Here are some quick-hit observations following No. 16 Oregon’s 77-6 victory against Nevada at Autzen Stadium in Saturday.
1. Ducks put Auburn loss to bed
Nothing takes away the sting of a disappointing defeat quite like a decisive win.
That’s what the Ducks did Saturday with their whooping of the Wolf Pack one week after being beaten by Auburn on a late touchdown.
Oregon needed this game to be a blowout and it delivered one in decisive fashion.
After getting blanked on its first two drives, the offense scored touchdowns on eight straight possessions and amassed 623 yards. The Ducks also tied the school single-game record with seven TD passes.
The defense recorded four turnovers that were all turned into TDs — including safety Brady Breeze getting an 11-yard scoop-and-score of a fumble in the third quarter — and also had five sacks as they held Nevada to 192 yards of offense and no points in the final 40 minutes.
2. Sharing the wealth at receiver
Oregon again played without injured receiver Juwan Johnson and tight end Cam McCormick, but the Ducks leaned on its depth this week to make up for their absences.
Quarterbacks Justin Herbert and Tyler Shough completed a combined 27 passes to 14 different receivers with seven of them getting into the end zone.
Tight end Jacob Breeland and wide receivers Johnny Johnson III and Daewood Davis led with four catches each, and Breeland also had a career-high 112 receiving yards. Five different players also caught passes of 20 yards or more as the Ducks opened up the playbook a little more in their vertical passing game.
“We probably called a few more and some were open,” Oregon coach Mario Cristbal said. “We tried last week but they got taken away. … But staying aggressive certainly paid off tonight.”
3. When Herbert heats up, look out
Herbert didn’t have the best start, to be sure, overthrowing some open receivers and throwing wide to another as he missed on four of his first seven attempts. But when Herbert got going, the senior quarterback looked like the future first round NFL draft pick he's projected to be, zipping passes down the seam, putting a little touch on others, but always landing his throws right into the hands of his receivers as he completed 16 of his final 19 attempts for 284 yards and five touchdowns before leaving the game in the third quarter.
“He’s grown into a tremendous leader and player, we all know that,” Cristobal said. “I think he was outstanding.”
4. Defense does the job on third down
Yes, Oregon’s offense put up 77 points and 11 touchdowns, but they only needed one of those scores to beat the Wolf Pack. The Ducks’ defense was too tough on Saturday, especially when Nevada needed to make a play. The Wolf Pack were just 3 for 17 on third down, with two of those stops by Oregon coming in the red zone as Nevada was forced to attempt field goal both times. Nevada made it into Oregon territory just one other time the rest of the game.
5. Defensive newcomers stand out
A week after veterans Troy Dye and Jevon Holland were the Ducks’ standout defensive players, this week’s win again Nevada was marked by a number of first-year players making big plays. Sophomore transfer defensive end DJ Johnson, playing in his second game for Oregon, had a team-high seven tackles, including three for a loss of yards, a sack and forced fumble. Freshman linebacker Mase Funa had two sacks, freshmen defensive linemen Keyon Ware-Hudson and Andrew Faoliu each had one sack, redshirt freshman safety Steve Stephens had an interception that he returned 38 yards to the Nevada 5-yard line, and freshman defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux had an 11-yard tackle for loss on the punter after a botched snap.