I don’t think anyone was surprised Wyoming lost 48-14 at No. 2 Oregon Saturday at Autzen Stadium in Eugene.
But there were some surprises that came from the game.
Even though Oregon’s offense is loaded with speed and athleticism, I thought the Cowboys would stop the Ducks at times. But they didn’t.
Oregon rolled up 556 total yards and scored touchdowns on seven of 10 drives. On the ones it didn’t score on, it went 78 yards on the first drive of the game and UW made one of its few stops of the day on a fourth-and-2 play from the Cowboys’ 3. The other two were when the backups were in late. ne drive was at the end of the game as Oregon ran out the clock after UW was held inside the Ducks’ 10-yard line.
The Ducks punted only once — with their backups in the third quarter.
Here is senior outside linebacker Mark Nzeocha, who had a game-high 11 tackles, on the Oregon offense.
Oregon junior quarterback Marcus Mariota showed why he is a leading Heisman Trophy candidate. He was 19 of 23 for 221 yards and two touchdowns, and ran 5 times for 71 yards and two TDs. UW coach Craig Bohl said if the voting was today, he would vote Mariota for Heisman, and urged those in the media who have votes to seriously consider Mariota for the award.
Here’s what Bohl said after the game to the media:
Was Oregon’s offense that good, or was UW’s defense that bad. It’s difficult to cover up what the Cowboys allowed, but it really comes down to the Ducks’ offense is that good. UW couldn’t keep up with Oregon, and few teams can in the country. A team that will beat Oregon, or give it fits, has a fast, athletic defense that can keep Mariota from running around and also play tight man-coverage in the secondary. I think the Cowboys will have better days defensively, but this wasn’t one of them.
How UW responds after this game will be interesting, and the topic of my column which can be seen in Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and online at wyosports.net. The Cowboys host Florida Atlantic this coming Saturday in Laramie. While the Owls aren’t Oregon when it comes to offense, they scored 50 points in a win over Tulsa this week.
Despite two interceptions, a lost fumble and another it recovered, UW did some good things on offense. The Cowboys ran the ball better than expected. It had 208 yards — but only 155 net yards after you take away losses on sacks and other negative run plays. UW also may have found a nice weapon in sophomore running back D.J. May in the screen passing game. May had four catches for 101 yards and a 12-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. He showed good speed in the open field. I know teams will game plan for that, but it was a nice wrinkle.
Here are some highlights of UW’s last touchdown in the fourth quarter, including May’s catch-and-run for the TD.
Junior Shaun Wick’s 122 yards was impressive, especially since UW played most of the game without its two best right guards. Junior Jake Jones didn’t make the trip after he had appendicitis late in the week, and sophomore Sam Hardy injured an ankle early in the game. Redshirt freshman Charlie Renfree came and and did the best he could. That will be an issue to follow over the next week.
Senior quarterback Colby Kirkegaard certainly made his share of mistakes with two interceptions and two fumbles. But the fumbles were the result of Oregon’s pass rush, yet on many occasions Kirkegaard had enough time to throw, he just couldn’t find anyone open. But I thought Kirkegaard stood in there well, for the most part, and made some good throws. The 18-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Tanner Gentry in the first quarter was nice. A fourth-down pass to senior Dominic Rufran in the second quarter was a bullet along the sideline. Oregon senior safety Erick Dargan had both interceptions. Kirkegaard said the first interception was his fault — a bad read and throw — the second was a good play by Dargan. But overall, I think Kirkgaard did some good things and should continue to improve.
Here is more from Kirkegaard after the game.
Sorry the live chat from the game was abruptly ended in the first half. The chat was hacked, or joined by some people who used handles of regulars on the chat who posted some inappropriate content, so I ended it and just went with live Tweets. Hopefully that won’t happen again.
For more on the game, see Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.