Ducks’ Offense Plows Through Spring Game
Oregon’s football team finished out its spring football practices with an explosive offensive performance during its Spring Game on Saturday at Autzen Stadium.
The Ducks offense roared to a 65-10 win over the Oregon defense. To be fair, though, the scoring system devised by first-year head coach Mark Helfrich put the defense in a no-win situation when it came to scoring. In this system, the defense could score 1 point for forcing a punt and stopping the offense from making a first down and 3 points for a turnover.
After the game, even Helfrich joked about the “inept” scoring system.
“Other than the head coach’s inept scoring system…obviously I’m very happy that our guys competed and ended up being injury free on the day,” Helfrich said. “
In front of a crowd of 36,588, the Ducks amassed 836 yards on 117 plays and finished with six rushing touchdowns and three running.
The first-team offense, led by redshirt sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota, proved sharp in its 15th day of practice. Helfrich said Mariota and other key players were limited to playing on four possessions, but Mariota’s group played efficiently, scoring on three of its four possessions.
Helfrich described Mariota’s play as clean and even noted that in the second quarter when teammates appeared stagnant, Mariota pushed his teammates to improve their play.
Mariota completed all but two of his passes (13-of-15) for 169 yards and two touchdown passes. His two touchdowns went to senior receiver Josh Huff, who finished with 60 total yards on 4 receptions.
Highlighting the effort from the receivers was Bralon Addison. The sophomore led all receivers with 136 yards on 8 catches. Addison was at the receiving end of the longest offensive play of the game.
In the second quarter, Addison pulled down a pass from quarterback Jeff Lockie and scored on a 49-yard reception.
“(Addison) set the bar high for himself,” Mariota said. “This is spring game tells the tale of what he’s been doing (in practice).”
The battle for second-string quarterback played itself out, though neither Lockie nor fellow redshirt freshman Jake Rodrigues made an overwhelming case for themselves. In fact, neither managed to lead the offense to a first down during their first offensive possessions. Together, they managed 7 yards on 6 plays. Lockie said nervousness contributed.
But both finished strong. Lockie was 22-of-28 for 217 yards and 2 touchdown passes. Rodrigues was 13-of-19 for 165 yards and two TD passes, too.
“I think in the beginning, I’d be lying to you if I said that there were no nerves,” Lockie said. “I think I did a good job of getting everyone on the same page.”
With the graduation of star running back Kenjon Barner, questions about what the Oregon running attack would look like abounded this spring. While the Ducks will be able to turn to junior De’Anthony Thomas, the speedy Thomas sat out the game Saturday. That put sophomore Byron Marshall in the spot light on the first team.
Marshall averaged 10 yards a carry (6 carries for 60 yards) and scored the first touchdown of the season. Senior Jordan Thompson had 54 yards on 10 carries and scored a touchdown.
The kicking game came through in its only field goal attempt. Senior kicker Alejandro Maldonado made a 48-yard field goal to end the first half. The Ducks scored 38 points in the second quarter.
Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti said he had hoped to get a feel for his second-string players, but he said no one stood out.