Oregon Football: Justin Herbert Shines In Road Win At Cal

BERKELEY, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Justin Herbert #10 of the Oregon Ducks passes the ball against the California Golden Bears at California Memorial Stadium on September 29, 2018 in Berkeley, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
BERKELEY, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Justin Herbert #10 of the Oregon Ducks passes the ball against the California Golden Bears at California Memorial Stadium on September 29, 2018 in Berkeley, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Quarterback Justin Herbert showed patience and found his receivers in a solid road performance and win over Cal on Saturday night.

Oregon Football opened their first road game of the 2018 season in Berkeley against the California Golden Bears. Both entered the game ranked for the first time since 2007, both opened their season 3-0. Cal opened the game with the ball and started out hot getting mixed looks with two different Quarterbacks.

The Oregon Defense found the perfect time for a stop holding the Golden Bears to a field goal on their first possession.

Oregon Quarterback Justin Herbert would see the ball next and the result would be familiar for Oregon fans. The Oregon Junior Signal Caller was 4 for 4 on their first drive that was capped off by a 30-yard strike to Tight End Kano Dillon for the 7-3 Oregon lead.

The Oregon Defense stepped up early as Ugo Amadi picked off Cal Quarterback Chase Garbers pass on the Golden Bears second possession giving the ball back to Herbert and the Oregon Offense. Cal was not about to go away quietly scoring on their next possession.

Brandon McIlwain rushed 22 yards to the endzone to give Cal a 10-7 lead. With 9:32 left in the first half, Cal had over 100 yards on the ground to Oregon with 31. It was another characteristically show start by Oregon Football, and one that needed to pickup.

Over the first three games of the season, more than two Oregon Running Backs touched the ball in the first quarter. Well into the second quarter vs Cal, CJ Verdell was the lone back to touch the ball until Travis Dye had his opportunity. After several handoffs that went no where, Dye broke into the open for a 59-yard touchdown run giving Oregon the lead back at 14-10. The appearance marked his fifth in a game this season. He would not be red shirting in 2018.

Oregon continued to push the pedal on Offense. On their next possession they scored in just 1:11 as Herbert found Dillon Mitchell in the endzone to give the Ducks a 21-10 lead with 2:37 left in the first half. The drive started with a strike to Jaylon Redd and ended with the score by Mitchell. Herbert opened the game 8 for 10 for 136 yards and two touchdowns.

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After the first two drives by California, the Oregon Defense stepped up and held the Golden Bears to back to back three and outs. Cal ended their last two drives 1 for 8 passing. The Ducks have not won in Berkeley since the 2012 season, but the Defense stepped up to add another 7 points before halftime. Brandon McIlwain fumbled the ball and it was picked up by Lamar Winston Jr for a 70 yard touchdown to give the Ducks a 28-10 lead at halftime.

Oregon Football did not have a single play in the red zone in the first half.

The Oregon Ducks opened the third quarter with a two play drive. CJ Verdell took the handoff 74 yards to the Cal 1 yard line. Cyrus Habibi Likio took it into the endzone two plays later. Habibi-Likio has scored touchdowns on 5 of his seven possessions this season for Oregon Football. Oregon led 35-10 over Cal.

Cal answered Oregon’s quick strike to open the second half with a 10-yard run by Running Back Patrick Laird. Cal used two Quarterbacks on the second half opening drive that kept the Oregon Defense off balance allowing the touchdown. Oregon led 35-17.

On the next drive, Travis Dye had the ball stripped and it was recovered by California. Just when Cal thought they had momentum, they gave it right back. Three plays into the drive Javon Holland picked off a pass in the end zone to give the ball back to Oregon.

The Ducks were held to a field goal attempt of 41-yards that was missed by Adam Stack. On the ensuing drive, California again worked their way down the field to line up second and goal as the 4th Quarter began. The Oregon Defense stopped Cal on 4th and Goal from the one-yard line.

The Golden Bears tried to make a game of it scoring with just under five minutes remaining. The Oregon Defense gave up an average of 75 yards per game this season on the ground. Against Cal, they gave up over 200 yards on the ground. Cal added a score to pull within 11 points 35-24.

In the end, the Oregon Offense was too much for California. Ugo Amadi picked off his second McIlwain pass of the night taking it back for the touchdown making it 42-24 Oregon.

The Ducks finished the game with an impressive number on 3rd Down(8-13) and picked up their first road win of 2018 after struggling last season where they lost five games away from Autzen Stadium.

Oregon returns home for a bye week, time to get rested and recovered before facing the Washington Huskies on Saturday, October 13th. Gametime has yet to be announced.