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Oregon Football

Unsung Heroes of Oregon's Pac-12 Championship Game

December 7, 2019

When Oregon wins, it’s considered a team win. When Oregon loses, it’s considered a team loss.

As it should be. 

No question when you have a big victory like Oregon had Friday night over Utah, a few big games jump off the page. CJ Verdell putting up 200+ yards, Kayvon Thibodeaux single-handedly wrecking the offensive line, Brady Breeze, the list goes on.

But there is a lot of work you don’t tend to notice, unless there is a mistake. And that’s part of football.

The Ducks had some big performances from a few names I have yet to see routinely mentioned. So here are those names you should also be sure and appreciate. 

Jordon Scott - Defensive Tackle

If you want to give Kayvon Thibodeaux his dues or even Troy Dye, you’d better recognize where it all starts. And that’s with Jordon Scott collapsing and demanding attention from the offensive line and clogging run lanes. And he did against a stout Utah offensive line.

Against some of the more ‘pass happy’ teams, his effectiveness can be a bit limited. That’s just a schematic difference. But against a team like Utah that is very run-oriented and downhill, his importance can not be understated. 

Go back and watch the tape, Jordon Scott isn’t recording tackles or sacks, but he’s opening up lanes for his teammates to do their jobs. He was a huge part of Oregon’s win Friday night. Scott was credited with 2 assisted tackles.

Juwan Johnson - Wide Receiver

Johnson was credited with 2 catches for 52 yards. Neither of which carries a ‘huge impact’ on the game. 

But Johnson was seen maybe a half dozen times or more making huge blocks in the run and pass game. The selfless kind of game that has a huge impact on your offense besides catches and yards. 

Go back and watch the tape, Johnson is plowing dudes on multiple CJ Verdell runs. Oregon as a team, averaged 5.8 yards per carry. Against Utah. 

Blake Maimone - Punter

Oregon’s greatest secret weapon might just be its punter. Six punts, averaging a staggering 50.2 yards per punt. Kicks like that completely flip the field for a defense. 

He had three punts that went over 50 yards and one that went 60 yards. 

If you don’t respect what Maimone adds to this team, you will when he’s gone. Maimone is a huge element to the success of this team and was a big unsung hero Friday night.

Lamar Winston Jr - Linebacker

You know who quietly had an amazing season that nobody mentions? That’s right, the kid from Portland. 

Winston isn’t flashy, doesn’t get a ton of sacks or even tackles. But what he does do is corral in running backs and quarterbacks into the run alley for Troy Dye, ISM and others to clean up. His discipline on the edge contains a lot of runs that could be sprung for big gains.

He’s been just about as good as you could ask for all season long along with being a very good leader of this team. Winston is a very big reason Oregon was able to keep Zack Moss largely in check Friday.

Winston was credited with 2 total tackles and a half sack.

Camden Lewis - Kicker

He’s getting his dues for his three made field goals and extra points. As he should. I could list him for that and move on.

But Lewis also had eight kickoffs Friday night and five of them were touchbacks. Utah only had 52 total return yards from the 2 returns. Much like the punt game from Maimone, Utah was starting deep in its own territory all night, a huge element to this game. A huge element to any Oregon game.

As up and down as his season has been from a field goal perspective, he’s been consistently good booting the ball into the end zone on kickoffs which is a big bonus for the Ducks defense. 


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