Oregon Humbles Day and the Buckeyes

Oregon Ducks Football

Ryan Day tends to be cocky, and perhaps right fully so. His team is stocked with talent. He has an outstanding play caller. Yet, cockiness and talent doesn’t win ball games. Grit, intestinal fortitude, and perseverance win ball games. The Oregon Ducks epitomize Head Coach Mario Cristobal’s mindset. A former offensive lineman, and two-time College Football Champion with the Miami Hurricanes, Cristobal brings a toughness to the table that has been missing in the PAC 12 since Jim Harbaugh left Stanford. “Every day is a reckoning” Cristobal’s father used to say. Well, the reckoning came for an overconfident overrated Buckeye team.

Ohio State is a young, talented, and well coached squad. Notice I started with the word young. Youth means a lack of experience, lack of conditioning, and lack of muscle memory. Stroud, OSU’s QB, greatly improved from last week. He started the day with high throws but settled down in the 2nd quarter and started throwing strikes. Towards the end of the game his youth got the better of him as he tried to do too much. Oregon’s defense turned up the heat and it was too much for the young signal caller, throwing an interception and taking several sacks in the waning seconds of the game.

Oregon won the line of scrimmage on Saturday. They won it on the offensive side of the ball. And for the most part, they won it on the defensive side of the ball, though they started to grow tired in the fourth quarter. Oregon showed that at least one PAC 12 team can rush the ball effectively against the Buckeyes finishing with 269 yards on the ground and 236 yards thru the air. Much of this yardage came from clutch plays made by CJ Verdell. Towards the end of the first half there was a 4th and 1 inside the red zone. Many coaches would kick it. Coach Cristobal said go for it and Verdell catches a pass for a touchdown. First possession of the 2nd half is always a critical moment for your football team. You want to be successful. You want to score a touchdown on offense to set the tone. In today’s game its 3rd and 3, 3rd play of the half. This is a crucial moment for the Ducks. CJ Verdell takes the hand off and streaks up the middle and down the field for a 77-yard touchdown! That is how you start the second half. That is how you set the tone. Ohio State was on their heels the rest of the game.

Anthony Brown had a game. He ran for 65 yards on 10 carries, and he connected with 11 different receivers for 236 yards. His veteran experience helped settle the rest of the team down. He had some errant throws, but for the most part he made great decisions and kept his team in the fight. He exhibits the toughness that Cristobal expects.

The Duck defense began to wear down towards the end. They really missed having Kayvon Thibodeaux and Justin Flowe on the field today. Without their two best defenders, the Ducks allowed Stroud to throw for 484 yards. However, they stood tall when it mattered. With 5 minutes and 48 seconds left in the game, Swinson gets a sack making it 3rd and 18 for the Buckeye offense. Verone McKinley III snagged an interception the very next play with only 2:50 on the clock left to go. When the offense punted on a 4th and 1 with 30 seconds left in the game, it was up to the defense to close it out. After CJ Stroud completes a pass to Smith-Njigba for 12 yards, the Ducks bring in tight end DJ Johnson to rush the passer. Johnson sacked Stroud to close out the game. Its team first in Eugene, Oregon and the better team won todays match up.

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