It’s report card time again and there’s a lot to like in Oregon’s 48-7 win over Stony Brook, but there are definitely some improvements to be had as well, with conference play right around the corner. For the first time all year, the receiving corps played a key role in a win with a lot of freshman getting their first taste of Division I football.
True freshman Ty Thompson had to fill in for an injured Anthony Brown and the secondary dominated with three interceptions.
But the offensive line continues to be a mystery. The group played poorly against Fresno State, but were great on the road in Columbus and was the No. 1 key as to why the Ducks pulled off the shocker. Now against Stony Brook, an FCS school, the offensive line was below average to put it mildly. So are they that great line we saw at Ohio State or are they just an average line we saw in Weeks 1 and 3? Just like how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? The world may never know.
Before Brown was knocked out of the game right before halftime, he was having his best game in an Oregon uniform, going 14-of-18 passing for 159 yards and a touchdown. He also added another rushing touchdown as well. Then due to a couple of big hits, true freshman Ty Thompson was forced to make his college debut and the offense didn’t miss a beat. He connected on two touchdown passes and finished the game 6-of-9 passing for 82 yards, leading a total of four scoring drives in the end.
Overall, it was an encouraging day for the future of the Ducks’ QB position.
In some games, it’s the running backs playing a big role in the offense, and in others, it’s the receivers. For the first two contests, it was CJ Verdell and Travis Dye. This day belonged to the receivers, but Dye still managed to rush for 82 yards and a touchdown. True freshmen Byron Cardwell, Seven McGee, and Trey Benson all made their Duck debuts with Benson finding the end zone for the first time. In total, the Ducks rushed for 173 yards and three touchdowns.
For the first time all season, Oregon got to see what kind of receiving group it has and it’s scary … for opponents. It was a complete effort by the group instead of one or two players dominating. Ten Ducks caught passes with true freshman Terrance Ferguson scoring his first touchdown in what is sure to be many. Dont’e Thornton also caught a touchdown pass, a 54-yarder that happened to be the first catch of his career.
Here comes the disappointing section of the report card. The offensive line was beat for most of the first half and against a team like Stony Brook, that just can’t happen. It’s especially confusing since this group played so well at Ohio State, so this group remains a mystery. Two missed assignments late in the first half led to Brown getting hit hard, ultimately causing him to miss the entire second half. They played better in the second half once the Seawolves wore down, but the consistency has to be better as the season goes along.
For the most part, the defensive line played well. They managed make it very difficult for Stony Brook to get any kind of ground game going and although they were credited with just one sack, they harassed Seawolves quarterback Tyquell Fields all night. On two of his interceptions, Fields was hurried and hit right after he threw the ball. The defensive line should be much better down the road, with the return of Kayvon Thibodeaux looming.
As with the defensive line, the linebackers did what they needed to do to stifle the Seawolves’ offense. Stony Brook’s main tailback, Ty Son Lawson, had to search for any open holes as players such as Noah Sewell closed the gaps quickly. Sewell led the Ducks with 10 tackles, three solo, and a number of freshmen got to see the field, as did a couple of walk-ons.
Three interceptions will earn you a top grade. Verone McKinley III is quickly becoming one of the best safeties in the country. He picked off Fields twice in the first half that ended scoring threats. Without those two picks, Stony Brook might have actually been ahead at the halftime break. He now has three interceptions for the year. Strong safety Bennett Williams also added an interception in the third quarter that gave the Oregon offense a short field and set up an eventual touchdown.
Welcome back Camden Lewis. The third-year sophomore continued to be perfect on the year, and he hit all five of his extra points and made two field goals of 40 and 35 yards. Punter Tom Snee did his usual outstanding job, averaging 46 yards a punt and putting all three kicks inside the 20-yard line.