Cal Offers “Get Right” Game for Royce Freeman and Oregon Ducks


It hasn’t been quite the season that Oregon or Royce Freeman expected entering 2016, but the Ducks and their standout running back will have the perfect chance to right the ship on Saturday.

Oregon’s 2-4 start has been blamed largely on defensive shortcomings, but the Ducks offense has sputtered at times this season and Freeman has rushed for just 219 yards and three touchdowns (35 carries) in his last three games. This after hitting Virgina up for 207 yards and two scores on just 19 carries in Week 2.

This is part of the reason why Oregon has had four-straight sub 40-point performances, it’s longest stretch since 2007.

Freeman was a Heisman Trophy candidate entering this season and while he hasn’t looked like the same back for a variety of reasons this season, that could all change on Saturday thanks to Cal’s defense.

Or lack thereof…

The Bears defense has been atrocious to put it lightly.

Cal has allowed 40 or more points in four of their six games, three of which resulted in losses. And it’s not just the fact they give up points, they have gotten roasted by backs that aren’t in Freeman’s class.

  • Week 2: Donnel Pumphrey – 29 carries, 281 yards, 3 TD
  • Week 3: D’Onta Foreman & Chris Warren III – 39 carries, 276 yards, 4 TD
  • Week 6: Ryan Nall & Darrell Garretson – 24 carries, 326 yards, 5 TD

Cal is ranked 127th in FBS against the run (there are 128 FBS teams). They allow a Power 5-worst 283.8 rush yards PG and nobody in FBS has allowed more rushing touchdowns.

Then, there’s the guy that Freeman has been in the back half of the season throughout his career.

As a freshman he had just one 100-yard game in his first six games. He followed that up by rushing for at least 98 yards in the Ducks next seven games, helping guide Oregon to the College Football Playoff.

Last year Oregon started the season 3-3. They finished the season by winning six of seven, all of which finished with Freeman hitting the century mark.

More from Oregon Ducks Football

Sure, the 2-4 start to the season is bad and Oregon is the only winless team in the Pac-12 North, but the season is far from over. While it is nearly mathematically impossible to win the division, Oregon is still playing for bowl eligibility and Mark Helfrich is coaching for his job.

The Ducks have played in a bowl game in each of the last 11 seasons. In order for them to reach bowl eligibility this season they’ll need to win four of their final six games, four of which are on the road.

Tough, but not impossible and if that’s to happen much of the load will fall on the shoulders of Royce Freeman to help keep a soft Oregon Defense on the sidelines.

Friday night is the perfect opportunity for Freeman to do just that. (7:30pm PT, ESPN)