With De’Anthony Thomas injured on the opening kickoff, Bralon Addison, Byron Marshall, Thomas Tyner and the Oregon defense sparked a 55-10 win that was short on artistry but long on guts and heart.
Separation Saturday: The defense applied relentless pressure and swarming pursuit, striking for 5 turnovers. Addison tied a school record with two punt returns for touchdowns. Marshall ran 19 times for a career high 130 yards, Tyner 13 for 103 (Don Ryan, AP photo).
Jared Goff, the Cal quarterback who came into the game leading the country with 453 yards passing a game, looked lost and overmatched before being yanked in the second quarter. During the week he’d talked about the trip to Autzen being no big deal, but he wound up 3-7 passing for 11 yards.
Conditions were miserable. A cold rain fell all night, swirling at times, and footballs slipped through receiver’s hands and squirted off jerseys. It wasn’t a sharply-played game, and the stands were 2/3 empty in the second half.
The Ducks still haven’t been tested. But they look like they could be ready for one. They do have to have a sharper performance from their quarterback, who really struggled with the wet ball. His receivers did too. The Ducks downfield passing game was missing in action; the only success they had was throwing the quick screens. Johnny Mundt had a nice reception over the middle.
The defense was brilliant through the first half, and so was Bralon Addison and the punt return team. Cal’s first four possessions ended in fumbles, recovered by the Ducks on the Bears 24, 32, 22, and 40 yard line. Their fifth possession was a three and out. On their sixth, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu intercepted Zach Kline’s pass in the corner of the end zone. That’s 5 turnovers in the first quarter, and the Ducks led 34-0 just three minutes into the second.
In their first two possessions of the second quarter, the Bears turned it over on downs. The Ducks held them to 5-18 on 3rd down, 1-4 on 4th down. Their next possession was a three and out, followed by a turnover on downs, followed by another three and out. They finally scored at the end of the second half to make it 41-3.
After the game Nick Aliotti gave grudging credit to his defense on their road from good to great, but acknowledged that the weather played a part in their dominance.
Offensively, Marshall and Tyner both showed a good burst, vision and toughness. Both have to work on their ball security.