Bryan Addison’s first chance at a touchdown for Oregon went through his hands.
The second one ended two yards shy of the end zone.
The redshirt freshman finally broke the plane of the goal line near the end of the first half Saturday when Justin Herbert found him for a 24-yard touchdown that put the Ducks ahead 35-6 en route to a 77-6 win over Nevada at Autzen Stadium.
“When I got my opportunity, it was a blessing, something I’ve wanted my whole life,” Addison said following Tuesday's practice. “The excitement my team had for me, knowing my journey, and for me to get in the end zone for the first time was great.”
Addison was in the end zone during the first half of Oregon’s 27-21 season-opening loss to Auburn when a pass from Herbert bounced off his chest and went out of bounds, leading to a missed field goal that kept UO’s lead at 7-0. Addison did not catch a ball the rest of the game, finishing with one reception for six yards.
“One mistake doesn’t define me as a person,” Addison said. “Once I dropped the ball, I kept pushing. My teammates told me to keep my head up, it happens to the best of us. In football, not everyone is going to be perfect. One drive did not define me as a player.”
Addison had a 34-yard reception in the second quarter against Nevada when he was tackled at the 2-yard line, setting up a touchdown run by CJ Verdell on the next play.
“My first big chunk play I’ve had at Oregon, that was big for me,” Addison said.
Oregon had the ball at Nevada’s 24-yard line with 18 seconds left in the first half when Herbert used a pump fake before finding Addison open as he stepped into the end zone.
“Looking at the signal, I knew the route and looked at the coverage and knew I had to sell the route,” Addison said. “Once I sold the route, everything fell into place. All I had to do was catch the ball.”
Addison entered the game with two catches for 18 yards in five career games and finished with two catches for 58 yards against the Wolf Pack. He was able to redshirt last year when he played in four games following a late arrival after he originally signed with UCLA.
“I’m more comfortable inside the offense, less timid,” he said.
As injuries have depleted the Ducks at receiver, Addison has moved up the depth chart and leads the Ducks with an average of 21.3 yards per catch.
“I’m just falling into place, letting coach (Jovon Bouknight) do what he needs to do to get the wide out group up,” Addison said. “Coach Bo is always telling me to keep working, every day is a day to get better. He told me my opportunities will come, so make plays when they come.”
Bay also finds the end zone
Ryan Bay had to play a few years longer than Addison to get his first touchdown as a Duck. The redshirt senior caught a 16-yard scoring pass from Herbert in the first half of the win over Nevada in his 28th career game at Oregon.
“Five years and there it is,” Bay said. “It was an exciting moment. Something I’ve worked hard for and something we practiced all week.”
Bay had to leave the field earlier in the second quarter when he injured his ankle and had to get it wrapped. He returned on a first down at the 16-yard line when he got off the line and caught the ball at the 6-yard line before going untouched for the score.
“I didn’t know it was coming, but the first one, I worked hard for it,” Bay said.
Bay was one of four tight ends to score in the game along with Jacob Breeland, Hunter Kampmoyer and Brady Aiello, an offensive lineman who switched jerseys to be an eligible receiver. Spencer Webb, a tight end who has also been used at wide receiver this season, scored in the opener against Auburn.
Cam McCormick, Oregon’s projected starter at tight end, has yet to play this season due to an ankle injury, but could return against Montana for the 7:45 p.m. game Saturday.
Bay had a career-high nine catches for 74 yards last year when McCormick missed the season due to a broken bone in his leg.
“Obviously, I have had a lot of big roles to fill and I fulfilled them and earned that respect from my team that I can be a guy to count on and make plays,” Bay said.