even in uniform for the game. Tony Brooks-James had 16 carries for 122 yards and a TD. Kani Benoit had a TD also among his 13 carries and 49 net yards; Taj Griffin had 27 yards off nine totes that resulted in one TD.

Danny Mattingly had the biggest surprise of the day when the Ducks faked a punt and Mattingly picked up a first down after running for 29 yards.

Adam Schneider kicked one field goal from 41 yards out.

Defensively the Ducks were paced by Dye’s 10 tackles (six solos) including a sack plus the interception. A.J. Hotchkins had nine tackles (five solos) and was given credit for half a sack. Schooler had eight tackles (five solos) including a half a tackle for loss. Austin Maloata had the other half for the sack and had a TFL. De’Quan McDowell had three solo tackles including 1.5 TFLs with one of the TFLs being a sack. Bryson Young also was given credit for a half-TFL.

 Following the game, Oregon Head Coach Mark Helfrich said the team was in a malaise prior to the start of the game.

“Today we had a little malaise to us as far as the start of the game,” confessed Helfrich to his team’s attitude on Saturday. “That’s very uncharacteristic.

 Helfrich went on to say that the team had a good week of practice but the coach could not explain why the focus was a bit off at game time.

The Oregon headman was asked if there were any similarities between this week’s loss and last week?

“The wrong team winning at the end by three points,” responded to the question of comparing this week to last. “It’s going to be another tough pill to swallow as far as the film but as long as everybody sticks together, owns what the need to own, starting with me, we’ll come out the other side.”

While there was promise that this team had turned the corner and found itself, the reality is that this defense is not very good, and the pace of improvement is painfully slow. How quickly can the Oregon coaching staff create a change in the Duck defense (or come out on the other side) might be what determines how long Mark Helfrich will be the coach at Oregon. 

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