Ducks pleased with themselves
EUGENE — A victory not in jeopardy, Oregon tried to play to its standard Saturday against Portland State, and came away feeling good about itself after another win against an outmanned opponent.
"It was great to play a lot of players," coach Mario Cristobal said after the Ducks' 62-14 win before only 47,210 fans at Autzen Stadium. "We started fast. I liked our juice, energy and enthusiasm.
"We had lots of twos and threes play and close out the game," which should be happening in nonleague routs. Last week, in a 58-24 win against Bowling Green, that wasn't the case.
The Ducks (2-0) punted only three times against PSU, committed no turnovers, scored nine touchdowns, put up 566 yards of offense, went 7 for 11 on third-down conversions (and 1 for 1 on fourth down) and held the Vikings to 66 yards rushing on 40 carries and 8-of 16 passing while registering four sacks.
Justin Herbert's touchdown pass count has reached nine, as he went 20 of 26 for 250 yards and four TDs, all in the first half.
Tony Brooks-James (21 carries, 107 yards, two TDs), CJ Verdell (11 carries, 106 yards, TD) and Travis Dye (49-yard TD run) led the ground attack. Cyrus Habibi-Likio also had a rushing touchdown, and four different players caught TD passes: tight end Kano Dillon and receivers Jaylon Redd, Tabari Hines and Johnny Johnson III.
There were few negatives. Portland State tight end Charlie Taumoepeau got behind the defense twice for long gains — a 71-yard TD strike from QB Jalani Eason and a 47-yard reception from receiver Beau Kelly on a trick play — and added a 4-yard TD catch. The Ducks had five penalties. Zach Emerson went 8 for 8 on extra-point kicks until missing the final PAT attempt.
"We really did a good job knocking back the line of scrimmage, which will be at the forefront of what we do," Cristobal said.
He said that as the Ducks went about putting away the Vikings (0-2) they focused on attacking man coverage in the secondary and then running power football. It worked well. The Ducks looked good against a FCS Big Sky team that has lost 15 consecutive games.
And, other than Taumoepeau, the Vikings couldn't challenge the Ducks' defense.
"We had a personnel advantage," Cristobal said.
"I feel like we know who we are. We haven't been tested. With full respect for both teams we've played, we had a personnel advantage, but we need to test ourselves every day in practice."
Added Brooks-James: "Games are always going to be intense, because it's an opponent going live at you. But our best opponent is our defense."
The Ducks will play host another team they're expected to blow out at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15. It's San Jose State.
The Oregon defense gave up 10 early points to Bowling Green. The Ducks led 21-0 on Saturday before Taumoepeau's long TD, and 35-7 at halftime.
"The defense came out and attacked very well," linebacker Justin Hollins said. "We came out fast and played hard, and settled for nothing but our best."
Some offensive highlights:
• Dye's 49-yard TD run on an outside zone play. "I give all credit to the blocking. The hole was ridiculous," said Dye, a true freshman and brother of star linebacker Troy Dye.
• The 20-yard TD reception by Dillon, a South Florida transfer, "was hard not to notice," Cristobal said. "He carried about six guys into the end zone." Said Dillon: "I didn't think about it, but it feels good."
• Wake Forest transfer Hines also had a TD reception. "It was great scoring my first touchdown in this stadium," he said, before adding of Herbert, "He's an elite quarterback. Nice playing with a guy of that caliber."
Overall, "I thought we did some good things," Herbert said. "There are things we need to clean up. Communication was a big thing we worked on."
Brooks-James said "it's good to carry the load, but it's good to get guys the ball."
Receiver Brendan Schooler said the Ducks are working to gain respect and notice from teams around the Pac-12 and country, and "we didn't let Portland State dictate how we were going to play."
PORTLAND STATE 0 7 0 7 — 14
OREGON 14 21 14 13 — 62
OREGON — Jaylon Redd 18 pass from Justin Herbert (Zach Emerson kick), 8:33
OREGON — Tabari Hines 9 pass from Herbert (Emerson kick), 3:37
OREGON — Kano Dillon 20 pass from Herbert (Emerson kick), 9:22
PSU — Charlie Taumoepeau 71 pass from Jalani Eason (Cody Williams kick), 7:44
OREGON — Cyrus Habibi-Likio 1 run (Emerson kick), 5:54
OREGON — Johnny Johnson III 11 pass from Herbert (Emerson kick), 0:27
OREGON — Tony Brooks-James 1 run (Emerson kick), 11:47
OREGON — Travis Dye 49 run (Emerson kick), 6:24
PSU — Taumoepeau 4 pass from Eason (Williams kick), 12:02
OREGON — Brooks-James 1 run (Emerson kick), 5:16
OREGON — CJ Verdell 2 run (kick failed), 1:38
Att. — 47,210