Kirk Herbstreit was one of the few to warn Oregon about Fresno State ahead of the Ducks’ season opener on Saturday afternoon. He was right.
The Bulldogs gave Mario Cristobal and the Ducks all they could handle at Autzen Stadium on Saturday. Tied at 24 with just a few minutes left in the fourth quarter, Oregon quarterback Anthony Brown saved the day with a nasty 30-yard touchdown run. The Ducks defense then held strong as Oregon pulled away with a 31-24 victory.
It was an ugly performance from No. 11 Oregon. Brown had minimal success in the passing game, particularly downfield. He finished with just 172 yards passing on 15-of-24 with one score through the air and another on the ground. Running backs CJ Verdell and Travis Dye, meanwhile, had 135 combined rushing yards and two scores.
Oregon has way too much talent to struggle with teams like Fresno State. But Herbstreit believes the adversity could be a good thing for the Ducks ahead of their showdown next week versus Ohio State.
“Said it had the makings of a tough game for the Ducks. It was,” Herbstreit said on Twitter. “They’ll learn from it and be better next week.”
Said it had the makings of a tough game for the Ducks. It was. They’ll learn from it and be better next week. https://t.co/veWMP6QnLo
— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) September 4, 2021
Kirk Herbstreit may be right. But we have a tough time believing the Ducks will correct their mistakes in a marquee showdown with the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Oregon’s passing game was non-existent on Saturday. It consisted mostly of short dump-offs and few downfield shots. In today’s world of college football, if you can’t make explosive plays in the passing game you’re not going to win against the big dogs.
All that matters is that Oregon is 1-0, though. The Ducks will have to be a much better team next week if they want to upset the Buckeyes.