Throughout the offseason, debate raged on as Oregon football fans were weighing the pros and cons of having Ty Thompson start as a true freshman over senior Anthony Brown.
Ultimately, the coaching staff decided to go with the veteran who has plenty of starting experience across two Power Five conferences. Brown was the choice for the staff and while that decision was met with mixed reactions, the doubters were slowly quieted over the first two weeks of the season.
Brown scored the game-winning touchdown on a 30-yard scamper against Fresno State in the fourth quarter and then helped lead the Ducks to a huge win on the road over No. 3 Ohio State.
Would Thompson have been able to pick up a big road win against a top-five team that had been considered a playoff favorite? Maybe, but Brown had the experience on his side and he didn’t flinch when the lights were the brightest.
On Saturday, however, Mario Cristobal placed a lot of trust in his freshman quarterback, giving him a taste of a pressure situation, putting him in the game to start the second half with just a 10-point lead over Stony Brook. Sure, the opponent wasn’t great, but Brown and the offense were only able to muster 17 first-half points on the Seawolves and a 10-point lead wasn’t exactly insurmountable.
How did he respond? Oh, just by extending that lead and sparking 38 straight second-half points to Stony Brook’s zero. Jay Butterfield did come into the game late, but a lot of the momentum was generated by Thompson and the offense when he was under center.
This was a good sign for the future.
Life after Brown is bright for Oregon football
Whether Brown starts for the entirety of the season remains to be seen, but he hasn’t done anything that indicates that he’s not the right guy for the job. Could he afford to be a more explosive passer? Sure, but he did play well against Stony Brook with 159 yards on 14-of-18 completions.
But life after Brown (whenever that is) is bright as Thompson sure looked like a budding star and a capable backup who, if given the opportunity, would run the offense seamlessly.
Just take a look at some of his highlights from the second half against Stony Brook:
His first touchdown pass was a calm lob to Terrance Ferguson in the end zone on a play-action and the next was across the field which Dont’e Thornton turned into a 54-yard touchdown catch. He faked the defense out with a pump and found the open Thornton with a strong, accurate throw.
On the day, he was 6-for-9 with 82 yards and two touchdowns and looked like he could start if Cristobal gave him the nod tomorrow.
The future is bright in Eugene now that we finally know Thompson is more than capable of looking the part at the collegiate level.