PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Although Oregon eventually beat the Washington State Cougars 43-29, there were still some rough moments on the field for the Ducks.
Here are six takeaways from the Ducks’ first road game:
Road games are always a tough game to play. That being said, the Ducks did not come out ready to play in the first half. It seemed like the offense and defense lacked that fire and excitement at the beginning of the game. Even though the Ducks are as talented as they come roster-wise, they cannot afford slow starts because games will only get tougher as the season goes on.
In the game against the Cougars, the Ducks found themselves in a two-score hole after turning the ball over three different times in the first half. After a few miscues, fumbles and an interception, the Ducks finally found their groove in the second half. That being said, going forward, they cannot rely on their talent to get them out of holes like we saw against the Cougars. They have to take care of the football.
CJ Verdell’s big game
The Ducks star running back showed once again why he is considered one of the best in the country. Verdell finished the game with 18 carries for 116 yards and one touchdown. Verdell provided the Ducks with toughness, vision and physicality which eventually wore down the Cougars defense.
Tyler Shough’s second half adjustment
In his second start of his career, quarterback Tyler Shough started off a little slow, with a handful of mistakes that were crucial in the first half. When the second half came around, Shough looked like he was comfortable and confident and led the Ducks to a huge second half performance. In the second half alone, the Ducks were able to rally off 29 of their 43 points scored with big help from Shough and his second half.
Defense was lockdown in the second half
The first half for the Ducks defense was a rather disappointing one. They had a tough time not only stopping the Cougars offense in the first half, but also tackling the ball carrier. Time and time again the Ducks defenders would wrap up the ball carrier and it would have been a minimal gain for the offense. But, The Ducks just couldn’t finish the job in the first half, broken tackle after broken tackle allowed the Cougars to pick up huge gains as well as stay in the football game.
Great play calling
There was nothing vanilla about the Ducks play calling against the Cougars. Misdirection, counters, tosses, deep passes: everything about the play calling for the Ducks in this matchup was elite. This led to the Cougars defense on its heels and unable to predict the Ducks play calling.