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Oregon Football

What Went Right vs What Went Wrong

January 2, 2021

Oregon dropped a tough one in the Fiesta Bowl 34-17. There was a few positives to take away from the game, but a lot of things didn’t go Oregon’s way. From having 5 turnovers to some questionable coaching decisions, it just wasn’t Oregon’s night. 

What went right:

The 2nd half defense:

There weren't a ton of positives from this game but the Oregon defense really did step up in a big way in the 2nd half. They allowed just 6 points from 2 made field goals and did everything in their power to give Oregon a shot in this game. Unfortunately the offense couldn’t couldn’t produce anything and it was too little too late. The defense wasn’t perfect by any measure but it was nice to see them start to turn things around in the 2nd half.

The offense really did them no favors by having multiple short possessions that gave the defense very little time to rest and recover before they took the field again. They were noticeably gassed in the 4th quarter but did everything in their power to stop the Cyclones.

Limiting Breece Hall:

Hall did end the game with 136 yards, but he did it on 34 carries and averaged exactly 4 yards a carry. He did score 2 touchdowns, but Oregon did a good job at limiting him over the course of the game. Remember, this is a guy who finished 6th in Heisman voting and if it wasn’t for his insane workload he wouldn’t have put up a ton of yards. His longest run of the day was 19 yards and Oregon did a solid job at making sure he wasn’t creating a ton of explosive plays.

34 carries was by far the most Hall has seen all year, so while the numbers don’t necessarily tell the full story I thought overall Oregon did a solid job at limiting the damage Hall usually causes. 

What Went Wrong:


I wasn’t sure where to start but I figured this was a good place. Listen, I hate the word homer as I try to be as constructive as possible when looking at this team. And when I watched the team today I was left with a feeling of real concern about the coaching. Now, I’m not saying everything is horrible and we need to fire everyone, but there are some real concerns in what we saw tonight. Oregon had the ball down 31-17 with a few minutes left in the 3rd quarter and it was a 4th and 3 from around midfield. Oregon decided to punt and at that moment it felt like the game was over. They got a stop and the ball back but had another 4th and short from the 20 yard line. They once again decided to punt. 

These decisions drove me absolutely crazy and left me scratching my head. Sure, the defense had been playing fine in the 2nd half but it was only a matter of time before they were burned out. The offense had been non-existent with Oregon switching between quarterbacks on seemingly every drive in the 2nd half. They had to give the offense every opportunity to try and move the ball as the offense just simply wasn’t going to bail them out with a couple of heroic drives at the end of the 4th quarter. It was wishful thinking for the coaches to put their trust in the defense to continue to make stops and for the offense to execute multiple perfect drives to end the game.

Moving forward for Oregon this game has to be a learning experience. They need to watch this game over and over and realize that some of their decisions cost themselves any real shot they had at coming back. Now would they have come back? Probably not, but still it was head scratching decisions at times that didn’t even allow them a chance in this one.

Special teams:

Where to start on this one. It was an awful day on special teams for this Oregon team and it cost them multiple opportunities during the game. They had the debacle on a kickoff where the Iowa State kicker had a fantastic kick and honestly deserves props for it where he placed it right over the head of DJ Johnson. Johnson wasn’t able to get to it in time and Iowa State recovered the kick. They obviously had seen something on tape and realized that they would have an opportunity to attempt to do this during the game.
The other debacle came when Mykael Wright ran into the football on a punt return after the Oregon defense had a big stop and promptly gave the Cyclones the ball back inside the redzone. Both plays killed any momentum that Oregon had built and really allowed Iowa State to take control of the game. They came at costly times and they’re plays you simply can’t have when you’re playing in a bowl game against such a well coached team. 

The Offense:

This one is broad but I didn’t want to pin it on a specific group. Tyler Shough and Anthony Brown combined to be 19/28 for 226 yards and 1 interception. Anthony Brown did some damage with his legs as he ran the ball 4 times and scored both of Oregon’s only touchdowns on the day. The numbers aren’t necessarily awful for this group but they didn’t do nearly enough to win the game.

The quarterbacks couldn’t make some throws when the offense desperately needed a spark and they missed a couple of easy throws that could’ve helped keep Oregon in the game. It wasn’t a great day for this unit and it will certainly be interesting to see what happens in this unit heading into the 2021 season. 

Oregon ran the ball 18 times for 86 yards and averaged roughly 4.77 yards per carry. Again, not awful numbers but outside of a couple of big Brown runs the running game wasn’t effective in any way. Travis Dye had a big run for 23 yards early in the game but ended up with just 52 total yards in total. I wrote about how the offense desperately needed a big day on the ground to really help take some of the pressure off of the quarterbacks and that just wasn’t the case today. They couldn’t get going and ended up having a below average day statistically.

Lastly I wanted to talk about the turnovers. Oregon had 5 in total but 2 of them were on the special teams. Dye and Brown both fumbled at costly times. The Dye fumble gave the Cyclones momentum early while the Brown fumble really hurt Oregon’s chances of coming back late. Shough threw an interception but by that point of the game Oregon’s fate was already sealed. Turnovers was something this team struggled with all year and it prove to be crucial once again 


Tags: Football, Oregon
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