The Ducks can't buy a sound night of sleep after this one
Teams lose rivalry games. It happens. But surely, there's a lot to digest after this one.
CORVALLIS — Brady Hoke ended up as defensive coordinator the last time the Ducks lost like this.
Give Don Pellum and the 2015 Oregon defense a little credit though — the Ducks at least had to defend the pass during their historic collapse in the Alamo Bowl.
Here in 2022, with an Oregon staff that’s been retooled three times since that debacle, the Ducks blew a 21-point third-quarter lead to a high school offense. Nothing against Oregon State, who soundly beat the Ducks in the trenches on both sides of the ball, but you don’t beat good college football teams, down three scores, by only running the ball.
But that’s what the Beavers did to the Ducks Saturday at Reser, pounding the ball over and over again until a sure-fire Oregon win turned into a 38-34 shocker that no one around here will soon forget.
Certainly not Dan Lanning.
Teams lose rivalry games. It happens. But surely, Oregon’s coach has a lot to digest.
There were multiple failed attempts on fourth down, a blocked punt, a botched kickoff return and mistimed snaps. His quarterback was on one leg, limiting what the Ducks could do offensively. Then again, Lanning’s defense allowed 38 points and 328 yards to a team where the quarterback serves as a garnish. The Beavers scored 28 points in the second half while completing two passes for 14 yards.
“I have to give credit to Coach Smith and his team, they came out and prepared for a whole game,” Lanning said.
Hell, the Beavers don’t even have a whole stadium. But like this Oregon State program Jonathan Smith has slowly crafted, the bones are there and the new Reser renovation is seemingly only a few pieces away from becoming something special.
Oregon? The Ducks installed the suites before laying the concrete.
The Ducks made some spectacular plays on Saturday, no doubt. What should have been the play of the game exemplified the spoils of being Oregon — Chase Cota, a three-year starter at UCLA who the Ducks picked up on the transfer market as a depth add, soared through the air, Moss’d his defender and muscled a 44-yard pass from Bo Nix down for the touchdown.
But the Ducks didn’t tackle well. They didn’t execute in the clutch. And special teams continued to be a zoo — all the sorts of things you’d figure would be shored up with a bit of continuity.
Of course, that train left the station long ago and it’s only gaining steam. As Lanning gritted his way through the postgame press conference with a series of terse answers, Twitter came abuzz with news of offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham taking the Arizona State job.
Dillingham, who with a healthy Nix ran a nearly unstoppable offense for Oregon, walked to the team bus alongside his quarterback while explaining a “business decision,” the type people in Eugene know all too well.