It was a beautiful day at Autzen Stadium, blue skies and a record crowd for the 90th consecutive time, 57,769 came to see Oregon dismantle and overmatch the Nicholls Colonels, but all is not lost for the team from Louisiana – they did get a nice $450,000 check to go with the loss. The game marked the first time, in my memory that the Ducks went with all white uniforms at home.
The Colonels were able to move the ball several times on the Ducks, but were unable to get to the endzone settling for a Field goal in the first half(they attempted a 2nd field goal with 0:00.3 left in the first half for 50 yards, but it was not good.
Aside from the game, the storyline in this one may be the Targeting Ejection for Oregon Cornerback Terrance Mitchell. With about 5 minutes left in the first half Mitchell left his feet toward sliding Nicholls Quarterback Beaux Hebert who did not return. With all the attention in recent weeks leading up to the season Targeting calls are called clearly for the safety of the players on the field, and the rule makes sense. I do not believe there was anything that Mitchell could do to not hit Hebert who started his slide after the Oregon Cornerback left his feet. The two Oregon stars of last season did not miss a beat.
Both Quarterback Marcus Mariota and Running Back De’Anthony Thomas were in midseason form – both scoring two touchdowns in the first half. Thomas also reached the 4,000 all purpose yard mark as well as scoring the first Oregon Touchdown of the 2013 season. The Oregon Quarterback showed some solid poise and some nice ball touch on two passes that I noticed to Wide Receiver Josh Huff – neither went for scores, but both were over 40 yards for the half.
The second half started in similar fashion for the Ducks with Wide Receiver Josh Huff pulling in a 21 yard pass, followed by another to Keanon Lowe which put Oregon on the doorstep again, but Thomas was stuffed on a 4th and 3 and Nicholls regained possession and were unable to score.
With less than a minute to go in the 3rd quarter Running Back Byron Marshall joined Thomas and Mariota for a score making it 45-3 headed into the final 15 minutes of play.
The final quarter did not start well for Nicholls as a 48 yard field goal was blocked by Dior Mathis. Oregon’s second string Quarterback Jeff Lockie handed off to Colt Lyerla signalling the end of the day for the starters. Several plays later Running Back Byron Marshall rushed for 45 and Lyerla scored. It marked the first time in school history Oregon had three 100 yard rushers in one game. Quarterback Marcus Mariota, Running Back De’Anthony Thomas and Running Back Byron Marshall.
Ayele Forde took off for 45 yards as Oregon showed it’s depth at the Running Back position in the closing moments of the game. Backup Jeff Lockie scored on the same posession for the Ducks.
For the game Oregon had over 670 yards of Offense to Nicholls State with just over 350. The Colonels had the ball nearly twice as long as the Ducks for Time of Possession.
The Ducks travel to Charlottsville Virginia next week and take on the Cavaliers. (12:30 PT/ABC -ESPN2)