Tyrell Crosby did not give up a sack at left tackle during his spectacular senior season at Oregon.
During the Ducks’ 58-24 victory over Bowling Green on Saturday at Autzen Stadium, Penei Sewell was charged with protecting Justin Herbert’s blindside.
The 6-foot-6, 360-pound Sewell is the first true freshman to start an opener on Oregon’s offensive line since Lee Gundy in 1997.
“I think the moment he stepped on campus,” Herbert said of when he realized Sewell was capable of winning the job on a veteran offensive line. “He’s a really smart guy and he was able to pick it up so quickly that I couldn’t even tell the difference.
“Definitely some big shoes to fill, but he’s well on his way. It’s a pleasure to play next to him.”
Sewell, who was the highest-ranked recruit in Oregon’s 2018 class, said he found out during the offensive linemen meeting Friday that he would be starting.
“Very excited just getting the opportunity to play and having the players’ trust and the coaches’ trust,” Sewell said. “Coming in here I just wanted to work, keep my head down and do what coach Cristobal wanted us to do. It worked out from there.”
Tight end Cam McCormick did not play in the second half and was wearing a boot on his left leg.
Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said after the game that he thought McCormick’s injury was “significant.”
Outside linebacker La’Mar Winston is in concussion protocol after getting shaken up in the first half.
Adam Stack, Oregon’s starting placekicker, did not suit up because of leg soreness. Walk-on Zach Emerson was 8-for-8 on extra points and did not attempt a field goal.
Eight true freshmen saw action in Saturday’s opener — Sewell, long snapper Kartsen Battles, running back Travis Dye, cornerback Kahlef Hailassie, safety Jevon Holland, linebacker Adrian Jackson, punter Tom Snee and safety Steve Stephens.
An NCAA rule change during the offseason allows players to play in as many as four games and still be able to redshirt.
Oregon has won 14 consecutive home openers and averaged 57.1 points during the streak. … Jalen Jelks and Troy Dye combined for 28.5 tackles for loss in 2017 and were the top returning Pac-12 duo in that department. On Saturday they combined for 17 tackles (1.5 for loss), an interception and a fumble recovery. … Oregon’s top five tacklers Saturday were members of the front seven. Safety Ugo Amadi was tied for sixth on the team with five tackles to go with his interception return for a touchdown.
“The depth chart is what it is,” Darrian Felix said of being one of five running backs listed as co-backups behind Tony Brooks-James. “Let’s roll.”