Oregon offense rules in spring game
EUGENE Well, it was only the spring game, but the Oregon Ducks didn't look lost, offensively, without their guru, Chip Kelly.
The top three quarterbacks Marcus Mariota, Jake Rodrigues and Jeff Lockie each threw two touchdown passes, and the Ducks added three rushing touchdowns in the offense's domination of play Saturday at Autzen Stadium.
Twenty-two offensive players touched the football, and the UO offense generated 225 yards rushing and 577 yards passing. The final "score" was Offense 65, Defense 10, although the skewed scoring system accounted for the lopsided tally.
"The biggest thing was our guys competed," said coach Mark Helfrich, who joked, "I reviewed the film, and it was 65-64."
Mariota, the super sophomore-to-be from Hawaii, went 13 of 15 for 169 yards, leading three scoring drives in his four stints on the field.
"Really clean," Helfrich said, of Mariota. "He did a really good job in the second quarter. There was stagnant play up front and in his own way (Mariota) got after them in the huddle, talking to them."
Rodrigues, Mariota's expected backup, went 13 of 19 for 165 yards, and Lockie 22 of 28 for 217 yards.
Combine Dustin Haines' modest numbers, and the Duck QBs were 50 of 65 for 577 yards and six scores combined. The one blemish: Haines' interception, by Isaac Ava.
Eric Dungy had nine receptions for 57 yards and Bralon Addison eight for 136, including a 36-yard, wide-open TD reception from Lockie. Veteran Josh Huff had two TD receptions, of seven and 16 yards from Mariota.
Bryon Marshall, the expected starting running back, had six carries for 60 yards and a score. De'Anthony Thomas was suited up, but he did not play. Ayele Forde coughed up a fumble.
Offensive coordinator Scott Frost estimated the UO offense used about 50 percent of its playbook. With the game being televised on Pac-12 Networks, clearly the Ducks didn't want to show much.
"It was definitely just one of those days," said Helfrich, of offensive domination. "There were days in the spring when it was exactly the other way," the defense doing damage against the offense. "I won't read too much into that."
Defensive end Christian French had nine tackles and a sack and cornerbacks Dior Mathis and Oshay Dunmore and linebacker Rahim Cassell seven tackles each. The Ducks' defense had 11 tackles for loss.
In the kicking game, Alejandro Maldonado made a 48-yard field goal.
"The main thing is you want to get out of the spring game healthy," Helfrich added. There didn't appear to be any injury casualties in the game; linebacker Tyson Coleman, a potential starter from Lake Oswego, stood on the sideline with a cast on his lower leg.
Attendance on the sunny Saturday was 36,588.
The Duck players enter offseason training when coaches can't work with them and Helfrich said, "we turn it over to them, and it becomes their team. That's where we believe our guys really flourish."
The season-opening game is Aug. 31 against Nicholls State at Autzen Stadium.