Oregon welcomed Colorado to Autzen Stadium Friday Night, and the outcome was rarely in doubt. Colorado had a chance to cut it to 17-10 right before halftime, but a circus interception by Verone McKinley III gave the Oregon offense the ball back. They quickly struck after getting the ball back. Capping off an eight-play drive was a Jaylon Redd touchdown run from three yards out, making it 24-3 going into the half, and Oregon never looked back.
A barrage of second-half interceptions by Steven Montez and some big runs by Oregon led to a 45-3 final score.
Oregon Handles Colorado: Takeaways
This Defense is…Still the Real Deal
Nobody should have been doubting the legitimacy of this defense. However, this Colorado offense was the best offense this team has faced this season, outside of maybe Auburn. Leading to some questions of the Oregon defense being able to play to the same level they were playing at.
Now Dye was able to go back in the game, but he didn’t play too big of a role. Holland never went back in as he was spotted on the sideline wearing a boot. That on its own doesn’t sound good, but CJ Verdell was in a boot last week and had a huge game in this one.
Obviously, the health of Dye and Holland going forward is going to be huge. But this defense showed it has depth.
And make no mistake about it, this defense is one of the best in the country. Don’t let someone tell you some of the offenses they’ve played are the reason for their numbers. It might not be the best in the nation, but it’s up there.
Running Game Showing Continued Improvement
Last week the running game showed real signs of life against a very good Cal defense. This week, they dominated.
Now that’s something they should be doing against a weak Colorado defense. However, being expected to do it and actually doing it are two different things, as this Oregon offense has shown at times this season.
As mentioned, Verdell had a huge game, racking up 171 yards on 14 carries. That included a 70-yard run. Travis Dye got limited action, but ran for 54 yards on just three carries, being boosted by a 47-yard run. Also, Cyrus Habibi-Likio played an important role in the offense, running for 47 yards on 13 carries, which isn’t a great average, but he was effective in short-yardage and found the endzone three times.
All-in-all, the team ran for 252 yards on 36 carries (7.0 yards per carry) total. That includes a 19-yard loss when Justin Herbert had a ball snapped over his head. Take that out, and it’s at least 271 yards on 35 carries.
Going into a huge matchup with Washington next week, the importance of the running game seems to be clicking the best it has all season, can’t be understated.
This even led to Penei Sewell be interviewed post-game. When was the last time you saw an offensive lineman being interviewed on the field after a game? It’s not common, to say the least
Impressive performance by #Oregon tonight especially by this guy. First time I’ve ever interviewed an O-lineman in our postgame but Penei Sewell is a special talent and a real tone-setter for this program now. pic.twitter.com/AZYOZlfaS2— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) October 12, 2019
Oregon Beats Colorado: Takeaways Continued
Wide Receiver is Becoming a Strength
Last season that was the weakest unit on the team. It’s slowly becoming one of the deepest units on the team.
Drops are still somewhat of a concern, but not nearly to the extent they were last season.
Juwan Johnson finally made his presence felt in this game. Mycah Pittman has already been a big contributor in two games. Brenden Schooler didn’t have a catch in this game, but his impact is felt on special teams and blocking as well.
And then, of course, Bryan Addison is a factor, although he had a drop last night, Jaylon Redd has been consistent out of the slot, and Johnny Johnson III is continuing to have a bounce-back season after his very down year last year.
There still isn’t a big-time go-to guy like there was last season with Dillon Mitchell. However, there is depth at the position, giving Herbert plenty of options on any given play.
Tying in, the tight end position doesn’t have nearly as much depth, and Jacob Breeland left with an injury. The extent of his injury has yet to be known, but he is having the best season of his career, so the extent of his injury will be big for this Oregon passing game.
Kicking Game is a Concern Going to Washington
Camden Lewis did make a field goal, but it wasn’t exactly drilled down the middle.
Also, there was a chance late in the game for a field goal attempt, but Mario Cristobal elected to go for it. That would’ve been a good chance to try and build confidence for Lewis, but Cristobal essentially showed the confidence he has in him by electing to go for it.
Going into what will likely be a tight, low-scoring defensive battle in Seattle, Oregon might need to make a field goal or two to get the win. That’s not something that anyone that follows the program will be confident in.
However, maybe Lewis will make a huge field goal in that game and it will propel him to being a reliable kicker.
Going into this game though, it’s the biggest question this team has.
Top Photo: Troy Wayrynen/USA TODAY Sports