Tyler Shough is only one play away from becoming the third true freshman quarterback to play meaningful snaps at Oregon in as many seasons.
After No. 20 Oregon’s 35-22 victory over San Jose State on Saturday at Autzen Stadium, coach Mario Cristobal announced that backup Braxton Burmeister is expected to be out about two weeks after undergoing a “minor” surgical procedure on an injured knee that swelled up last week.
Shough did not attempt a pass during nonconference play but took some snaps in mop-up duty against Portland State and San Jose State.
“I think he’s getting there,” wide receiver Johnny Johnson, a former high school rival of Shough’s growing up in Chandler, Ariz., said of the touted 2018 recruit. “He’s a young guy, but he’s improving every day. He’s on his way.”
Justin Herbert had to play deep into Saturday’s game as the Ducks were unable to get comfortable separation from the Spartans despite entering the game as 42-point favorites.
Entering next Saturday’s Pac-12 opener against No. 9 Stanford, Herbert has completed 56.8 percent of his passes this season for 840 yards with 12 touchdowns and four interceptions.
Herbert passed for 274 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions as a true freshman during Oregon’s 52-27 home loss to Stanford in 2016. The former Sheldon High standout missed last year’s matchup with a fractured collarbone.
Burmeister was 3-for-8 passing for 23 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions during his start against the Cardinal as a true freshman subbing for an injured Herbert. Stanford rolled to a 49-7 win.
“I really don’t like thinking of it as being thrown into the fire, however it may play out,” Shough said during fall camp of possibly getting some snaps this season. “I’ve just got to be the best I can, and when my name gets called out I’ve got to be ready.”
San Jose State placekicker Bryce Crawford made field goals of 31, 28 and 25 yards on Saturday. Oregon’s Zach Emerson, a walk-on, had a 42-yard field goal attempt blocked.
“We’d like to get a little bit more of a trajectory on that ball that was blocked today,” Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said. “But he’s kicked off pretty well, he’s hit almost all of his extra points. We’ve asked him to step up.”
Emerson has made 21 of 22 extra points this season filling in for Adam Stack, who has been held out with a sore leg.
“Stack is good to go this week,” Cristobal said. “We did kick him this past week, and he looked ready, he looked very accurate. Not playing him today was more precautionary than anything else.”
Outside linebacker La’Mar Winston, who missed the Portland State game while going through concussion protocol, had three tackles and a pass breakup against San Jose State.
Starting left tackle Penei Sewell suffered an ankle sprain, and wide receiver Brenden Schooler is in concussion protocol after a head-to-head hit.
Oregon has won 23 of its last 25 games at home as a ranked team. … The Ducks are holding opponents to 2.2 yards per carry over the last five games. … Herbert extended his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass to 18 and passed Akili Smith for seventh place on Oregon’s career list for touchdown passes with 46. … Tight end Jacob Breeland’s 66-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter was the longest of his career.
“We’re not really worried about the outside media day or game day, whatever it’s called, College GameDay,” Oregon linebacker Troy Dye said of ESPN’s popular college football pregame show heading to Eugene next Saturday. “We’re just focused on Stanford and trying to get better.”