Senior defensive end DeForest Buckner said the Ducks were undaunted at halftime despite being played to a draw by Colorado through two quarters. “Guys were fired up,” Buckner said. “They accepted the challenge. We were just like, we know what we need to do, and we just need to go out there and execute. And that’s what we did.”
After Freeman’s touchdown, the Buffs moved the ball into UO territory by converting first a fourth-and-one, then a third-and-two. But on a play from the UO 35-yard line, Rodney Hardrick sacked quarterback Sefo Liufau and forced a fumble, which was recovered by Henry Mondeaux.
Both Buckner and Hardrick said the Ducks made adjustments at halftime that were subtle, but effective. “We dialed in some things, and they worked,” Hardrick said. “And it showed in the second half.”
Oregon got the ball back and again pounded out a touchdown drive on the ground, a possession that included just one passing attempt. Overall, the Ducks ran it 21 times for 124 yards and two touchdowns in the third quarter, taking a lead over Colorado that they never surrendered.
“We knew we just had to get our pads down and come off the ball,” Johnstone said. “Once we got a little pissed off going into the half, we knew after that point we weren’t going to get stopped anymore and we were going to shove it down their throats for the rest of the game.”
Colorado Coach MacIntyre
Coach Mike MacIntyre knew Oregon’s game plan, and lamented their inability to stop it effectively. “We didn’t stop the run very well. I thought they would come in and hand the ball to Royce Freeman.” Speaking of a 3rd-and-10 where Oregon ran the ball successfully with their power back, Coach continued, “We hit the guy (Royce Freeman) three different times and that was rough. That was a tough sequence.” Referring to Oregon’s lightning quick true freshman Griffin, “I don’t know his name, No. 5 (Taj Griffin), but he made a couple nice runs, too. He is extremely fast.”
Coach continued, “I think we got wore down a little bit,” speaking of Colorado’s defense in the second half, “We missed some tackles. The one big run they hit on us I think we lined up wrong and misfit it. That happens with their offense going fast. You don’t want it to happen, but it happens.” As for Oregon’s defensive line, Coach spoke plainly about their difficulties running the ball on first down,
“I guess they were whipping us up front.”
Offensively for the Buffalos, wide receiver Nelson Spruce saw opportunities against Oregon’s secondary. “Going into the game we knew their secondary was something we could take advantage of, so that was built into our game plan going into the game. As the game went on we were able to make some plays when the protection held up. That cushion they were giving us, we were able to get some quick game going.” He saw Oregon’s scheme change in the second half, which led to better results for the Ducks. “I noticed they started running a bit more Cover 2, keeping the cornerback not giving all that cushion. Maybe they were anticipating us throwing it more.”
Saturday Point Spread
The early line from Las Vegas lists Oregon as a 17.5 point favorite over Washington State.