Making Grades: Arizona game presents a mixed bag of the good, bad and the ugly

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The report card this week is going to be a bit different because well, the Arizona game was a bit different.

It was a game where the Ducks came out on top on the scoreboard, but the grades probably won’t reflect a 22-point win over a conference opponent. Grades will be vastly different even within the offense and defense. For example, the defensive line probably had its worst game of the year, but the secondary had their best game.

After the Ducks defeated the Wildcats 41-19, it just didn’t feel like a win to celebrate. Oregon has a lot to work on this week as they prepare to go down to The Farm and take on a tough Stanford team. Let’s get into the report card:

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QUARTERBACK

Grade: B

One could tell that something just wasn’t quite right with Brown, whether it was the effect of the injury he sustained the previous week against Stony Brook or the stout Arizona defense. He was 10-of-21 for 206 yards, but it’s the three touchdown strikes that elevate his grade to a B. He was good enough but good enough likely isn’t going to cut it as the conference season rolls along.

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RUNNING BACK

Grade: B-

If the grade here was accessed on just production, it would have been a lot higher. But CJ Verdell and Travis Dye combined to just carry the ball just 16 times. Realistically, we would like to see that number doubled, around 30-35 carries, especially in a game that should be a blowout. When they did handle the rock, they gained a lot of yards. Dye gained 92 yards on just five carries and Verdell had 46 yards on 11 carries. Brown carried the ball 12 times for 48 yards. Expect these numbers to be higher this week against the Cardinal, who boast the worst rushing defense in the Pac-12.

AP Photo/Andy Nelson

RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS

Grade: B+

For just having 10 catches among them, the receivers/tight ends group managed three touchdowns, including Jaylon Redd’s 63-yard score to begin the game, which was his only catch of the game. Tight ends Spencer Webb and Terrance Ferguson also had one catch each, both for touchdowns. It just proves how dangerous this group can be if they get touches, the only problem is the lack of touches that they get. Anthony Brown had a sub-.500 completion percentage, so the lack of production isn’t all on the WRs, but for yet another week, we are left wondering who the top guy is going to be for this team.

AP Photo/Young Kwak

OFFENSIVE LINE

Grade: C-

This offensive line stays a mystery as they seemed to play down to the competition. A lot of Brown’s rushes were out of necessity as he scrambles away from the rush. He was also sacked twice. The line didn’t open up consistent holes for the tailbacks to rush through, causing offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead to adjust his strategy to go away from the run. Oregon is going to need the line that played in Columbus to show itself this week against Stanford or it could be a long day.

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DEFENSIVE LINE

Grade: D

Arizona came into the game averaging just 78 yards a game on the ground. But inside Autzen Stadium, the Wildcats rushed for 202 yards. Fortunately, it didn’t cost Oregon the game. The defensive front was continually getting pushed off of the ball, and they were rarely able to get pressure on the QB, not tallying their first sack until deep in the fourth quarter. Hopefully, they got the clunker out of the way and holes like that don’t open up for opposing tailbacks that often again.

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LINEBACKERS

Grade: B+

While the defensive line was having problems, that made for a great game for the linebackers as Noah Sewell had a career-high 14 tackles. In a game where Keith Brown and Mase Funa returned to the field after sitting in Week 3 with injuries, it was senior Nate Heaukulani that had one of the biggest impacts with 7 tackles on the day. This group has a really high upside, and their floor, which we likely saw on Saturday, is still good enough to get the job done.

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SECONDARY:

Grade: A+

For the second straight week, the secondary earned an A+, this time with five interceptions, including a pick-six from Bennett Williams. Verone McKinley grabbed his 4th INT of the year, Mykael Wright got in on the action with his first of the season, and Nate Heaukulani got his first career INT as well. This is quickly becoming a very special group and one that is going to make offensive coordinators around the Pac-12 have nightmares. When the all-conference team is announced after the season, expect a number of players from Eugene to be mentioned.

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SPECIAL TEAMS

Grade: A+

Camden Lewis continued his comeback story while staying perfect, which included a career-long 43-yard goal in the fourth quarter. For the season, he’s 5-for-5 on field goals and 20-for-20 on extra points. Punter Tom Snee didn’t see a lot of action, but when Oregon did have to punt, he didn’t disappoint. In his two kicks, he averaged 48 yards a punt.

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