Backup quarterbacks, kickers and inexperienced defensive players don’t usually provide the sizzle at Oregon.

But the emergence of Tyler Shough, four made field goals and some flashes of brilliance for newcomers in first-year defensive coordinator Andy Avalos’ scheme were welcome developments for the Ducks during the annual spring game.

In the end, the Justin Herbert-led Mighty Oregon (Green) team defeated the Fighting Ducks (Yellow) 20-13 on Saturday in front of a crowd of 35,110 at Autzen Stadium.

“It was a very good and productive spring,” coach Mario Cristobal said. “One we can take pride in.”

Herbert was 17-for-32 passing for 219 yards with two touchdowns. Shough, a redshirt freshman who did not attempt a pass in three relief appearances last season, was 18-for-31 passing for 178 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.

“He’s a guy who shows up for every practice and he’s a guy that’s done that since he showed up here,” Herbert said of his understudy. “He’s a special player and he’s a great guy to have in your team room. I’m really happy for him and glad he had a good day.”


Herbert threw a 68-yard pass to CJ Verdell and a 6-yard touchdown pass to Penn State graduate transfer Juwan Johnson to give the Green a 7-3 lead in the first quarter.

The 6-foot-6, 237-pound senior added a 9-yard touchdown pass to Jaylon Redd in the third quarter to extend the lead to 20-10.

Shough’s top two wide receiver targets were true freshmen Mycah Pittman (seven receptions, 48 yards) and Josh Delgado (two receptions, 30 yards).

“I think adding those guys in forced that receiver group to continue to improve,” Herbert said of the influx of talent at receiver. “Tyler Shough does as great job as well pushing me, and I try to push him as well as I can.

“Competition has been huge for us, and I think that’s what coach Cristobal wants to see.”

True freshman quarterback Cale Millen, who Cristobal said was “banged up” during spring practice, did not play.

The Ducks, who have Pac-12 championship aspirations with Herbert behind center, may finally have found a worthy No. 2 option at the game’s most important position.

“I felt pretty comfortable out there,” Shough said. “Credit to our guys, they were in the right spots. I felt the pass protection was really good today. I made some easy throws and connected with our guys.”

Shough led Yellow on two scoring drives that were capped with field goals of 32 and 26 yards by true freshman Camden Lewis. Zach Emerson made field goals of 28 and 21 yards for Green.

Adam Stack, who did not play due to injury, was only 6-for-10 on field goals in 2018.

“Cam Lewis came out and did a really good job the entire spring,” Cristobal said. “Not only kicking from a field goal standpoint, but kickoffs.”

Defensively, sophomore inside linebacker Isaac Slade-Matautia led the Yellow with six tackles and sophomore safety Steve Stephens led the Green with seven tackles.

True freshman defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux wasn’t allowed to hit Shough but was credited with a drive-ending sack, a pass breakup and two tackles.

“Oh, No. 5. You saw,” Cristobal said when asked about Thibodeaux’s immediate impact. “And the best part about it is his expectations for himself are as big as we have for him. It’s a five-star heart, a five-star talent. He’s got the hunger, the drive, the determination to do it.”

Mykael Wright, another touted member of the 2019 recruiting class, ended the scrum with a highlight-reel interception of a deep pass by Shough.

“He didn’t disappoint, Mykael Wright,” Cristobal said. “We felt he was the best at his position in the country when we recruited him. Another guy that just got dropped off three weeks ago and ‘Go cover some guys and make some plays.’

“I guess he took these words to heart. He was excellent.”

With the return of 17 starters and the addition of the highest-ranked recruiting class in program history, the Ducks are expected to help the Pac-12 sizzle again when the season kicks off against Auburn on Aug. 31 in Arlington, Texas.