Neither wind nor rain nor Cal can stop Ducks
Despite injury to De'Anthony Thomas on the opening kickoff, Oregon rolls at wet Autzen Stadium
EUGENE Even torrential rain and strong wind and an injury to De'Anthony Thomas hasn't slowed the Oregon offense, although woeful California contributed to another Ducks' blowout Saturday night.
The Ducks scored 50-plus points for the fourth consecutive game to start the season, capitalizing on five first-quarter Cal turnovers and great field position to lead big early and cruise to a 55-16 win before a raucous and then depleted Autzen Stadium crowd.
The one piece of bad news: Thomas appeared to twist his ankle while making a cut on the opening kickoff return. He did not play after that.
Byron Marshall slipped into the role of primary ball carrier and scored on touchdown runs of 14 and 25 yards en route to his 19-carry, 130-yard night.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota tossed two TD passes and ran for a short score.
The Ducks led 41-0 in the second quarter.
Safely ahead, Bralon Addison put his name in the UO record book, tying a school mark with two punt returns for touchdowns 75 and 67 yards. Cliff Harris returned two punts for TDs against New Mexico in 2010.
The Ducks moved to 4-0 heading into their road game at Colorado, 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5.
For September, it rained and blew wind pretty fiercely at Autzen leading to an exodus of fans at halftime and during the third quarter. The Bears and their true freshman quarterback, Jared Goff, appeared to not be remotely ready for the weather conditions.
The Bears lost four first-quarter fumbles and Zach Kline, Goff's replacement, threw an interception in the end zone when his receiver simply stopped his route and the ball fell right into the arms of Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.
The average start of the Ducks' first six possessions: the Cal 33-yard-line.
Oregon fumbled four times in the first quarter as well, but lost only one Thomas Tyner's the Ducks' first turnover of the season.
Addison scored on a 75-yard punt return in the second quarter and turned in his 67-yarder in the third quarter.
Mariota (11 of 24, 114 yards, throwing errantly often; six carries, 33 yards) played on one possession in the third quarter, despite UO blowing out Cal, and he led a scoring drive, with Tyner's 21-yard run making it 55-3.
Cal scored a touchdown midway through the third quarter to break into double digits.
The Bears got another TD with 3:02 remaining.
All thoughts of Cal making the game competitive yes, just competitive disappeared after the Bears' first 15, sloppy minutes.
The Ducks, after Thomas' injury on the kickoff return, went 48 yards to go ahead 6-0 on Marshall's 14-yard TD run. The slippery ball became apparent on the drive, with Marshall fumbling (UO recovering) and holder Dustin Haines bobbling the extra-point attempt.
Cal, however took slippery ball woes to another level.
The ball slipped out of Goff's hand on a pass attempt, with UO recovering. Mariota later recovered a Marshall fumble, and the Ducks actually went scoreless on the drive, coming up short on a fourth-down pass attempt.
But Cal kept giving the ball away. Brendan Bigelow fumbled on a carry, with UO's Rodney Hardrick recovering at the Cal 32. Five plays later, Mariota hit Josh Huff on a 19-yard TD pass, and it was 13-0.
Goff fumbled while being sacked on the next series' first play, with Alex Balducci recovering. Four plays later, Mariota and Daryle Hawkins connected on a 14-yard TD play. Score: 20-0.
Khalfani Muhammad joined the Cal turnover brigade. DeForest Buckner recovered his fumble, but the Ducks didn't manage points; in fact, perhaps in a case study of what kind of confidence the Ducks have in kickers Alejandro Maldonado and Matt Wogan, they went for it on fourth-and-4 and then (after a penalty) on fourth-and-9 at the Cal 14.
After a Cal punt, the Ducks scored again, with Marshall scooting 25 yards for a touchdown, giving Oregon a 27-0 lead after one quarter.
Goff was benched and Kline inserted at QB, but he threw an interception in the end zone (Ekpre-Olomu) when receiver Drake Whitehurst simply stopped running his route.
Tyner fumbled on the UO possession. But Cal couldn't do anything offensively with the great field position and, after a fourth-down incompletion, the Ducks marched 70 yards and scored a touchdown on Mariota's 2-yard run. It was 34-0.
Later, Bralon Addison scored on a pretty, 75-yard punt return, boosting the UO lead to 41-0. Only Vincenzo D'Amato's 46-yard field goal prevented the Bears from being shut out in the first half.
CAL 0 3 7 6 -- 16
OREGON 27 14 14 0 -- 55
OREGON -- Byron Marshall 14 run (run failed), 13:27
OREGON -- Josh Huff 19 pass from Marcus Mariota (Matt Wogan kick), 8:56
OREGON -- Daryle Hawkins 14 pass from Mariota (Alejandro Maldonado kick), 7:16
OREGON -- Marshall 25 run (Wogan kick), 2:57
OREGON -- Mariota 2 run (Maldonado kick), 12:22
OREGON -- Bralon Addison 75 punt return (Wogan kick), 6;08
CAL -- Vincenzo D'Amato 46 FG, 0:01
OREGON -- Addison 67 punt return (Maldonado kick), 13:14
OREGON -- Thomas Tyner 21 run (Wogan kick), 10:49
CAL -- Jeffrey Coprich 1 run (D'Amato kick), 6:48
CAL -- James Grisom 7 pass from Zach Kline (kick failed), 3:02