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.
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.
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.”
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.”