ARLINGTON, TEXAS — There was a lot of focus on Oregon’s deep tight end group during fall camp.
Jacob Breeland is poised for a monster senior season. Cam McCormick will also be a key cog in the offense if he can ever get healthy. Ryan Bay is a reliable blocker and popular role player.
And Patrick Herbert is, well, the talented younger brother of the superstar quarterback.
There was little mention, by players or coaches, of Spencer Webb. The redshirt freshman was an afterthought a few weeks ago.
“Spencer Webb, going into the year we didn’t expect him to be playing in the first game,” Justin Herbert said after the 11th-ranked Ducks’ crushing 27-21 loss to No. 16 Auburn on Saturday night at AT&T Stadium. “He made a huge play. He’s a guy that we trust. Going forward he’s going to have to make big plays.”
Herbert’s only touchdown pass against the Tigers’ vaunted SEC defense was a 20-yard jump ball to Webb that gave Oregon a 14-3 lead with 2:11 remaining in the first quarter.
“I saw (Webb) one-on-one and I know he can do special things,” Herbert said. “I gave him a chance, and he made a big play.”
Webb finished with three receptions for 28 yards, and Breeland had four receptions for 26 yards. McCormick did not play due to injury.
Jerry World WR curse
Oregon’s wide receivers continue to have a hard time getting on the field at AT&T Stadium.
Juwan Johnson, the Penn State graduate transfer the Ducks are counting on to help replace Dillon Mitchell this season, did not play after “tweaking” a muscle in practice during the week.
Three other receivers — senior Brenden Schooler (foot), freshman Mycah Pittman (shoulder) and freshman JJ Waters (foot) — were also unavailable.
Herbert leaned on juniors Jaylon Redd (nine receptions for 64 yards) and Johnny Johnson (seven receptions for 98 yards) against the Tigers.
“Juwan is a tough guy to replace, as well as Mycah Pittman and Schooler,” Herbert said. “I thought the guys stepped up and made big plays.”
Before Oregon’s loss to Ohio State in the inaugural College Football Playoff championship game at AT&T Stadium, the Ducks lost standout receiver Devon Allen to a torn ACL in the Rose Bowl and Darren Carrington was suspended by the NCAA for failing a random drug test.
Eight members of Oregon’s touted 2019 recruiting class — wide receiver Josh Delgado, linebacker Ge’Mon Eaford, linebacker Mase Funa, safety Jamal Hill, cornerback DJ James, placekicker Camden Lewis, defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux and cornerback Mykael Wright — played in the opener. …
Herbert extended his streak of consecutive games with a passing touchdown to 29. Webb is the 18th different player the senior quarterback has thrown a touchdown pass to at Oregon. …
Darrian Felix’s 6-yard touchdown run in the third quarter was the second of his career and first since the 2017 season. …
Troy Dye’s 15 tackles are a career high. The senior linebacker is the first Oregon player with 15 tackles in a game since Joe Walker in 2015. …
Five of Blake Maimone’s punts were over 50 yards. He averaged 48.9 yards on seven attempts with a long of 56 yards.
“You definitely can’t let a loss like this beat you twice,” Dye said, noting that next week’s opponent, Nevada, came back to beat Purdue on Friday. “We have to bounce back. They’re riding really high. We have to put this behind us.”