Week 3 Recap: Oregon vs Nebraska

FINAL: Oregon 32, Nebraska 35

LINK TO BOX SCORE

OFFENSE:

@GoDucksTroll – Grade: B
It’s usually difficult to find fault with an offense that rushed for 336 yards on 7.1 yards per carry while missing it’s star player. Not in this case, as Ducks not named Chuck Nelson had 66 yards receiving and saw their NCAA record of 83 consecutive games with a touch down pass end in front of 90,000 at Memorial Stadium. Dakota Prukop kept the offense moving with his feet, but he didn’t give Darren Carrington and that WR group a chance to make a play. The final series, where Prukop under threw the go ahead touchdown and then the pocket proceeded to collapse, was painful to watch.  Offensive player of the game: Kani Benoit, 6 carries, 100 yards and a touchdown.

@AlexHorwitch – Grade: C
Overall, the offense wasn’t TERRIBLE, but it wasn’t great either. I blame some of this on the play calling, but also some on Prukop’s decision making. The RB squad after Royce’s injury really stepped up and impressed me. I’m not sure where Brown went, but if anyone can find him and bring him to Autzen this weekend, that would be great. Again, Prukop’s decision making wasn’t the greatest, and left a lot to be desired from the WRs. The 4th and long to end the game playing out into a Prukop keeper still is hurting my brain a bit.

@JonathanAdams – Grade: B-
Running game was great, even if it seemed like the coaches needed a drive or two to convince themselves they could still be successful without Royce. Passing game was a bag of meh. Does it seem like Prukop is afraid of making a mistake? Maybe he just needs a bit of that Vernon Adams “F it, I throwing it anyway” attitude.

@DMDoubleG – Grade: B-
The Ducks suffered what would be, for many teams, catastrophic injuries. We lost the best RB in the country in Royce Freeman, the most gifted athlete in NCAA football in Devon Allen, and arguably the best pro-prospect on the Ducks, OT Tyrell Crosby. Luckily, the Ducks may have the deepest WR and RB corps in the country, so neither of those injuries ended up being devastating for this game. Crosby could be rough. He was supposed to be an anchor for an otherwise frighteningly young O Line. Now I’m not sure we’ll ever see him suit up for the Ducks again (Allen too, for that matter). Execution was great at times, not so great at others. Given Prukop’s struggles in the long game, I’d have liked to see Pharaoh and the TEs get involved more in the short game (usually when they aren’t as visible, it’s because they were very active in the blocking game. Guessing that’s the case here). Given everything that happened, the fact that this was a winnable game throughout encouraged me to give a high grade.

@WildKingdumb – Grade: B-
Stats are one thing, but I didn’t like what I saw from the offense.  Again, I am no expert but man their seemed to be no offensive flow.  Prukop seemed all to willing to tuck the ball and run, and I think we were all spoiled by Mariota/VA’s ability to scramble to extend pass plays and not just to run.  I think the backup RBs had a heck of a game and bless our WR for running routs in which the ball was never coming out.  A lack of downfield plays, or really looks, and penalties made this a day to forget in Lincoln, Nebraska.

@BigShaun – Grade: C
First off, Royce and Crosby getting hurt certainly had to change the game plan. But, it shouldn’t have made the pass offense all but disappear. The O line continues to be young and that shows by the lack of runs between the tackles. Only being able to successfully run to the edges is not going to be good enough long term.  I’m not sold on Prukop as a number one guy. My gut says the other options have to be Lockie-esque if he is in that number one spot. He’s definitely not going to sit back and pick you apart. And that would probably be fine if Royce didn’t get hurt. Rolls Royce stays healthy and all we need from Two Yards One Prukop is to manage the game. Royce getting hurt increased DP’s burden and, well, he’s no MariGOATa.  That brings up something else Duck fans, the GOAT is not walking in that door. We have to stop expecting him to.


@colewagoner – Grade: C-
Sure, on paper, 32 points doesn’t seem worthy of a  C-, but this is Oregon. Obviously Royce and Crosby being out the majority of the game did not help, but the offense needs to get in a rhythm to help the defense…


@SwooshMcDuck – Grade: B
Considering the loss of Royce Freeman early in the 1st quarter, the offense still managed over 300 yds on the ground. Prukop isn’t afraid to run, and that sometimes isn’t a good thing. Felt like for many plays, instead of going through his progressions, he decided to tuck and run too early.

@jaromney – Grade: C
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Oregon played 90% of the game without two All Americans in Royce and Crosby. That said, yuck. The speed advantage was obvious, and yet, here we are.

Dakota Prukop is frustrating. He looks like Chuck Knoblauch trying to toss it to first base on any throw over 10 yards. I now understand why Nick Sabah wanted him, as Saban wins with average quarterbacks every year. Now, now, now… Dakota is fine. He’s okay. He’s vanilla ice cream on a 100 degree day. Prukop is that safety school you applied to in high school. Shit, now it makes sense why Dakota Prukop ended up at Oregon. Gosh dangit, now I’m sad.

Karl Kani owns and Darren Carrington is being wasted with Alexota Smithcup at QB.

Oh yeah, RIP Tyrell Crosby.

@MrBenzduck – Grade: B
Ducks put up 336 yards rushing against Nebraska *in* Lincoln. 7.1 ypc. Basically without Royce. I wouldn’t have thought that was possible. With anything resembling a decent passing attack, that’s a winning number most of the time. Prukop was disappointing. He showed some flashes and I like his ability to run, but his footwork is a problem at this level and he looks a bit panicky, reminds me of early 2009 Masoli. The OL needs to grow up fast and give him more time, and Yost needs to work some magic with him.


@Uoduckgirl – Grade: F
Not for the offense itself but b/c we lost Devon & Crosby and Royce got hurt. These injuries are devastating not only to the team but to these athletes. A for offensive effort but F for injuries. I like Duckota but haven’t seen that grit or leadership yet that past QBs have had. And I don’t just mean the GOAT. VA had that spark so did DT.

DEFENSE:
@GoDucksTroll  – Grade: C
When the game was 20-7 approaching halftime I was getting ready to see this defense hold someone under 21 points. It’s been a long time since they’ve been able to hold a team under three TDs, the number of days since a loss to Washington was at a mere 4,077 days the last time they managed to do it against Florida State. Great start, but in the second half Nebraska brought out it’s running game and rolled up 228 yards on the ground. The pass defense is much better than last year, but flags negated an otherwise fine performance.

@AlexHorwitch – Grade: C
Zero discipline. 3rd and long gave up big yardage almost every time.

@JonathanAdams – Grade: C-
The 2nd half was a mess, even if at times it seemed like the Ducks were battling Huskers and Zebras. The PI calls seemed lousy from 80 rows up in the stadium and I refuse to watch a replay of this game, so if I’m wrong don’t tell me. At least (unlike most of last year) there weren’t multiple instances of an offensive player running by himself with no Duck within 10 yards. I think the defense can get to a good place eventually, they just needed one more stop.

@DMDoubleG – Grade: C+Let’s face it: this was just the third game in a brand new system, with a brand new coach, against a respectable Power 5 team with an experienced and talented QB. That’s a recipe for disaster. The fact that we were in it at all is astounding, given how poorly the Ducks played in the first two games.

@WildKingdumb – Grade: C+
A lack of discipline –by overzealous players or scheme is something I don’t know– but the growing pains of moving from a 3/4 to a 4/3 are on full display.  Don’t read this wrong, OREGON HAS TALENT ON THE DEFENSIVE SIDE OF THE BALL.  I just saw tons of 3 WR sets, where Oregon went to a Nickel package and NEB ran on the two LB play after play.  Oregon’s DTs could be more stout but I can’t lay it all on them.  Good things will come, but its going to take some time.

@BigShaun – Grade: B-
Overall, I like what I’m seeing from them. We’re seeing a fire, energy, and aggressiveness that has been missing since Alliotti went off to the glue factory. Wait, the Pac12 network isn’t a glue factory? Huh.  I digress.  At the moment, I am feeling Hokemania. WHATCHU GONNA DO, BROTHER?

@colewagoner – Grade: B+
Sure, on paper, giving up 35 points doesn’t seem worthy of a lofty B+, but this is Oregon. Grading this on a curve of sorts. Compared to the UVA game, the run game seemed shored up. Only allowing 5 of 13 3rd down conversions was a big step in the right direction. I feel like Hoke is the right guy, and am certain Pellum wasn’t.

@SwooshMcDuck – Grade: C+
The middle continues to be soft. Marshmellowy, one might say. For every play they stuffed the run, there were 3 more plays where wide open gaps lead to easy 1st downs for Nebraska. Armstrong was dealing with cramps almost all of the 2nd half and yet manages a 35 yard TD run untouched with 2:30 left. That just shouldn’t be happening. The missed tackles on that play alone are maddening. The increasing amount of penalties/yds each week is becoming a glaring issue for this unit. Some of it can be poor officiating, but you don’t average triple digit penalty yards unless you’re playing undisciplined. This is something that needs to be addressed immediately. Giving up free yardage after free yardage killed the Ducks in this game, extending drives for Nebraska.

@jaromney – Grade: B
Listen, the talent and scheme fit just isn’t there. Brady Hoke is coming to a gun fight with a pot of boiled Kraft macaroni noodles. It’s what it is. But, they play hard and (I NOW IT’S WEIRD) bring pressure at times! The curious case of Troy Dye playing time yesterday, was well, curious. Arrion Springs is actually good, and Ugo’s name was never really called, so neat? The safeties are abject Basura. Basura is Spanish for “Reggie Daniels.”

@MrBenzduck – Grade: C
They were a solid B+ for most of the 1st half, then they obviously went in at halftime and read texts from their fat little girlfriends about how wonderful they were, and played more as expected in the 2nd half. Experienced QBs in the Pac will take advantage of the inexperience up front and our “linebackers”. Good news: “3rd and Pellum” results were more positive than expected.

@Uoduckgirl – Grade: A-
I was mightily impressed with the D this week. I think much improved and only going to get better. Plus its so nice not to see #firepellum anymore. That hash tag was so 2014.

SPECIAL TEAMS:

@GoDucksTroll – Grade: F
The story of the game was Oregon’s insistence on going for two point conversions. I’ve been a supporter of this strategy, it was innovative and we’re all about innovation here! It backfired this time, it will be interesting to see what Mark Helfrich and company do going forward. The long punt return before the end of the half was a real game changer. Is it too much to ask for a punter that can punt the ball more than 37 yards? Ian Wheeler averaged 36.8 yards per punt, while Nebraska’s punter averaged 47.2 yards per punt.  Special teams player of the game: Matt Wogan. How about those kick-offs? Wogan has quite the leg on him. Maybe he can learn how to punt before next week.

@AlexHorwitch – Grade: Did Not Qualify
Hard to judge since we went for 2 every time. -___-  ….Punts and returns looked good. Kickoffs we’re fine.

@JonathanAdams – Grade: C-
Kickoffs were great, punt returns weirdly non-existent, and the punt coverage at the end of the first half was abysmal. If you’re gonna interfere with the returner, knock him down for god’s sake.

@DMDoubleG – Grade: D+
“Tradition Never Changes — Champions Do” There’s a billboard displaying that message inside the Moshofsky Center. I actually said during the UC Davis game that I wished we went for 2 every time — why not? I guess Saturday against Nebraska showed us why not. Even so, I still like the idea. Better to lose that game and work out some kinks than lose a conference game. That said, we didn’t win the game, and part of that comes down to not executing on ST. Our punting needs some serious work. The lone bright spot goes by the name of Matt Wogan. Wogan, much hyped, struggled early in his career, but has since developed a cannon on kick-offs. Consistent touchbacks are a blessing the Ducks haven’t had in years (I’ll save praising Aiden Schneider for a day he actually sees some action).

@WildKingdumb – Grade: C-
Kickoffs were excellent, Punting was good, the return game wasn’t given a lot, and the two-point conversions were “fine” with me.  I say this because i embrace the philosophy: they give you a look and you go for blood.  They just didn’t execute the play, so if you want to argue results then fine, but I think the philosophy IS Oregon Football at its core.

@BigShaun – Grade: D- (That’s failing in college)
Oh what in the hell was that?! (This is not directed at any players at all). There is a time-tested rule in coaching. I goes something like: TAKE THE POINTS YOU IMBECILE. This definitely applies here. Failed conversions weren’t the sole reason we lost, but like a bunch of other things that happened, it definitely didn’t help. Not even a little bit. The punt interference was dumb, too.

@colewagoner – Grade: Null
Do two point conversions count as special teams? No comment.

@SwooshMcDuck – Grade: C
1/5 on 2-pt conversions. Nuff said.

@jaromney – Grade: F
Not special. Some MIT nerds decided going for two every play was cool, so here we are.  It’s not actually cool.

@MrBenzduck – Grade: Zero point zero
Where to start? At this point whining about the 2pt decisions is just piling on. But the game turned on a special teams play — that punt at the end of the 2nd, where God knows why we punted a line drive to only the best punt returner in the B12, turning 20-7 into 20-13 with all the momentum going their way (and them getting the 2nd half kickoff). I felt as good leading this game at halftime as I did in Autzen in 2002, vs UW, up 14-13. Which is to say, not good.

@Uoduckgirl – Grade: Incomplete
Do I have enough material to even grade this? We didn’t really get to see Aidan do his thing. Charles had some decent returns but i’m thinking Incomplete here for a grade.

COACHING:

@GoDucksTroll – Grade: C
I like the play calling and our rushing attack is lethal. The lack of discipline was troubling, 13 penalties for 126 yards is just plain embarrassing. Cameron Hunt continues on his quest to set the team career record for personal fouls.

@AlexHorwitch – Grade: D-
Questionable play calls, questionable choices, still had a chance to win so it wasn’t a complete failure. Zero discipline across both sides of the ball, resulting in 13 penalties for 126 yards (vs NEB 7 for 55)

@JonathanAdams – Grade: F
All of the 2-point attempts are defensible except for the one after going up 20-7 (and obviously missing there leads to the attempts at 26 and 32). You have to kick it at 20-7, and it was ridiculously stupid not to. Then again, never letting your kicker actually kick is a great strategy for eliminating kicker-induced heartache.

@DMDoubleG – Grade: C+
I’m not going to question play calling, because I’m not qualified enough for that. I will question discipline, however. Our execution on both sides is sub-par, and our discipline is worse than I’ve ever seen. For once, we couldn’t blame this on “Pac 12 Refs.” We blew this one, plain and simple. 13 penalties is so many kinds of unacceptable. To the credit of Coach Helfrich, he made it clear in his comments in the days following the game that he agreed, and intended to make it abundantly clear to the team.

@WildKingdumb – Grade: D
I know there is limited practice time, I think there is possibly being too much asked right now.  Players don’t seem to be in the best position to succeed.  (This coming from someone who studied painting and drawing)  Sorry Mom.

@BigShaun – Grade: D (That’s failing in college)

LOUD NOISES DODNRJSLSBSJDBDBDNDBDHDHDJJDVEBDHDJSJSNDBSBDNSJDHDYDHEBEJDHEBSUDBEBDJENSBDJDBEBDNSKSUDH

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I feel better.  I’ve already discussed the failed conversions, but they mostly reside in this section. So here they are. Bunch of stupids.

Next up is the penalties. It’s overall very symptomatic of a lack of discipline. Theres something larger happening with that. If I remember correctly, Marcus Natty run was also oft-plagued with lots of laundry. We’re averaging over 100 yards a game in penalties to start the year. That’s the equivalent of a good game on the ground for a RB that we are giving away for free. EVERY GAME. I’m pretty sure that’s bad. We gear up a defense to stop the run. Maybe we should also gear ourselves up to stop the flag.  Oh yes, what about the P12 refs, you say? THOSE DAMNED P12 REFS SCREWED MAH TEAM!!!1!!one! Excuses are like buttholes, everyone has one. Don’t put yourself in a position where you need an excuse. Dang millennials always wanting everything handed to them.

(I’m not sure how that whole millennial participation trophy thing plays in here, but I’m a wound salter. A regular dead horse killer, if you will)  I’m happy that the defense actually has showed effort these three games. They are my coaching bright spot.  Lubik seems committed to the counter, at least this week. But, since the counter trey kind of got its start in Lincoln, I say let’s play this thing out and see where it goes. He may have just been having a little coach nerd fun.

@colewagoner – Grade: C
It’s easy to lump the aforementioned two point conversions into coaching decisions, but any Oregon fan worth their salt know this is simply a numbers game, and the decision is on the PAT holder. Good coaching is about finding any edge possible, and 4 guys trucking into the end zone against 3 defenders is a no-brainer. My biggest gripe from the staff for this game? The officials were horrendous, and Mike Ril…I mean Mark Helfrich was too docile. We needed a Nick Saban like tirade to the officials to prove a point. Toss that headset, with authority.

@SwooshMcDuck – Grade: C+
Helf continues to try to reinvent the wheel by pushing the 2-pt conversions as somehow the new “Oregon way”. While simple PAT’s aren’t sexy by any stretch of the imagination, they seem to work pretty well for other teams that consistently win. Trickeration is fun, and yeah, during the Chip/Helf era, it’s become the norm to be unconventional in what the team does. If the team was 4/5 on conversions we’d have a completely different conversation of course, but that’s the benefit of hindsight. For now, there’s no shame in a pedestrian PAT in my opinion. On the other side of the ball, the new defense continues it’s ebb & flow of progress & mistakes. Tackling remains a glaring issue, but it has for years. Maybe that’s just not going to change. For now the defense looks improved over last season, which isn’t saying too much, but it’s early.

@jaromney – Grade: F
My thong isn’t that bunched over the two point tries because I went to Oregon and we’re an Arts school. It’s Mark Helfrich’s lack of clock management that gets me. In 2013, I got it, we all lost our virginity at one point. But eventually, you need to take a look at the clock and slow things down, now matter how good going fast feels. It’s now officially a thing. Last year against WSU I maintained that his clock management to end the first half gave WSU life. I’d say the same for yesterday. Up 20-7 at half is much different than allowing the quick score to only be up 20-13. I’m sure Royce gets the first down there, but I don’t deal in hypotheticals. That’s what Chip Kelly used to say, and I like to pretend he’s still here.

@MrBenzduck – Grade: NP
I try not to second-guess play calling as it has an element of “I want them to do what I say unless it doesn’t work”, but obviously Helf needs to rethink some things, starting with the extra point autonomy he’s apparently granted to the holder without giving said holder sufficient support mechanism to execute his decision.  Pretty clear that at least in this game Helf was outcoached by Riley, though, and for that you can’t get a passing grade.

@Uoduckgirl – Grade: C+
Ugh I hate giving this grade to Helf and his beard but I just don’t understand the 2PC versus the PAT after every TD. Especially after the second two failed – why did this go on?. Was a bit mind boggling to say the least and hope we don’t do this versus Buffs.  Pac 12 Refs – EF = EPIC FAIL

— Predictions for Colorado vs Oregon will be posted on Friday

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