September 16, 2017
LARAMIE, Wyo. — In a game that drew nearly two dozen NFL scouts hoping to get a look at an elite quarterback, it was Oregon’s Justin Herbert who outplayed his counterpart from Wyoming, Josh Allen, leading the Ducks to a 49-13 victory Saturday before 29,139 fans in War Memorial Stadium.
How It Happened: The Ducks (3-0) hit 42 points in the first half for the third time in three games this season, taking a 42-10 lead into the break. All 10 Wyoming points followed turnovers, as the Oregon defense otherwise was stout and forced five three-and-outs plus a fumble against Allen.
The Ducks drove to touchdowns on their first two possessions, both rushing touchdowns by Royce Freeman. A muffed punt by Charles Nelson and a fumble by Herbert helped Wyoming put 10 points on the board. But the Oregon defense allowed little else in the first half, while the Ducks added rushing touchdowns by Freeman, Herbert and Kani Benoit, and a passing TD from Herbert to Taj Griffin.
Oregon’s second-half sluggishness reared its head again, and Wyoming scored three more points off a UO turnover in the second half. Herbert threw a pass that went off a receiver’s hand and was intercepted; the Cowboy’s field goal was the only scoring play of the third quarter. But the Ducks laughed last, with Benoit rushing for his second touchdown of the night in the fourth quarter.
Who Stood Out: Freeman carried 30 times for 157 yards and three touchdowns. He tied LaMichael James with 53 career touchdowns, and become the all-time UO leader in carries with 785. Herbert completed 18-of-29 passes for 251 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The UO defense hounded Allen into a 9-of-24 night for 64 yards; Kaulana Apelu led the Ducks with seven tackles.
What It Means: The Ducks are off to a 3-0 start for the first time since the 2014 season. They enter the start of Pac-12 play next week at Arizona State.
Notable: Jordon Scott made his first carer start at nose tackle, with previous starter Austin Faoliu not on the trip. Graduate transfer Scott Pagano made his UO debut as a reserve on the defensive line. The Ducks opened offensively in a four-receiver set, with Brenden Schooler making his first career start on offense. … Charles Nelson was injured in the first half and returned to the UO sideline before halftime on crutches, with a boot on his right leg. Junior Taj Griffin replaced him on offense, making his 2017 debut. Dillon Mitchell took over returning punts.
Up Next: The Ducks remain on the road for their Pac-12 opener next Saturday, at Arizona State (7 p.m. PT, Pac-12 Network).