The Oregon football fans showed up and the players showed out during the spring game at Autzen Stadium on Saturday.
When I arrived at Autzen Stadium on Saturday, about two hours to the game, the lots were over half full. It had the feeling of a regular-season game. It was warm and fans were tailgating. There was clearly a buzz in the air for the team under first-year head coach Dan Lanning.
It was announced as an estimated crowd of over 42,000 and Oregon football put on a show. The first play of the game was a 70-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Bo Nix to converted wide receiver Seven McGee who ran into the endzone. It was the start of a day that would see over 600 yards of offense in just over two hours.
Nix is clearly the front runner at the end of spring ball to be the starter for this team come fall. He threw for three touchdowns and was accurate from distance most of the time. The final score was Yellow Team 31, Green Team 21, not that that matters all that much. There were also some standout performances on the field.
Running back Sean Dollars, who is working his way back from injuries showed some tough hard running finishing the day with 49 yards on the ground. Noah Whittington had 84 yards on the ground.
Seven McGee who considered the transfer portal for a hot second stuck with his new position at Wide Receiver and finished the game with 116 receiving yards off just six catches and a touchdown. It was also a big day for the Defense, in some aspects.
DJ Johnson who played tight end last season, moved back to the defensive side of the ball and earned high praise from head coach Dan Lanning following the game. He finished with seven tackles, four of them for a loss, and four sacks. If his growth continues to build over the summer and into fall, the Ducks could be looking at a key player for the 2022 season.
On Special Teams, Will Hutchinson was the most worked player of the day, punting for both the Yellow and Green teams. He had eight punts on the afternoon with a long of 62 yards. Just one punt resulted in a touchback.
All in all it was good to get back to some normalcy with fans in the stands. Now the Ducks enter summer workouts following a final practice on Monday and make the push toward fall camp.