The No. 3 ranked Oregon Ducks defeated the Nicholls Colonels at Autzen Stadium 66-3 with no shortage of fireworks. The Ducks broke the school record for most yards in school history, totaling 772 yards with 500 yards on the ground and 272 through the air.
De’Anthony Thomas opened the game with a four-yard touchdown and the Ducks never looked back. Thomas finished with 129 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries.
“I just wanted to get out there, contribute to my team and make plays,” Thomas said.
“DAT is amazing with the ball in hands,” said offensive coordinator Scott Frost. “We gave him some opportunities early on and he cashed in on them. There’s not another player like him in the country.”
Oregon also made history as Thomas, Byron Marshall and quarterback Marcus Mariota became the first trio in Oregon history to each rush for 100 yards in a game. Mariota finished the game with 234 yards through the air while rushing for 113 yards with three total touchdowns.
Oregon’s starters made quick work of Nicholls, scoring on their first three drives. Along with Thomas’ initial touchdown, he also had a 22-yard touchdown run and Bralon Addison caught a 27-yard touchdown pass. Then in the second quarter Mariota capped off the final two drives of the first half with two touchdown runs, 12 yards and 46 yards respectively.
Then the Ducks scored their only touchdown of the third quarter after a 49-yard touchdown run from Marshall. The game even featured a successful 29-yard field goal from maligned kicker Alejandro Maldonado, and though he didn’t score a touchdown, Josh Huff had 118 yards receiving.
The other side of the ball was also dominated by the Ducks. Whether they were forcing fumbles, delivering stifling hits, or sniffing out whatever the Nicholls offense had planned, Oregon’s defense made mince meat of the Colonels. Nicholls only accumulated 343 yards despite doubling Oregon’s time of possession. A meager 3.9 yards per play average was the culprit.
But it wasn’t all hunky dory for Oregon. Star corner Terrance Mitchell was ejected via the targeting rule for going helmet to helmet with Colonels quarterback Beaux Hebert while Hebert was attempting to slide. But thankfully it occurred in the first half so Mitchell will not miss any action next week.
Nicholls few bright spots included the play of running back Marcus Washington, who looked strong with several double-digit yard plays. They also managed to break into Oregon territory a few times against the Ducks first team defense and even made a 35-yard field goal and a 56-yard pass play.
The game also marked Mark Helfrich‘s debut as Oregon coach after replacing beloved former coach Chip Kelly. Marshall commented on one difference between the coaches.
“Coach Helfrich is more of a people’s person, y’all know better than I do,” Marshall said. “Coach Kelly was more reserved and Coach Helfrich like’s to talk and joke around a lot. They’re just two completely different personalities. It’s easier to let your head down and relax for a second(under Helfrich).”
After the game, Ducks players decided to give the game ball to none other than coach Helfrich. Mariota said regarding the decision, “it was (Helfrich’s) first career victory, that’s something special. He’s earned it.”