Week 5 Recap: Cal vs. Oregon

 

OFFENSE

@GoDucksTroll

Grade: B+

RIP Young Herbz. The Rolls is on blocks in a Springfield driveway. Our remaining receivers hadn’t yet hit puberty the last time Oregon had a defense this good. Our locker loom is a MASH unit. There’s a chance Willie might need to start walking around campus and asking anyone 6’4″ if they can play TE. And yet, we still put up 45 points. Dominant offensive line play won the offensive end of this game, and their burden will only get bigger. If they play like this we win more games.

@patronusisotter

Grade: B, for what it was.

Well, it happened I guess.  Some of it.  Justin Herbert and Royce Freeman looked good early, but they both were knocked out of the game before halftime and it’s unknown at this point when either of them will return.  The reported information is that Herbert may not be done for the year, and Royce Freeman told Taggart he was fine, and so maybe we’ll see him vs WSU.  Once they went out, the Oregon offense clearly struggled under the steady, but inexperienced and overmatched hand of Taylor Alie and the assortment of running backs not named Royce Freeman. Between Alie and Burmeister, the Ducks were 10/14 for 45 yards and one interception.  Those statistics are not going to win you many games in the Pac-12, unless you’re playing Oregon State. Kani Benoit, Tony Brooks-James, and Darrian Felix came to the rescue for 241 yards on 39 carries with 4 touchdowns and salted the game away in the end.

@BigShaun

Grade: A (it’s a curve grade, but worthy imo)

It’s really difficult to grade the offense given all of the injuries. They clicked along to start the game, quickly jumping out to a lead with the starters all still healthy. Then, the lumps came.

Royce ran off with what appeared to be a dead arm. From the front row I immediately thought dislocation of a shoulder. Funny sounding to say, but that sounds promising. The Herbz went down. I had no idea from the stands. My wife text me saying that on TV you could see trainers attending to him. I soon heard that both were headed the locker room. The lumps kept coming. A WR. A lineman. A backup QB. And that’s not including the defensive injuries. But, the team fought. The cliché mantra of “Next Man Up” was in full effect.

After some bumps and a couple of burned redshirts, the offense continued to score points and gain yards. The backups stepped up when their team needed them and did what needed to be done to get a W. Hell, it felt like they even beat the guys is stripes.

@JonathanAdams

Grade: B+

Taylor Alie’s interception just before halftime was obviously horrific, but running for 328 yards is impressive. That most of those yards came without Royce Freeman and without the threat of a downfield passing attack makes it doubly so. Like, Cal *knew* it was coming and still couldn’t stop it.

@Jaromney

Grade: B+

131 yards passing is not going to win a lot of games, especially when you end up playing a true freshman after two injuries. But, factoring in the “quick change” nature of litany of injuries suffered, ill bump the grade up. A workman like 328 on the ground for the lunch pail Ducks, built not bought.

DEFENSE

@GoDucksTroll

Grade: A

Oregon held a team to 8 rushing yards. Read that again. Someone, print that out and mail that box score to Brady Hoke. The defensive line harassed Cal QB Ross Bowers and sacked him seven times, making him look like he wished he was anywhere else but that field. Henry Mondeaux, Jalen Jelks, Justin Hollins, Jordon Scott, Troy Dye and company were lights out all night. Injuries pressed walk-on Blake Rugraff into action, the defensive backfield was also down some men due to injury and targeting calls and managed to play in-your-pocket-coverage. Nearly a perfect defensive performance, able to overcome some shaky officiating and look dominant at times.

@patronusisotter

Grade: A+

They were great.  Yes, they gave up 255 yards passing and yes, they allowed 17 first downs and almost 6 yards per pass, but man the rest was just a masterpiece.  They held Cal to 8 yards rushing on 29 attempts.  They got 2 fumbles, the Bears were 4-18 on third down and 1-3 on fourth and the defense literally won this game for the rest of the team. Troy Dye, Justin Hollins, Henry Mondeaux, and Jordon Scott all had at least one sack.  Mondeaux and Amada both recovered a fumble.  I really just don’t have enough words to say about how good the Oregon defense looked Saturday night and they did it on a night where the offense wasn’t able to sustain drives and put up points for a lot of the contest.  Loads of freshman and underclass played important minutes. My hat is off to the Ducks defense.

@BigShaun

Grade: A+

I can’t tell when the last time I remember the defense being the stars of an Oregon team. But they sure as heck we’re Saturday night. 7 sacks. Several more TFLs. Many pressures. 8 yards rushing allowed. :yelling emoji: ONLY EIGHT YARDS, GUYS.

With Herbz hurt and out for weeks, if Oregon is going to win any games going into the tough October stretch, the defense is going to have to play lights out and lead the way. Saturday was a promising step towards having a fully functioning defense that maybe capable of stealing a game or two.

@JonathanAdams

Grade: A

The entirety of Cal’s rushing attack amounted to the length of a large U-Haul truck

@Jaromney

Grade: A

8 yards rushing allowed. 8. Granted, 7 sacks at the college level will skew that number, but still. Through 5 weeks, I couldn’t be more pleased with the defenses progress. Gap integrity, collapsing the pocket, it’s weird to see. Forgot how that looked.

SPECIAL TEAMS

@GoDucksTroll

Grade: B

Aidan Schneider got himself a FG, and no punts were blocked. The one blemish was overzealous hitter Fotu Leiato managing to injure his own teammate and cause a fumble in the process. I’m hoping Leito saves a few hits like that for a game up in Seattle.

@patronusisotter

Grade: B?

They punted the ball well?  No muffed punts!  They forced one against Cal.  Oregon special teams have been not much to write home about all season

@BigShaun

Grade: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

To be honest, I can’t remember much that they did. And that’s not a bad thing. I was so focused on the offense and defense and the injury news, I totally spaced the specialists.

@JonathanAdams

Grade: B

Punting was mostly solid and Aidan Schneider made all of his kicks, including a 42-yard field goal. Kickoff returns were rather pedestrian, however.

@Jaromney

Grade: D

Eternally shitty at worst, a non-factor, at best.

COACHES

@GoDucksTroll

Grade: A

The real test will begin now, but they showed us that this staff can make adjustments. Down your three best offensive skill players, and you still put up points and win a game. An A grade considering the circumstances, and now Willie and staff get to show their mettle with a scenario eerily similar to the one faced by the Helfrich regime in 2015.

@patronusisotter

Grade: A

Gotta give Taggart and company credit for the coaching, this game last year was unquestionably a loss and it is because of what they’ve done with these guys that it wasn’t.  Special props to the guys on defense, Charles Clark and Leavitt and those guys, they’ve done some amazing work with these players.  I never thought I’d enjoy watching Oregon play defense as much as I have this season for the most part.  Taggart was able to make the rest of this game work with Taylor Alie playing quarterback and basically being unable to pass the ball, have to give him a ton of credit for that.

@BigShaun

Grade: A

The defense was ready. The offense was too. Then injuries happened and the team fought and clawed a win out when they easily could have folded.

@JonathanAdams

Grade: A

Can’t really fault the team for the lull in the first half after Freeman and Herbert went out, that was a devastating one-two combo. I really liked the start of the second half when they forced a 3-and-out on Cal’s first possession, then scored on a punishing 13-play drive.

@Jaromney

Grade: A

Even up 17-0 in the first quarter, I think Oregon loses this game the last two years, as the injuries piled up. Sometimes the best coaching, is just not coaching a team into a loss.

OVERALL

@GoDucksTroll

Grade: B

A costly win. Lots of promise, and now a lot of uncertainty. This interesting season just got even more interesting. Let’s go, Ducks.

@patronusisotter

Grade: B+, but man am I worried about everything coming up.

It’s nice that we won this game, and they defense was awesome so that was great to see.  Those guys are playing their tails off and they will need to keep doing so for Oregon to have a chance without Herbert.  Taylor Alie, bless his heart is not equipped with the athleticism to play quarterback in the Pac-12, so I really hope that BB 2.0 can at least keep us in games.  The games just get even tougher from here on, WSU comes to town this weekend and Oregon needs to be prepared for Luke Falk and the riverboat gambler Mike Leach.

@BigShaun

Grade: A
Given the injuries, the team still got the W pulling away. I can’t ask for much more.

@JonathanAdams

Grade: A

They figured out a way to score four touchdowns in three quarters without their best QB, RB, TE, and WR. Hopefully we’ve now made enough sacrifices to appease the injury gods.

@Jaromney

Grade: A-

The offense was predictably clunky for a large swath in the middle, but the defense held Cal’s offense down until the game was already decided.

Now, we all pray as our boys return to war-torn Autzen on Saturday, battered and bruised.

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