EUGENE, OR –No. 13 Oregon narrowly defeated Cal 17-7in their first Pac-12 home game of the season.
After losing starting quarterback Chase Garbers to an upper body injury and getting knocked out of the top 25 by Arizona State last week, Cal headed to Eugene 21.5-point underdogs behind backup quarterback Devon Modster.
Oregon on the other hand was returning three crucial pieces of their offense in wide receivers Mycah Pittman, Brenden Schooler and Juwan Johnson. When asked what it meant to get more weapons on the field, quarterback Justin Herbert answered,“Those guys made some big plays, and looking forward we’re going to need them a lot.”
The added depth at wide receiver may bring life to the struggling Oregon offense down the line, but it wasn’t the immediate relief Duck fans were waiting on for Arroyo’s offense. In the first quarter alone, the Ducks turned the ball over twice deep in Cal territory, and were held scoreless in the first half for the first time at home since 2004. The Ducks would eventually find their first points in the third quarter, when Camden Lewis knocked in a 28-yard field goal.
Head coach Mario Cristobal said “We gotta get out of our own way sometimes… There really is no excuse, we gotta do a better job.”
Luckily for Oregon, Andy Avalos’s defense kept them in the game again, but what appeared to be a significant injury to senior defensive end Gus Cumberlander will definitely create a void.
The injury to Cumberlander potentially paves the way for freshman five-star recruit Kayvon Thibodeaux to step up and lead the Oregon defense moving forward. Thibodeaux recorded two impressive sacks, and a forced fumble Saturday night where he finally showcased his elite athleticism and potential.
Starting running back CJ Verdell also exited Saturday’s game with an ankle injury, but Cristobal brushed off major concerns after x-rays came back negative.
Oregon will have a slightly shorter week of preparation this week while they get ready to host Colorado Friday, October 11th, in Eugene.