It was a late start to the game in Boulder, as Oregon looked to bounce back from a tough 62-20 loss against Utah last weekend. The contest was delayed twice due to severe weather warnings, pushing kickoff back over an hour to 9:07 MT.
The delay may have had an adverse impact on the game, as the first three possessions all ended in turnovers.
Oregon struggled to throw the ball, relying on running the ball with their powerful back Royce Freeman. He had success early, though the Buffalo were able to stack the box against him, stifling the run at the line for just .
On the Ducks’ third possession they turned to redshirt freshman Taylor Alie to lead the team, relegating Jeff Lockie to the sideline after he completed just 2-of-4 passes for 11 yards and an interception. Alie looked strong in the read-option, using his speed to draw in defenders, though he too struggled to open things up in the passing game. The Ducks then decided to bring back Lockie late to close out the half.
On the other side of the ball Colorado took advantage of the porous Duck secondary, slinging the ball to open receivers across the field. They threw for 192 yards in the first half.
Both teams began trading scoring drives, with neither able to pull away from the other. They went into the locker room tied after Oregon was able to cap a six play, 68 yard drive with a field goal.
-Oregon’s Joe Walker intercepts Sefo Liufau on Colorado’s first possession, giving the Ducks the ball on the Colorado 17 yard line.
-Oregon’s Jeff Lockie throws an interception in the end zone on a third and five. Colorado’s Ahkello Witherspoon made the diving grab to keep the Ducks off the scoreboard, taking over possession at the 20 yard line.
-Royce Freeman finds the edge and uses a burst of speed to score a 29-yard run, capping a two play, 34 yard drive Oregon drive that lasted just 0:41. Aiden Schneider makes the PAT to give Oregon the 7-0 lead in the first.
-Using tempo, Colorado answered the touchdown late in the first on the shoulders of running back Christian Powell. With the offensive line collapsing to the middle, Powell was able to slip in for an easy two-yard score. Diego Gonzalez makes the PAT, tying the game 7-7.
-To open the second half Liufau threw a pass down the sideline to Nelson Spruce, who made an over the shoulder grab for 42 yards to the Oregon nine yard line. Liufau followed that up with a well-timed fade to the right corner, this time to Shay Fields for the touchdown. Gonzalez makes the PAT to give Colorado the 14-7 lead.
-Oregon turned to a nifty reverse pass early in the second quarter, letting Bralon Addison toss it to Charles Nelson for a 39-yard touchdown pass. Schneider makes the PAT to tie the game at 14.
-Colorado kicker Gonzalez nails a 52-yard field goal, finishing an eight play, 40 yard drive midway through the second quarter. Buffalo lead 17-14
-Oregon’s Schneider answered with a field goal of his own from 39 yards, tying the game 17-17.
Three things to watch for in the second half:
-Who will play quarterback in the second half? Jeff Lockie, who ended the first half as the man behind center, or Taylor Alie, who entered in Oregon’s third drive. Or, perhaps, someone else?
-Will the defense make an adjustment? Last week they didn’t, and Utah scored 28 unanswered points in the third quarter to push the game out of reach.
-Can Oregon stop Colorado on third down? The Buffaloes are 4-for-9 on third downs in the game, while Oregon has completed just one of its own.
First half stats:
Taylor Alie: 3-for-6 for 40 yards
Jeff Lockie: 6-for-9 for 47 yards and one interception
Sefo Liufau:17-for-27 for 192 yards, one touchdown and one interception
Taj Griffin: four carries for 74 yards
Royce Freeman: 10 carries for 61 yards and one touchdown
Christian Powell: eight carries for 22 yards and one touchdown
Phillip Lindsay: eight carries for 28 yards
Charles Nelson: two receptions for 44 yards and one touchdown
Taj Griffin: three receptions for 41 yards
Bralon Addison: two receptions for 9 yards
Nelson Spruce: four receptions for 69 yards
Shay Fields: four receptions for 27 yards and one touchdown