Blown Coverage And a Lights Out Game By Jake Haener Gives UCLA A Learning Experience

Pasadena, CA – And the Bruins had to lose on blown coverage.

UCLA mustered a back and forth comeback of the ages. Fresno State gave up a nine point lead on two fumbles that led to back-to-back UCLA touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs answer back with Washington transfer Jake Haener using up five minutes of the clock that ended up with a 20 yard touchdown connection to Erik Brooks. UCLA had to rely on Dorian Thompson Robison and covering 75 yards in under two minutes, his favorite target and Kyle Phillips was open on the left side of the field swinging the lead right back to the Bruins. That left 54 seconds for Fresno State. That left 54 seconds for Haener, who already was over 350 yards passing and seemingly couldn’t miss anyone, needing to cover 75 yards to pull off a miraculous comeback.

Haener found three different receivers and let his men run down the sidelines controlling the clock. It only took 30 seconds for the Bulldogs to reach the Bruins 23 yard line. After an incompletion, Haener rolls over to the right and saw Bruins corner Mo Olsing III collapse in man coverage. That left Jalen Cropper wide open five yards from the goal line. With the connection, Cropper turns around and found five yards of wide open space, sending the Fresno State faithful to a frenzy.

If anyone were to look at this game as a potential upset, it was far from it. Fresno State came into the Rose Bowl with a 2018 feeling finishing that year 11-2. Haener is entering his second year and in each game he has learned so much to play as a veteran quarterback. In his first three games, Haener has managed eight total touchdowns and led the NCAA in passing yards, being also the only man under center to throw over 1000 yards entering Saturday. Fresno State’s two wins were nothing short of being dominant, shutting out Connecticut and putting away FCS Cal Poly away very early. In their loss to Oregon, Fresno state held a fourth quarter lead before giving up 10 unanswered points and walking away from Auzten Stadium empty handed. Saturday night they had that chance at redemption against another Pac-12 school, and in every way possible Haener and company had to make that happen.

While this is a hard game for the Bruins to swallow, it is very hard to see this as a letdown. The question will now lie on what they have learned getting ready for Pac-12 play next week against Stanford. Playing against a man like Haener who has proven his worth trying to earn solid paychecks next year could be the best thing to happen for UCLA. Currently the Bruins only have two opponents who are ranked in the top 25 the rest of the season, with Arizona State losing to BYU late Saturday night. These three games are a far different outcome compared to what the Bruins finished with under the first three years under Chip Kelly. If the Bruins can take this game as a learning experience, the Bruins can make the Pac-12 South potentially a one team race.

Washington Dominates Arkansas State, 52-3, in First Win of 2021

Photo by Aaron Nelson / fi360 News

Seattle, WA – The Washington Huskies (1-2) finally found their offensive groove in a 52-3 blowout of the Arkansas State Red Wolves (1-2) on Saturday, September 18, 2021.

Entering the game, the Huskies and second-year head coach Jimmy Lake needed to answer the swirling questions surrounding the program after a disappointing 0-2 start, which had not occurred for Washington since the dismal 0-12 season of 2008. 

Photo by Aaron Nelson / fi360 News

The top concern for the team entering Saturday’s matchup was the offense. The Huskies tallied just 17 total points through the first two weeks with a single touchdown per game. 

Following an initial three-and-out drive to start the game against the Red Wolves, the Huskies finally showed the scoring potential fans had hoped to see. 

Quarterback Dylan Morris opened the scoring onslaught for Washington with a 13-yard touchdown pass to tight end Cade Otton, who entered the game ranked 6th all-time for the Huskies in career receptions by a tight end. 

Morris would later find receivers Jalen McMillan and Terrell Bynum for two additional touchdown strikes of 33 and 42 yards, respectively – giving him three scores on the day to go along with 367 yards through the air on 23-of-39 attempts and a single interception. 

Photo by Aaron Nelson / fi360 News

McMillan finished the game with 175 yards and ten receptions to go along with the touchdown. 

The Huskies struggled to run the ball against both Montana and Michigan but established complete control of the trenches in this one with help from a committee of running backs. 

Richard Newton, the starting throughout the season thus far, led the way with 55 yards on ten attempts and a touchdown. But it was senior Sean McGrew, seeing the field for the first time in 2021, who left the biggest impression for the Huskies rushers, earning two touchdowns and 31 yards on just six carries. Kamari Pleasant and Cameron Davis also added to the Huskies’ 208 total rush yards on the day, gaining 48 and 27 yards on 8 and 7 carries each. 

In all, the Huskies tallied 598 yards of total offense with more than seven yards per play and nearly tripled their scoring output from the first two weeks. 

The stout Washington defense may not have commanded the same level of attention as their offensive counterparts, but they gave the talented Arkansas State offense no room to work all day long. 

After pitching a near three-quarter shutout, broken only by a Blake Grupe field goal with less than three minutes remaining in the third, the Huskies would add two fourth-quarter turnovers to their body of work, including a 72-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown and an interception returned for 34 yards in the final minutes of play.  

Photo by Aaron Nelson / fi360 News

The Arkansas State Red Wolves have given up more than 50 points in back-to-back weeks and will look to rally in their visit to Tulsa (0-3) next week. 

The Huskies, meanwhile, hope to carry their momentum into their Pac-12 season opener next week at home against the California Golden Bears (1-2). 

Second Half Performance Lifts Oregon Over Stony Brook

Photo by Megan Connelly / fi360 News

After what was arguably the biggest win in program history last weekend, the Oregon Ducks returned to Autzen Stadium Saturday where they hosted the Stony Brook Seawolves. Despite a long list of injuries and a slow first half, the 4th ranked Ducks defeated the Seawolves 48-7.

Oregon was able to jump out to a 10-0 lead after Verone McKinley intercepted Stony Brook quarterback Tyquell Fields on the first possession of the game but would only head to halftime with a 17-7 lead. McKinley, who had the game winning interception against Ohio State last week, added another interception in the second quarter.

Photo by Megan Connelly

Oregon quarterback Anthony Brown was 14/18 with 159 yards with both a passing and rushing touchdown but suffered an undisclosed injury late in the first half that would force him to miss the remainder of the game. Brown’s injury opened the door for the highly anticipated debut of true freshman Ty Thompson, in which he led the Ducks to victory after they outscored the Seawolves 31-0 in the second half.

Thompsons first career touchdown came midway through the third quarter where he found freshman tight end Terrance Ferguson on a 1-yard pass. Thompson would later find freshman wide receiver Dont’e Thorton on a 54-yard touchdown, finishing the day 6/9 with 82 yards and two touchdowns.

When asked about the status of Anthony Brown moving forward, Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal stated, “We expect him to be OK and he looks good”. Only three weeks into the regular season, the Ducks have already been plagued with injuries which have forced them to use inexperienced personnel in big moments.

Photo by Megan Connelly / fi360 News

“We played 80 guys tonight,” said Crisobal. “A lot of guys saw significant playing time and a lot saw their first playing time. We weren’t trying to rest guys. We were just banged up.”

4th ranked Oregon will open Pac-12 play next Saturday September 25th where they will host Arizona (7:30 p.m., ESPN).


LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 04: USC Trojans quarterback Kedon Slovis (9) runs out of the pocket during a college football game between San Jose State Spartans against the USC Trojans on September 4, 2021, at United Airlines Field at The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/fi360news)


LOS ANGELES – USC Director of Athletics Mike Bohn today announced that the university is making a change in leadership of the football program and parting ways with head coach Clay Helton. 

HOLLYWOOD, CA – July 27. PAC-12 Media Day on Tuesday July 27th at the W Hotel in Hollywood CA.(Photo by Jevone Moore)

Bohn and Helton addressed the program together during the regularly scheduled team meeting this afternoon. Bohn made it clear that USC’s leadership believes in the highly talented group of student-athletes on the team and is committed to building a program that consistently competes at the highest level. 

The move ends Helton’s tenure as USC’s head football coach, where he led the Trojans to a 46-24 overall record. Helton, who also twice served as interim head coach, guided USC to its only two New Year’s Six bowl games in the past decade. Under his direction, the football program won the 2017 Rose Bowl, the Pac-12 conference title in 2017, three Pac-12 South division titles, and earned a visit to the Cotton Bowl in 2017. He also secured three top-seven recruiting classes. 

“Clay is one of the finest human beings I have met in this industry, and he has been a tremendous role model and mentor to our young men,” Bohn said. “We appreciate his many years of service to our university and wish him nothing but the very best. Consistent with our values as an institution, he deserves the utmost respect from the Trojan Family during this transition.” 

HOLLYWOOD, CA – July 27. Bohn at PAC-12 Media Day on Tuesday July 27th at the W Hotel in Hollywood CA.(Photo by Jevone Moore)

Over the last two off-seasons, the athletics department has added significant resources to help the football program contend for championships. “The added resources carried significantly increased expectations for our team’s performance, and it is already evident that, despite the enhancements, those expectations would not be met without a change in leadership,” Bohn said. 

USC first fielded a football team in 1888, and over the decades the Trojans have won 11 national titles, 34 bowl games and 39 conference championships and produced 169 All-American first teamers, six Heisman Trophy winners and 520 NFL players. 

“Our university and its leadership are committed to winning national championships and restoring USC football to glory,” Bohn said. “I accept the enormous responsibility I have to our current and former players and the entire Trojan Family to live up to our incredible heritage.” 

Associate Head Coach Donte Williams will serve as interim head coach for the remainder of the season. With ten games still remaining in the regular season, Bohn expressed full confidence in Williams’ leadership and excitement about the meaningful opportunities for the team moving forward. 

“This season is just getting started and we have the opportunity to really do something special with this team and this program,” Bohn said. “Donte is an experienced and well-respected coach who is renowned for his ability to develop relationships with student-athletes, and I appreciate his willingness to take on this challenge. We still have control of our own destiny in the Pac-12 Conference, a tremendously talented group of student-athletes, and complete faith in the phenomenal assistant coaches and outstanding support staff in the John McKay Center.” 

Bohn also announced that USC will quickly launch a national search for the next head coach. 

“We will actively and patiently pursue a coach who will deliver on the championship aspirations and expectations we all share for our football program. With our storied history, our talented roster, and the major investments we’ve made in the infrastructure of our football organization, I’m optimistic that we are better positioned right now than we have been at any other time in the past decade to recruit the best and right leader for USC.” 

Bohn asked the USC community to “step up its support of our players, unify as the Trojan Family, and help show every potential coaching candidate and recruit that this is the greatest program in the country. Let’s do what we do best and Fight On!” 

LA Sparks Quiet Storm in Last Home Game at Staples

Photo by Brianne Ingram

Los Angeles, CA – In a complete 180° turn from last Thursday night against the Connecticut Sun, the LA Sparks snapped their six-game losing streak against the Seattle Storm 81–53 on Sunday evening to remain in playoff contention.

“I think today the way we came out, we showed the game respect. We showed our opponent’s respect. Not to say that we haven’t before, but in a way where you compete the whole time no matter what the outcome is,” said Nneka Ogwumike.

The LA Sparks completely dominated the Storm in their final home game of the regular season at Staples Center.

Photo by Brianne Ingram

The Sparks came out aggressive from the jump and led by as many as 30 points.

They shot 48% from the field (30/62 FGs) and 93% (15/16) from the line.

“We shot the ball well tonight. We saw the ball go in early. I think that helped our confidence. But it really did look like a team. Like eight players rowing in the same direction. That helps,” said Head Coach Derek Fisher.

Guards Te’a Cooper and Erica Wheeler were putting the Storm on skates with their lethal crossovers.

Photo by Brianne Ingram

Cooper led all players with 19 points (7/13 FGs), 2 assists, and 2 steals. This is her 11th game that she has scored in double figures this season.

“I think the last few games I wasn’t really feeling like myself. I had next game mentality. I had to shake it off. I got back in the gym. Refocused. And I just came out with a better mindset. Ready to play,” said Cooper.

The Storm tried to make a run in the second quarter, but active hands by the Sparks allowed them to keep their distance to stretch the lead 18 at the half 45-27.  

The LA Sparks held the Storm to a season low in points at 53.

Storm Star Forward Breanna Stewart was missing in action as she was sidelined with a left foot injury.

The Sparks have two games remaining in their regular season.

Photo by Brianne Ingram

“I’m just really happy for our players, and for the fans and the people that came out tonight,” said Coach Fisher. “It’s been a really up and down season. Lots of injuries. We started our home regular season in another building. I’m just really happy for our players to get a chance to finish their home regular season this way. And what that feels like when things do come together for you. We’ll enjoy this one tonight and then we’ll start to prepare ourselves for Atlanta.”

The LA Sparks travel on the road against the Atlanta Dream on Thursday, September 16th at 4pm.

USC falls to Stanford in conference opener

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 11: pre game fireworks at college football game between The Stanford Cardinals against the USC Trojans on September 11, 2021, at United Airlines Field at The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/fi360news)

USC trailed Stanford 21-13 in the third quarter when Drake London had a pass bounce off his hands and fall into the hands of cornerback Kyu Blu Kelly, who returned the interception 31-yards for the score. 

That play sent USC fans to the exits as Stanford went on to a dominating 42-28 win over the Trojans in the conference opener on Saturday night at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. 

LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 11: USC Trojans running back Quincy Jountti (27) and USC Trojans defensive lineman Tuli Tuipulotu (49) make a tackle during a college football game between The Stanford Cardinals against the USC Trojans on September 11, 2021, at United Airlines Field at The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA.(Photo by Jordon Kelly/ fi360 News)

“It’s early in the season,” USC head coach Clay Helton said. “We lost our first conference game. I look forward to seeing the production of our team through an entire season, and looking forward to seeing where we add up at the entirety of a season. Obviously, this is a step back from last week’s performance, but something that I know our kids will react from. And I hope our fans, and I know they will, they’ll support our players.”

Stanford opened the scoring with an 87-yard run from Nathaniel Peat. It was the fifth longest rushing touchdown in Stanford history. USC answered with a 2-yard touchdown run from Keaontay Ingram to tie it 7-7 in the second quarter. 

The Cardinals were getting ready to kick a field goal but USC was lined up in the neutral zone. Stanford went for it on fourth-and-goal and McKee hit Elijah Higgins in the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown. 

After a USC field goal, Stanford went down the field and scored on a McKee 6-yard touchdown pass to Brycen Tremayne. Stanford took a 21-10 lead into halftime. 

LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 11: USC Trojans running back Keaontay Ingram (28) runs the ball for a gain during a college football game between The Stanford Cardinals against the USC Trojans on September 11, 2021, at United Airlines Field at The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA.(Photo by Jordon Kelly/ fi360 News)

“For defense specifically, I think we just have to execute better,” USC defensive back Isaiah Pola-Mao said. “Coach makes any call and honestly we just have to make it happen, regardless if it’s right or wrong. Our defense thrives on turnovers, and we didn’t get any tonight, so I think we just have to step up as players and execute better.”

Stanford put the game out of reach on McKee’s 1-yard touchdown run and Isaiah Sanders 2-yard run in the fourth quarter. USC scored two touchdowns with just under four minutes left in the game but it was too little too late. 

Kedon Slovis was 27 for 42 with 223 yards and London finished with four receptions for 68 yards. USC had 11 different receivers register a catch in the game tonight, with five catching at least three passes.

LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 11: USC Trojans quarterback Kedon Slovis (9) runs the ball for a gain during a college football game between The Stanford Cardinals against the USC Trojans on September 11, 2021, at United Airlines Field at The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA.(Photo by Jordon Kelly/ fi360 News)

“When you look at it across the board, they beat us in every phase,” Helton said. “In each and every phase, you look at the execution they out-executed us. And when you look up, we did not do what we did in the first game. We got beat in penalties. We got beat on third down efficiency, and got beat in the turnovers, we didn’t get turnovers.”

USC will look to bounce back when they hit the road against Washington State on Saturday, Sept. 18. 

Sparks Torched by Sun, Still in Playoff Hunt

Photo by Brianne Ingram

Los Angeles, CA – A 17-0 start by the Connecticut Sun (23-6) ignited their dominance over the LA Sparks (10-19) to win 75-57 in Los Angeles on Thursday night.

The Sparks came out hesitant and were simply outmatched from the opening tip.

“When you’re playing against a good defensive team that’s already difficult to score on, to be down 17 early, like it just makes the game so much harder. Like you need everything to go right from that standpoint. And it’s just not how the game of basketball goes,” said Head Coach Derek Fisher.

The Sun, however, are the top-seeded team in the league and looked every bit deserving of their ranking.

Photo by Brianne Ingram

The Sparks are in the midst of a six-game losing streak, and the Sun are on a roll with an 11-game winning streak.

The Sun bullied their way in the paint during the opening period. They scored 14 of their 19 first quarter points (7/11 FGs) around the rim and led 19-8 at the end of the period.  

MVP candidate Jonquel Jones was straight cooking all night.

Jones stuffed the stat sheet with 21 points, 14 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists, and 2 blocks.

Towards the end, the LA Sparks seemed to run out of gas in the fourth quarter. They shot 5/15 from the field on 33% shooting in the final period.  

Photo by Brianne Ingram

“Sometimes we just mentally get in our way. Sometimes when you try too hard, it just doesn’t work right,” said Fisher. “We just have to take full ownership and accountability for what’s happening and do things to change it. And it doesn’t all happen in one night. It won’t all of a sudden be the best team in the league come Sunday, but we gotta figure out a way to be better than we were tonight in order to have a chance to win.”

The Sun held the Sparks to 23/55 FGs on 41.8% shooting, and 2/10 3PTs on 20% shooting from 3-point range.

Nneka Ogwumike put up 12 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.

“Fish [Coach Fisher] is right. You have to have that mindset of preparedness and focus and we just have to tap into that as a collective. Especially when things don’t go well for us. It’s all about composure. We’re playing great teams. They’re going to challenge us and how we respond is really what’s telling of us,” said Ogwumike.  

Despite the loss, the Sparks are still in the playoff hunt as they are vying for the last 8th spot.

They currently sit at No. 10 in the standings and are one game back from clinching the 8th seed.

Photo by Brianne Ingram

This week, both Nneka Ogwumike and LA Sparks Assistant Coach Seimone Augustus were both named on the WNBA’s Top 25 All-time Players List.

The LA Sparks play the Seattle Storm in their last home game of the season on Sunday, September 12th at 6 pm at the Staples Center.

Montana Upsets #20 Washington on the Road, 13-7

The Montana Grizzlies upset the Washington Huskies 13-7 at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium in Seattle, WA., on Saturday, September 4th, 2021. (Aaron Nelson / fi360 News)

Seattle, WA – The Washington Huskies entered the 2021 season with high hopes and unfinished business.

With a core group of returning starters on both sides of the ball and plenty of optimism surrounding second-year head coach Jimmy Lake, Washington fans hoped to see the squad display the same momentum generated in their 3-1 Pac-12 North Title run in 2020 during this year’s opener at home.

The Montana Grizzlies upset the Washington Huskies 13-7 at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium in Seattle, WA., on Saturday, September 4th, 2021. (Aaron Nelson / fi360 News)

Enter the Montana Grizzlies.

A perennial FCS powerhouse, the Grizzlies still came into this one as significant underdogs. Their lone victory over Washington came back in 1920, and few believed they could tally their second against the defensively loaded Huskies of 2021.

Both teams displayed stout defense throughout the night, holding each other under 300 total yards and allowing a single touchdown apiece.

In such a tight contest, mistakes were critical.

The Montana Grizzlies upset the Washington Huskies 13-7 at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium in Seattle, WA., on Saturday, September 4th, 2021. (Aaron Nelson / fi360 News)

A missed field goal in the second quarter by the Huskies certainly would have given them more to work with later on, but turnovers would ultimately seal Washington’s fate.

Huskies quarterback Dylan Morris gave his team a 7-0 lead with a first-quarter rushing touchdown before giving away three interceptions on the night, including the final dagger to Montana’s Marcus Welnel with 31 seconds to play.

Minus the turnovers, both quarterbacks performed fairly well. Morris ended with 226 yards on 27-of-46 attempts, while Montana’s Cam Humphrey earned 105 yards through the air on 12-of-23 attempts.

The Montana Grizzlies upset the Washington Huskies 13-7 at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium in Seattle, WA., on Saturday, September 4th, 2021. (Aaron Nelson / fi360 News)

The Grizzlies’ rushing attack was split between Xavier Harris and Isiah Childs, earning 73 and 41 yards on the ground, respectively. For Washington, it was Richard Newton leading the attack with 69 yards on 17 carries.

Humphrey gave the Grizzlies their lone touchdown with a 4-yard diving scramble early in the fourth quarter to go along with a first-half field goal and the go-ahead kick from Kevin Macias with a minute and a half remaining.

With the win, the Grizzlies became just the 5th FCS team to defeat a ranked FBS opponent and the first to do so since 2016. They will look to carry the well-earned momentum into week two against Western Illinois back in Missoula.

The Montana Grizzlies upset the Washington Huskies 13-7 at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium in Seattle, WA., on Saturday, September 4th, 2021. (Aaron Nelson / fi360 News)

The Huskies, on the other hand, will need to regroup quickly. They travel to the Big House next week to take on Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines.

The Hype Has Officially Begun With UCLA Football

Pasadena, CA – All the buzz about college football rivalries were kind of was taken away in the Los Angeles area as USC has practically maintained strong records the last few seasons. Over time, Chip Kelly’s UCLA football team has been fairly short of being able to compete in meaningful games. Last season had sense of change in the air. Even at a 3-4 record, all of their losses were by six points or less. Beating Hawaii to a pulp last week was what UCLA wanted to send some shockwaves. With LSU in town Saturday night, did people notice?

Two years ago, Oklahoma came to town. The game wasn’t even close. Jaylen Hurts took over the field with his arms. Jaylen Hurts practically ran all over the Bruins secondary. In all he had 439 scrimmage yards. Over 52,000 were there to witness really a 60 minute Sooner show. Fans then eventually lost interest.

Fast forward now two years later, and now a rather strong SEC team and LSU travels to the Rose Bowl. The hype leading up to the game is far different. After the Bruins win last week, many have them believing this team is now for real. Nearly every UCLA player is on scholarship. A handful of returners made a tremendous impact against Hawaii. Newcomer from Michigan Zach Charbonnet has blown up UCLA tweets about him being an early vote for the Hesiman. While Vegas odds did have LSU favored by just under 3 points, only 62 percent of bettors swung in favor of the Tigers.

68,123 showed up to the Rose Bowl Saturday night. Most expected that LSU would take over the stands. About 15 minutes to kickoff, it looked as if the bowl was going to be split between purple and blue. The stands suddenly dominated in all blue. Every Bruin player immediately had a feeling something special was brewing.

Just once did LSU have a lead and it came early. After, UCLA relied on their defense to pick up their offense. Immediately after an LSU score, Dorian Thompson Robinson targeted Greg Dulcich for a 75 yard touchdown pass untouched. From there, the Bruins found ways to never let up.

Zach Charbonnet and Brittain Brown tag teamed for 28 carries and combined for just over 200 yards Thompson Robinson only threw 16 passes but managed three touchdowns on nine completions. As a team they outgained LSU 470 to 378. It was though the defense that credited the Bruins taking away prime chances for LSU to come back. UCLA took away the running game, only allowing 48 total rushing yards. Max Johnson did manage to throw for 330 yards and three touchdowns, but the difference in yards per completion forced LSU’s offense to slow down quite a bit.

Stat wise the Bruins did dominate, but it wasn’t tremendous. The fourth quarter became key utilizing the run game. With UCLA leading by just four, the Bruins kept the ball on the ground. In their final two scoring drives, UCLA managed over 110 rushing yards, but it was two key pass plays that set up the Bruins to push this game out of reach. Completions to Dulcich and Kyle Phillips, the latter being a 45 yard touchdown pass, were the only two that Thompson Robinson needed setting up the Bruins at a 2-0 record.

Chip Kelly had never been 2-0 with UCLA. The Bruins were last 2-0 in 2017, starting the season with a nail biting win against Texas A&M. They eventually fell to 6-6 falling apart in the Pac-12. This is a far different feeling though. Another true test comes to town in two weeks with Fresno State. 3-0 is the next aim, but the Bruins are slowly starting to prove they will be no joke when conference play starts.

Oregon Avoids Massive Week 1 Upset

Photo by Megan Connelly / fi360 News

EUGENE, OR – For the first time in 644 long days, football fans were able to return to Autzen Stadium Saturday morning where they watched the 11th ranked Oregon Ducks escape an upset against Fresno State.

Sixth-year quarterback Anthony Brown and the Oregon offense struggled most of the day, but the run game finally came alive in the fourth quarter as running back CJ Verdell totaled 84 yards on the ground and Anthony Brown ran in the game winning 30-yard touchdown on a read option taking the final lead of the game at 31-24.

Photo by Megan Connelly / fi360 News

Brown, who finished the night with 172 passing yards and 2 total touchdowns simply explained their offense “wasn’t clean enough.” He went on to say “In order for us to go where we need to go, we have to be firing on all cylinders, which we weren’t today. And that was obvious.”

While Oregon sputtered offensively, their defense stepped up when they needed to. The Ducks jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter scoring on back-to-back possessions after both Kayvon Thibodeaux and Noah Sewell forced fumbles.

Photo by Megan Connelly / fi360 News

The Ducks were also put in position to tie the game at 21 in the fourth quarter with a 25-yard field goal by Camden Lewis after Justin Flowe forced Haener to fumble once again. In his highly anticipated debut Flowe recorded 14 tackles, 5 of which were solo. Despite his impressive performance, after the game Flowe said “I feel ike I can do way more.”

Photo by Megan Connelly / fi360 News

Across the board Oregon will have their work cut out for them next week as they travel to Columbus, Ohio to face the Buckeyes who are currently ranked 4th in the nation. Perhaps the biggest question mark of that contest will be the availability of Kayvon Thibodeaux who left the game due to a left ankle injury, although head coach Mario Cristobal stated that he is “Very optimistic that it’s nothing serious.”

Photo by Megan Connelly / fi360 News

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