Brandon Roy's return to the NBA would cost the Trail Blazers 17 million

Brandon Roy's return to the NBA would cost the Trail Blazers 17 million

By DWIGHT JAYNES (@dwightjaynes)

Former Trail Blazer all-star Brandon Roy has already announced that he's going to sign a contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves, whom he chose over at least four other teams negotiating for his services after the Trail Blazers used the amnesty clause on him last season.

Roy still hasn't signed and right now, there is a question about Minnesota's cap room to sign him.

But if it turns out that Roy plays again in the NBA -- for anybody -- it's going to be very costly for his former team, which still must pay Roy his full previous contract. Without benefit of even partial insurance.

When the Trail Blazers gave Roy his max deal, they were apparently able to insure only a fraction of it because of the condition of his knees. But, sources say, they were able to get a limited amount of permanent disability insurance on him that would cover 17 million of the amount owed the player.

As long as he was "permanently" disabled.

If and when Roy plays again, Portland apparently will not be able to collect that 17 million, none of which has been paid to date.

Yes, Paul Allen is a billionaire. But I would guess even Allen would not be happy about losing 17 million.

UO QB Dakota Prukop two errant throws away from hero status

UO QB Dakota Prukop two errant throws away from hero status

EUGENE - Oregon quarterback Dakota Prukop has played some very good football this season. 

Unfortunately for him and the Ducks, two plays separate him from having already earned legendary status rather than simply being a good quarterback who keeps falling short. 

Prukop, during Saturday's 41-38 loss to Colorado at Autzen Stadium, threw an interception in the fourth-quarter on a horribly underthrown pass to wide receiver Darren Carrington II, who ran a fade pattern to the left corner of the end zone. Colorado cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon intercepted the throw with 48 seconds remaining.  

Two games ago in the final minute at Nebraska, Prukop, with the Ducks down 35-32, rolled right and located wide receiver Charles Nelson open running toward the right corner of the end zone. But Prukop underthrew Nelson and the pass was deflected. The game ended two plays later when Prukop rushed for three yards on a desperate fourth down attempt with 18 yards to go for a first. 

Two would-be winning plays. Two underthrown passes. Prukop leads Carrington to the corner of the end zone and it's a likely touchdown. Prukop leads Nelson and it's also a likely touchdown.

That's how close Oregon (2-0) is to being 4-0. That's how close Prukop, a graduate transfer from Montana State, is to having thrown two game-winning touchdown passes for the Ducks already this season. 

Instead he is left to lament what could have been. 

"It's execution," Prukop said following Saturday's defeat. "People are going to say, "nah, it's not one play. It's the whole game.' But it came down to the last play."

It's a tough situation to be in for a quarterback. They're asked to save the the rest of the team from its collective mistakes while minimizing their own. Bottom line, however, is that they are expected to make big plays. Prukop has made plenty. He has completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 1,041 yards and eight touchdowns with just the one interception. He's also rushed for 142 yards and a touchdown. 

Such statistics, however, ring hollow when a quarterback fails to deliver with the game on the line. 

Some fans and members of the media have criticized the play call on the pass intended for Carrington against Colorado. That's largely unfair.

Red zone fade passes are rarely intercepted because they are pretty safe throws. Either the pass is lofted to the corner where only the receiver can get it, or it goes out of bounds. Another option is to throw the ball with great velocity to the receivers back shoulder so that he must adjust to it while the defensive back can't see the ball because he is trailing the receiver. 

"I thought it was a safe play," Oregon offensive coordinator Matt Lubick said of the call on first and goal from the Colorado seven. 

Oregon coach Mark Helfrich supported the call. 

"With two time outs, just trying to get a play off quickly and use all four downs..." Helfrich said "In that situation we're obviously trying to give a playmaker a chance. Hopefully it's a safe ball and that turned out differently."

Prukop said he felt good about the play call. 

"When they called that play I was like, 'we're going to get a touchdown right here,'" Prukop said.

His intent, Prukop said, was to throw the ball high and to the corner of the end zone. 

"I should have put it a lot higher," Prukop said. "Give him an easy jump ball. That's what he likes. Just have to learn from it."

The passing combo, Prukop said, has worked on that play extensively in practice with Prukop laying it up for the ultra athletic Carrington to go get it. On Saturday, however, Prukop misfired. 

"I've got to go see it on film but obviously I didn't put enough juice on it," he said. 

Prukop said he ended up throwing the ball a bit more like a back shoulder pass.

"I've got to put the ball in position where only the receiver could get to it," Prukop said. 

The pass lacked the trajectory or velocity of such a throw and instead turned into a lob pass directly to the defensive back. 

"Throwing it like I did, that's too risky," Prukop said. "I paid for it."

The play left Oregon's players and coaches stunned. The Ducks went from having a chance to win, or at least tie with a field goal, to losing after one errant throw. 

Players and coaches said they would rally around one another to right the ship. At the center of that, Lubick said, is Prukop, who demonstrated great leadership in the face of adversity. 

That ability, plus Prukop's talent, could put UO in position to win plenty of games this season. But there are going to be times where Prukop must make the big throws that so far have eluded him.

"I haven't been through something like this before," Prukop said. "It sucks. Just have to eat it and learn from it. 

Ducks' defense lacks difference makers

Ducks' defense lacks difference makers

EUGENE - Oregon's defense is a mess and that won't change until the Ducks recruit, develop and properly deploy impact players capable of preventing such debacles as the team's 41-38 loss to Colorado on Saturday night at Autzen Stadium.

The post-game interviews included a lot of talk from the defense about missed assignments, poor tackling and playing with more intensity. Those elements of the game, while certainly important, do not make up for the absence of big time playmakers that make lives easier for all involved. 

Suspect recruiting and a lack of player development has led to Oregon fielding a collection of good, but not yet great players on defense. That makes scheming for opponents more difficult and leaves the Ducks with numerous holes that can be exploited by opposing offenses. 

Case in point: The Buffaloes (3-1) racked up 593 yards of total offense while being led by a redshirt freshman quarterback who passed for 333 yards and rushed for 135 more while making his first career start. 

The Ducks (2-2) made Montez look like a future Heisman Trophy candidate while appearing to be desperately searching for answers to slow down a team Oregon had routinely walloped since 2011. 

UO defensive coordinator Brady Hoke, when asked if the Ducks had the types of impact playmakers on defense it needs responded: "I'm not sure about that."

Translation: "No."

Said coach Mark Helfrich when presented with the same question: "We are still searching for that pass rusher, or that cover guy."

The Ducks need some Haloti Ngatas, Matt Toeainas, Nick Reeds, DeForest Buckners or Arik Armsteads on the defensive line. A Michael Clay, Kiko Alonso, Casey Matthew or Joe Walker at linebacker would help. The secondary desperately needs an Ifo Ekpre-Olamu, a Jairus Byrd, a T.J. Ward or a Patrick Chung. 

The absence of th0se types of players is glaring. And keep in mind that a lot of those players played with others from that group. The Ducks are searching for just one of that caliber at the moment. 

Consequently, for the second consecutive game the defense blew a lead in the fourth quarter by surrendering a long drive. Colorado, trailing 38-34, drove 70 yards in seven plays to go ahead 41-38. Colorado didn't face a third down on the drive until the play when Montez threw a 31-yard touchdown to end the drive. 

Last week, Nebraska drove 80 yards for the game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter with the Ducks clinging to a 32-28 lead. On the drive, Nebraska converted on a fourth down with nine yards to go to set up a 34-yard touchdown run right up the middle by quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr.

Nobody stepped up. Nobody made an impact play. The Ducks had to rely on the quarterback and the offense to win and they no longer have Marcus Mariota back there to be that guy. 

So what has happened to the defense? Recruiting star rankings aren't everything, but the Ducks have not had great success landing dominant four-star recruits on defense in recent years. The Ducks signed 20 four-star recruits and one one five-star player from 2013 through 2015, the classes that should make up the bulk of the 2016 defense. Of those 21 just six came on defense. 

  • 2013: The Ducks signed seven four-star players, with just three on defense, along with five-star running back Thomas Tyner. Safety Tyree Robinson is a solid starter. His twin brother Tyrell, however, now plays at Fresno State. Linebacker Torrodney Prevot, who never developed into a starter, has been suspended indefinitely pending legal proceedings.
  • 2014: Junior college transfer defensive end Tui Talia was the lone defender among five four-star recruits. He exhausted his eligibility last season.
  • 2015: Oregon signed eight four star recruits with just two on defense. Defensive lineman Canton Kaumatule, expected to be the next Buckner or Armstead, has been a non-factor with one tackle this season. Cornerback Ugo Amadi is a part-time starter who has yet to come of age.

The 2012 class had 10 four-star recruits with four on defense. They included defensive linemen Alex Balducci, Armstead and Buckner, who were too good to redshirt and are now gone. Armstead and Buckner were first-round picks by the San Francisco 49ers. Those are the types of players Oregon's is missing.  

Keep in mind that the 2014 defense that helped the Ducks reach the national title game had five starters who were four-star recruits; Armstead, Buckner, Balducci, Olomu and safety Erick Dargan. 

This is not to say that some budding stars don't exist on Oregon's roster. Hoke said not having the pass rushing abilities of redshirt sophomore Jalen Jelks (two sacks against Virginia) against both Colorado and Nebraska hurt and causes the defense to search for more exotic ways to create pressure, which can expose other areas of a defense. 

Freshman safety Brenden Schooler and freshman linebacker Troy Dye each made great plays on interceptions in the third quarter, and have the look of being potential superstars. Their plays keyed a run of 21 consecutive points that gave the Ducks a 38-33 late in the third quarter.

"Those two interceptions were big keys in the game," Dye said. "The crowd got back into it. We just kind of fed off of that and the defense got multiple stops."

But neither is yet the type of player opposing teams must alter their game plans for. There isn't one player like that on a defense, but it is young. Oregon could return nine or 10 starters next season. Maybe a couple will develop into stars capable of changing the entire dynamic of the defense. 

Right now, all of the misfires provide teaching moments for a defense learning how to make plays in order to get off the field in critical moments.  

"Those are gut punches that you have to overcome," Helfrich said. "That's kind of what we're talking about in terms of growing up. You have to bounce back from that."

That's easier to do with great players consistently making great plays. 

Mike Johnston returns to Winterhawks with opening-night win

Mike Johnston returns to Winterhawks with opening-night win

Mike Johnston was bubbling over Saturday night after his team took a 7-3 win over Seattle in front of a Moda Center crowd of 8,705 to open the 2016-17 season and his second tenure as coach of the Hawks. And it wasn't just the win that had him pumped up.

"It was exciting," said Johnston, who opened last season as head coach of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins. "To be honest, our fans are amazing. It really is quite an atmosphere here. No matter where you've coached, to coach in this building in front of those fans... they were into the game right from the very beginning.

"We're a young team, we're going to make mistakes. At the beginning of the second we let in a goal. At the beginning of the third we let in a goal. Hopefully we'll grow from those mistakes but I thought they showed great resiliency. We had six guys who had never played in the Western Hockey League before. And we had such a young team that I was worried when it got tied up. I wanted to see how we'd react. I didn't really shorten the bench in any way until maybe eight minutes left in the game.

"I just let the guys play through it. I wanted to see how they'd react. It's really what I'm going to have to do for the first part of this year. You may look at it some nights and say, 'What the hell is he doing? Why isn't he changing?' But I have to let some of these kids get these experiences if we're going to be a really good team. They've got to learn to play and I've got to protect them, too, so it's going to be a fine line at this level,"

With all the youth, Johnston knows it's important to get off to a good start.

"It is important to get confidence for young guys," he said. "If things aren't going well, they have a tendency to squeeze the stick and be very nervous when making plays but at the same time, we have to be very patient with them. We have to just focus on 'Are we getting better? What are we correcting?' every single game and every single practice and almost be oblivious to a lot of the other stuff that's going on around us, including the scoreboard and including the standings. If you focus on the right things, about November we'll be on the decent side of things.

"I like our group. I think we're going to give other teams trouble because of our speed. We're dangerous. Can we score enough? That is going to be the question. I was quite happy with the way we played tonight."

Ryan Hughes and Evan Weinger had three points apiece for the Hawks, who played without Keegan Iverson and Caleb Jones, still in their NHL camps. The Thunderbirds were missing three NHL camp invitees,

How good can the Ducks' future be as long as they're living in the past?

How good can the Ducks' future be as long as they're living in the past?

When Oregon lost head coach Chip Kelly to the National Football League, it lost a heck of a coach. Everybody knows that.

The Ducks also lost the seminal figure in their surge to becoming both a consistent national power and one of the most fun teams to watch in college football. Kelly was to Oregon what Steve Jobs was to Apple -- a unique innovator who always seemed to be one step ahead of the competition. His teams were prepared, smart and difficult to predict. Just when you thought you had him figured out, he came up with something else.

It was as if he was that late friend of mine, who used to say, “Just when you think you have all the answers, I CHANGE THE QUESTIONS!”

And in his absence, Oregon football has tried its best to maintain Kelly's aura by continuing to stick to his style. But the style without the designer is a cheap imitation. A knockoff. And that's what Duck football has become -- a product that looks on the surface just like the ones Kelly created, but without the substance and innovation that made the whole thing work in the first place. They have nobody now who can CHANGE THE QUESTIONS!

I don't know what to think of Coach Mark Helfrich. He talks a good game. He takes responsibility, as he should, when things don't go well. He obviously knows football way better than you and me, But there's something missing. And in a lot of the ways you measure the impact of coaches, he doesn't measure up very well.

I've always looked at penalties as a measure of the preparation and discipline level of football teams -- a direct result of coaching.  The Ducks are averaging 11 penalties per game, 125th in the country and ahead of only Arkansas State, San Diego State and Marshall. Seriously, that's brutal. Oregon came out Saturday afternoon not ready for Colorado, which was starting a freshman backup at quarterback. The Buffaloes jumped them early and took control of the game. And the Ducks, with the game seemingly in their grasp, couldn't execute late in the game to win it.

Yes, quarterback Dakota Prukop tossed up the football equivalent of an air-balled free throw in the end zone, leaving a fade pass woefully short. But was it the right call? Was Prukop prepared to make such a throw? We'll never know, but I believe it's a reason that going out and grabbing a Big Sky quarterback who was a graduate transfer as a one-season fix is probably not the way a big-time program should go about its business. Prukop is new enough to the program that I'm not certain the coaches could ever have known what he's capable (or not capable) of doing late in a Pac-12 game.

Recruiting is a big part of the coach's job and for me, the mere fact of a program of this nature having to go out two years in a row to the Rent-A-Quarterback store in the Big Sky Conference is a sign things aren't going well in that department.

The defense is as big a problem this season as it was last year -- perhaps even worse, as the Ducks seem stuck in a rather static 4-3 that doesn't get much pressure on the quarterback and seems to grow confused in zone coverage. There are only two ways out of that problem -- recruit better players or talk Nick Aliotti out of retirement. The former is much more likely than the latter, I would assume.

The offense, though, has been this team's identity for years and it's not hitting on all cylinders, either. And with that defense, the offense must get much, much more efficient for Oregon to end up on the winning side of the scoreboard.

And this is where Kelly is missed the most. This coaching staff is still trying to to run Chip's stuff without Chip and I don't think that's going well. The tempo is inconsistent and that doesn't matter, anyway, because everyone has caught up to the whole play-fast deal. The play calling is pedestrian and where Kelly always seemed to be outside the box and difficult to predict, the Ducks now seem at a loss at times about how they want to attack.

For all their playmakers on offense, Oregon ranks tied for 69th in the country in third-down conversion percentage. Part of that, of course, is not getting many yards on first and second down. That's when Oregon seems at its offensive worst, by the way -- first and second down, where the conservative side of the coaching staff seems to have a death grip on the offense.

Chip Kelly built Oregon into a feared national powerhouse and an offensive juggernaut. We won't ever know if he could have kept the Ducks on top -- only a select few programs can maintain that excellence over an extended time.

But I do think we know by now that Helfrich hasn't been able to do it. That's not an indictment, really. Apple still hasn't recovered from losing Steve Jobs, either.

TIMBERS FALL 3-1 ON THE ROAD AGAINST HOUSTON DYNAMO

usatsi_9563177.jpg
USATI

TIMBERS FALL 3-1 ON THE ROAD AGAINST HOUSTON DYNAMO

Despite a finish from midfielder Diego Valeri early in the second half, the Portland Timbers fell 3-1 against the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday night. The goal marked Valeri’s 13th in league play this season, and second in as many matches, with the midfielder ranked tied for the sixth-most goals scored in MLS this season.

The result snapped the Timbers’ three-game unbeaten run against the Dynamo in league play (2-0-1), dating back to June 20, 2015, with Portland (11-12-8, 41pts) defeating Houston 3-2 at Providence Park in the first matchup of the 2016 season between the two clubs on June 26.

Despite Portland opening the match on the strong foot with several chances, including a close-range header from defender Steven Taylor in the second minute of play, Houston (7-11-11, 32pts) managed to take the lead in the 34th minute when the referee pointed to the penalty spot, signaling for a handball in the area on Timbers defender Liam Ridgewell, who made a sliding challenge to block a shot from the edge of the box. On the ensuing penalty kick, forward Mauro Manotas converted from the penalty spot, giving the home side a 1-0 lead late in the first half.

Responding strongly in the second half, Portland equalized just six minutes into the half when Valeri scored from inside the 18-yard box, recording his 13th goal of the season. The Timbers broke through after a precise pass from midfielder Darlington Nagbe released midfielder Darren Mattocks in behind Houston’s defense. Charging into the box from the left side of the field, Mattocks’ curling effort rattled off the post to Valeri, who anticipated the rebound, with the midfielder calmly slotting his first-time chance past goalkeeper Joe Willis and into the back of the net.

With the finish, the Timbers are the only team in MLS with two or more players who have scored 13 or more goals this season, with forward Fanendo Adi ranking fourth in MLS for goals scored (15).

Houston regained the lead against the run of play when Manotas scored his second goal of the game in 73rd minute of play, finishing a low cross from midfielder Boniek Garcia from 12 yards away. Less than 15 minutes later, with the Timbers pushing up the field for an equalizer, Houston doubled its lead through a counter attack when Garcia played a through ball in behind to Manotas, who slotted his chance into the bottom left corner.

Portland created additional chances to score throughout the game, including an opportunity in the 12th minute from Valeri, who combined with Mattocks before striking an effort just wide of the target, while Nagbe’s chance in the 67th minute skipped just wide of the target.

Next up, the Timbers will travel to San Salvador, El Salvador, for a 2016-17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League fixture against C.D. Dragon on Tuesday, Sept. 27, beginning at 7 p.m. (Pacific). Portland will return to league play on Saturday, Oct. 1, when it travels to face the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, beginning at 6 p.m. (Pacific). Next Saturday’s match will feature a live broadcast on PDX TV (KPDX) with local radio broadcasts on 750 AM/102.9 FM The Game (English) and La GranD 1150 AM/93.5 FM (Spanish).

Notes:

  • Midfielder Diego Valeri recorded his 13th goal in MLS this season, which ranks tied for the sixth-most in the league in 2016.
  • With the goal, Valeri ranks tied for ninth place for the most goals scored in a single season across all eras in club history (since 1975).
  • Valeri’s finish places his season total to three goals scored against the Dynamo in 2016, which ranks as the most goals scored against Houston by a single player in MLS this season.
  • The Timbers are the only team in MLS with two or more players who have scored 13 or more goals in MLS this season, with forward Fanendo Adi ranked fourth for goals scored (15).
  • The loss against Houston marks the Timbers first loss against the Texas-based club since June 20, 2015, snapping Portland’s three-game unbeaten run against the Dynamo.
  • Recording two saves in the match, Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson ranks first in MLS for saves (109), despite playing six games fewer than Vancouver Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted, who ranks second for saves in MLS.

Winterhawks open regular season with a win over Thunderbirds

sept24-texeiracelebrating-edited-730x486.jpg

Winterhawks open regular season with a win over Thunderbirds

The Portland Winterhawks (1-0) opened the season with a 7-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds (0-1) Saturday at the Moda Center in front of 8,705 fans.

Not only was it a win in the first game of the season, it was the first win for Vice President, General Manager & Head Coach Mike Johnston in his return to the Hawks’ bench.

Portland got on the board first 16:21 into the first on a power play when defenseman Keoni Texeira’s blast from the point got through traffic and beat Seattle netminder Rylan Toth for a 1-0 lead they took into the second.

Seattle tied it 37 seconds into the second when Donovan Neuls scored to even the game at 1-1, but Portland regained the lead four minutes later when Alex Overhardt scored his first of the season to make it 2-1.

The Thunderbirds responded again at 5:46 when Luke Ormsby scored to tie it once again at 2-2. Portland took their third lead of the game at 14:24 when Cody Glass fed a great pass into the slot that Ryan Hughes slapped past Toth to give the Hawks a 3-2 lead they held through 40 minutes. 

Just 31 seconds into the third, Seattle tied it once again when Neuls scored his second of the game to make it 3-3. Undaunted, the Hawks took another lead at 12:19 when Cody Glass took a feed in front of the net and wired it in for a 4-3 lead. 

The Hawks didn’t want to allow another Seattle equalizer, and on a power play at 14:53 Brendan De Jong went top shelf over Toth’s shoulder for his first career power play marker and a 5-3 advantage. 

Skyler McKenzie then registered an empty net goal to make it 6-3, and then the Hawks added one more when rookie Brad Ginnell notched the first of his career to seal the 7-3 win. 

Hughes and Evan Weinger each finished with three points in the win, while Glass and Texeira added two each.

Michael Bullion was solid in goal for the Hawks to earn the win, as he turned away 27 of 30 shots. Toth allowed six goals on 34 Portland shots, with the Hawks adding an empty net marker.

Portland was 2-4 on the power play and 1-1 on the penalty kill.  

The Hawks were missing three key players attending NHL training camps: Rodrigo Abols (Vancouver Canucks), Keegan Iverson (Minnesota Wild) and Caleb Jones (Edmonton Oilers). 

Portland is back in action tomorrow when they host the Tri-City Americans at 5 p.m. at the Moda Center.

Ducks lose to Colorado for the first time since Buffs joined PAC-12

Ducks lose to Colorado for the first time since Buffs joined PAC-12

Colorado 41, Oregon 38

How Oregon lost: The Ducks (2-2, 0-1 Pac-12) played their worst game of the season on both sides of the ball while Colorado (3-1, 1-0) put on a show on offense despite being without starting quarterback Sefo Liufau (ankle).

Freshman Steven Montez didn't look anything like the player who misfired on all seven of his pass attempts at No. 4 Michigan last week after Liufau went down while leading the Bufflaoes to a 31-17 lead in the third quarter. 

But then the Ducks forced a couple of turnovers in the third quarter, got hot on offense and pulled out to a 38-33 lead heading into the fourth quarter.  

Colorado answered with a scoring drive that set up the Ducks with a final chance to win down 41-38. Oregon drove to the Colorado seven-yard line and faced a first down and goal to go. On first down, quarterback Dakota Prukop threw a fade pass to the left corner of the end zone that was intended for wide receiver Darren Carrington II. The pass was poorly underthrown, resulting in an interception by cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon with 48 seconds remaining in the game. 

What it means: Oregon loses to Colorado for the first time since the Buffaloes joined the Pac-12 in 2011, and the first time since the 1998 Aloha Bowl. 

Key sequence: Oregon trailed 33-17 after Montez threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to a diving Devin Ross with 12:59 remaining in the third quarter. 

Oregon was then forced to punt and Colorado went on the move again. But Montez got greedy with a deep pass down the right sideline that UO freshman cornerback Brenden Schooler intercepted at the 13-yard line and returned to the Oregon 49. Five plays later UO running back Tony Brooks-James scored from one yard out to make the score 33-24, Colorado. 

The Ducks' defense then forced Colorado to punt for the first time on the day. Oregon took that offering and marched 74 yards on 10 plays, ending the drive with a three-yard touchdown run by running back Kani Benoit to trim Colorado's lead to 33-31.

Oregon's defense stepped up again. On Colorado's next possession, UO freshman linebacker Troy Dye intercepted a Montez pass at the Colorado 27.  A couple of plays later, Prukop hit Carrington in the left corner of the end zone to give the Ducks a 38-33 lead with 38 seconds remaining in the third quarter. 

All told, Oregon scored three touchdowns in 6 minutes and 8 seconds of action during its run. 

Play of the game: The Ducks trailed 23-7 in the second quarter and lined up to punt when the Ducks went to their bag of tricks. Middle linebacker Danny Mattingly, as the upback, took the direct snap and rumbled through a gaping hold for 29 yards to the Colorado 28. Two plays later Prukop hit Carrington for a 25-yard touchdown pass that trimmed Oregon's deficit to 23-14. 

High flying Ducks: Prukop got off to a slow start but finished the game with 293 yards on 22-of-33 passing with two touchdowns and one interception. 

Brooks-James didn't start but he led the team with 120 yards on 16 carries. 

Dye led UO with 10 tackles and a sack after not playing defense last year. Middle linebacker A.J. Hotchkins returned to action with nine tackles. 

Darren Carrington caught two touchdown passes. 

Fowl play: Oregon's defense, save for the forced turnovers in the third quarter, didn't look strong at all. The Ducks allowed Montez to  pass for 217 yards in the first half before he finished with 333 on 23-of-22 passing with three touchdown passes and two interceptions.

Colorado amassed 593 yards of offense. Oregon had 508.  

The Ducks couldn't keep track of wide receiver Devin Ross, who caught seven passes for 153 yards and a touchdown.  

Next up: Oregon plays next Saturday at Washington State (1-2). The Cougars were off this week.  

Inspired second half not enough for Beavers in loss to Broncos

usatsi_9561865.jpg
USA Today

Inspired second half not enough for Beavers in loss to Broncos

The Oregon State Beavers had a bit of a hole to climb out of in the second half vs. Boise State, trailing the Broncos by 24 points at the half, 31-7. If the first half was any indication, the Beavers were dead in the water.

The Broncos outgained the Beavers 435 to 67 in the first half, in one of the more lopsided affairs you may ever see.  The Beavers could have easily rolled over and let Boise State rattle off another 500 yards, but they didn’t.

Andersen’s crew showed heart. They showed fight. Even in defeat, the Beavers showed they will not go down without a fight. They may have lost the game, but there should be plenty of positive takeaways from this game (along with plenty negative ones)

Sure the Beavers were in a 31-7 hole, but the OSU team that played in the second half would have beat the heck out of the OSU team that played in the first.

Behind freshman walk-on quaterback Connor Blount, who started the second half for the injured Darell Garretson, the Beavers started to chip way.

On the second drive of the half, Blount led the Beavers right down the field, found pay dirt, and Reser Stadium was breathing a little life. Then, in a surprise move that caught Boise State on its heel, the Beavers went for, and recovered an onside kick.

A few plays later Garrett Owens drilled home the long FG, and suddenly it was a two score game, 31-17.

The Beavers looked refreshed and inspired. The sideline was full of vigor, and the defense went from Swiss cheese to world beater. Let’s reiterate, Boise State amassed 435 yards in the first half. They only managed 10 yards in the third quarter. That is a good adjustment by Beavers.

The Beavers defense played easily its best half of football, and for the entire second half Oregon State looked like the better team. Too bad, they were already down by 24 when they decided to start playing.

For the Beavers, an ugly first half was nearly salvaged by a stellar second half, but the taste was still too sour to stomach. The Beavers start Pac-12 play next week, which means they have seven days to learn how to play a full 48 minutes.

Final Score: Beavers 24 – Broncos 38

Key Sequence: In the first half the Beavers forced two key Boise State fumbles that resulted in great field position for OSU; Once starting at midfield, and once starting at the Broncos’ 22-yard line.  As nice as the fumbles were, Oregon State wasn’t able to score a single point off the two takeaways. In a game like this, points off turnovers can be the difference between a win and a loss, and they were today. Oregon State lost by 14 points, scoring on those two drives would have come in pretty handy.

Standout Beavers:

Freshman quarterback Connor Blount went from unknown scout player to the talk of the town after this game was over. After starting quarterback Darrell Garretson was pulled from the game because as Andersen said post game, he “wasn’t 100%,” Blount found himself thrown into action. The walk-on wasted little time putting on a show, driving the Beavers down the field, and leading the OSU to a touchdown. He showed poise and a great playmaking ability, and if anything else he gave the few Beavers fans who actually stayed in Reser something to cheer about. In all, he finished 11 of 18 for 138 yards through the air. Not a bad showing for his first half of action.

Standout Broncos:

The Beavers were torn apart by running back Jeremy McNichols. The Boise State junior rushed for 146 yards and three touchdowns, and that was just in the first half. As good as McNichols was, he is not best running back the Beavers will face this season. Oregon State better fix some of their defensive issues, or some of these Pac-12 backs will run right through them.

Next Up: Oregon State travels to Boulder to take on the Colorado Buffaloes. Kickoff is set for 11:30 am on Saturday, October 1st.

FINAL STATS:

BEAVERS:

Passing:

Darell Garretson – 11-16, 53 yards and 0 touchdowns

Connor Blount - 11-18, 138 yards and 0 touchdowns

Rushing:

Ryan Nall –14 attempts, 67 yards and 2 touchdowns

Receiving:

Victor Bolden - 6 rec, 43 yards

Seth Collins – 9 rec, 106 yards

BRONCOS:

Passing:

Brett Rypien – 19-36, 215 yards and 1 touchdown

Rushing:

Jeremy McNichols – 28 attempts, 208 yards and 3 touchdowns

Receiving:

Jeremy McNichols – 4 rec, 20 yards and 1 touchdown

Thomas Sperbeck – 6 rec, 104 yards

Chaz Andersen: 4 rec, 45 yards

UO RB Royce Freeman to sit out Colorado game

UO RB Royce Freeman to sit out Colorado game

Oregon junior running back Royce Freeman, who left last Saturday's 35-32 loss at Nebraska in the first quarter with a lower leg injury, will not play today when the Ducks host Colorado at Autzen Stadium, according to sources. 

Freeman, who was just announced as the starter during pregame and appeared on the field during warmups in full uniform, but not in cleats, is expected to make a full recovery from the undisclosed injury. 

Kani Benoit was announced as the starter. 

Freeman gained 31 yards on five carries at Nebraska before leaving the game. Oregon's running game performed well without him and should again today. 

Benoit had 100 yards on six carries with a long of 46 and a touchdown run of 41 yards. Redshirt sophomore Tony Brooks-James scored three touchdowns while carrying the ball seven times for 37 yards. Sophomore Taj Griffin had eight carries for 71 yards and scored on a 50-yard run.