4-Star Athlete Dontre Wilson Flips to Ohio State

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4-Star Athlete Dontre Wilson Flips to Ohio State

Dontre Wilson was a big get, but when Chip Kelly departed, so did his dedication to the Ducks.

In a live broadcast on Dallas local television Monday night, Wilson announced his decision to play for Coach Urban Meyer at Ohio State. He said of Kelly's late flip to the NFL, "To me, it was wrong....It kind of hurt me a little. But I'm over it now."

For Duck fans, this will take a just a smidge longer to get over.

Wilson committed to Oregon back in May, and the 5-10, 180 4-star athlete was slated to round out a much-needed contingent of running backs in the 2013 roster, alongside Thomas Tyner. As of now, Byron Marshall and De'Anthony Thomas carry the load on the ground.

Wilson's spot will most likely go to Kani Benoit, a 3-star back out of Phoenix. Benoit visited Oregon over the weekend, where the Ducks officially offered, and he verbally accepted.

In 2012, Wilson rushed for 1,895 yards and 37 touchdowns, with 750 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.

Oregon will hold it's signing day press conference with Coach Helfrich sometime between 1 and 3 pm Wednesday.

Until then, the Ducks will hold out hope that Wilson's announcement wasn't a watershed moment, sparking Tyree and Tyrell Robinson, and perhaps even Darren Carrington to follow suit.

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.  

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.

 

UO game prediction: Ducks could be tested by rebuilt Colorado

UO game prediction: Ducks could be tested by rebuilt Colorado

To say Oregon has owned Colorado in recent meetings could be declared an understatement. 

The Ducks have won six consecutive games against Colorado in decisive fashion dating back to Oregon's 38-16 win over the Buffaloes in the 2002 Fiesta Bowl. The five meetings came after Colorado joined the Pac-12 in 2011. 

Look at these ugly scores:

  • 2011: 45-2.
  • 2012: 70-14.
  • 2013: 57-16.
  • 2014: 44-10.
  • 2015: 41-20.

Oregon's last loss to Colorado came in the 1998 Aloha Bowl by the score of 51-48. It's quite possibly that could change on Saturday if quarterback Sefo Liufau overcomes an ankle injury to play.  

Notice that Colorado (2-1) put up 20 points on Oregon last season thanks in part to the development of Liufau, who has taken a great leap this season. 

Liufau passed for 246 yards and three touchdowns during a 45-28 loss at No. Michigan before injuring his ankle and leaving the game in the third quarter. 

The Ducks (2-1) could easily surrender 40-plus points to a Liufau-led Buffaloes team. Oregon's defense is battling some injuries of its own and hasn't played well to start the season

Scoring on Colorado might be more difficult than it was in the past. The Buffaloes have allowed just 19.7 points per game compared to 29.7 allowed for Oregon. 

No matter how you slice it, this could be the most competitive Oregon-Colorado game in nearly 20 years. 

Here is a quick look at the matchup:

Oregon vs. Colorado

When: 2:30 p.m., Saturday, Autzen Stadium.   

T.V.: Pac-12 Networks. 

Betting line: Oregon by 10 1/2.

Records: Oregon (2-1), Buffaloes (2-1). 

Coaches: Oregon's Mark Helfrich (35-9); Colorado's Mike MacIntyre (12-29 at Colorado, 28-49 lifetime). 

Last week: Oregon lost 35-32 at No. 20 Nebraska. Colorado lost 45-28 at No. 4 Michigan.  

Buffaloes' impact players: Liufau could put Oregon's secondary to the test. He has several talented receivers to work, led by Devin Ross and Shay Fields. Ross leads the team with 18 receptions and has 202 yards and four touchdowns. Fields leads the team with 256 yards on nine receptions with one touchdown. 

But let's say that Liufau does not play. In that case, Oregon would see freshman Steven Montez, a former three-star recruit out of El Paso, Texas.  He missed on all seven of his pass attempts against Michigan in relief of Liufau. The week before against Idaho State, Montez completed six-of-10 passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns. 

Chances are he is far from ready to lead a team to victory at Autzen Stadium. 

Fear factor (five-point scale): 3 with Liufau, 1 without.  Liufau could get the Buffaloes in position to pull off an upset at Oregon. Montez has no chance. 

Final prediction: Oregon 47, Colorado 34 with Liufau in action. Oregon 47, Colorado 24 if Montez starts.  Oregon running back Royce Freeman is a game-time decision but his absence likely wouldn't matter much for the Ducks in this contest. 

Time's up for Ducks' defense, improve or be destroyed

Time's up for Ducks' defense, improve or be destroyed

Oregon's defense had better get its act together in a hurry or the Ducks could be in a world of hurt and will not contend for a Pac-12 championship.

So far, the defense grades out at a D-minus. At best. 

Oregon through three games has not demonstrated marked improvement on defense over last year's dismal showing that led to the demotion of former defensive coordinator Don Pellum and to the hiring of Brady Hoke, who has installed the 4-3 defense after jettisoning the 3-4. 

The Ducks, after blowing a fourth-quarter lead to lose 35-32 at No. 20 Nebraska on Saturday, rank 84th in the nation in scoring defense (29.7 points per game) and 82nd in total defense (402.7 yards per game), and that's after playing arguably the weakest three-game stretch on their schedule. 

Hoke said Thursday that his unit is still working on mastering fundamental elements of playing defense such as being more aggressive against the run. 

"We get guys off blocks," he said. "We've got to be more impactful at the point of impact."

Oregon didn't do that all too well against Nebraska on the Cornhuskers' final drive. The Ducks' offense marched 97 yards to give Oregon a 32-28 lead only to then watch Oregon's defense surrender an 80-yard scoring drive on 11 plays to lose the game. 

No offense to Nebraska, but its offense has nothing on Oregon's next five opponents. The Ducks' next face five of the top 26 scoring offenses in the country starting with Colorado (3-0) at home Saturday afternoon. Here is a look at what lay ahead on Oregon's schedule. 

  • Colorado: 26th in total offense (500 yards per game), 20th in scoring (42.7). 
  • At Washington State: 20th in total offense (514.7), 26th in scoring (42.0).
  • Washington: 61st in total offense (423), eighth in scoring (49.3).
  • At California: No. 3 in total offense (580.3), 10th in scoring (47.0). 
  • Arizona State: 17th in total offense (525.7), ninth in scoring (48.0). 

Oregon's offense is on point, even with a young offensive line and new quarterback. The Ducks rank 19th in scoring (43.0) and 10th in total offense (545.3). The Ducks might need every bit of their offensive prowess in order to win against their next five opponents. 

There have been signs of some improvement on defense over last season. Then again, how could the Ducks not have improved over last year when the defense ranked 115th in scoring defense and 116th in total defense. However, UO played stronger offenses to begin last season starting with Eastern Washington, a far tougher FCS opponent than UC Davis. 

To get a further idea of where Oregon's defense sits, consider that No. 8 Washington has allowed 10 points per game, No. 7 Stanford has allowed 11.5, Utah has given up 12, Oregon State is allowing just18.5 and Colorado had given up 19.7.  Of course, strength of opponents vary by team, but Oregon has played just one strong team, Nebraska. 

Virginia, Oregon's second opponent this season, ranks 118th in scoring offense (18.7), 97th in total offense (357) and 109th in rushing offense (123.7). Yet the Cavaliers put up 26 points, 388 total yards and 193 rushing yards during a 44-26 loss at Oregon.

Not good. 

To be fair, Oregon is very much a defense in transition with six new front-seven starters. Plus, the injury bug has hit. Starting linebackers Troy Dye and A.J. Hotchkins have missed time. Plus, there's already been juggling going on in the secondary, which battled injuries and inconsistency last season. 

Hoke deserves time to rebuild the defense and next year's unit should be stronger with the expected return of as many as 10 starters. 

However, linebackers coach and former defensive coordinator Don Pellum wasn't given the benefit of the doubt when last year's defensive secondary had three new starters who clearly weren't ready for the responsibility and routinely got lit up by opposing quarterbacks. Pellum's demotion came despite his defense performing well in 2014 when the Ducks allowed 23.5 points per game while working their way to the national championship game. 

Pellum took the fall for 2015, but as we're seeing, even an experienced former head coach with a defensive background like Hoke is struggling with having many inexperienced players and dealing with the pressure placed on the defense by Oregon's fast-paced offense. 

All of those issues, and an improved but still developing secondary with as many as eight players in rotation, will be further exposed by Pac-12 opponents. 

Colorado is up first. Its star quarterback, Sefo Liufau is a game-time decision with an ankle injury suffered at Michigan, according to coach Mike MacIntyre. If he plays, the Ducks could be in serious jeopardy of losing. Liufau threw for 246 yards and three touchdowns at Michigan before going down.  

"The've played real well," Hoke said of Colorado. "They've hit a lot of big plays. That's what they do."

So far, what Oregon doesn't do is stop opposing offenses. That had better change or the Ducks' bid for a Pac-12 title could end within the next five weeks. 

Did Oregon and Tennessee just become best friends?

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USA Today

Did Oregon and Tennessee just become best friends?

Florida cornerback Quincy Wilson is public enemy number one in the state of Tennessee.  Ahead of the Florida-Tennessee rivalry, Wilson said the Vols have zero chance of beating the Gators. He just said it a little more creatively.

“Have you ever seen a duck pull a truck? Ducks don’t pull trucks. Nobody has ever seen a duck pull a truck. Florida Gators are going to win, simple as that.”

Creative, yes, but maybe not wholly accurate. You see, the Oregon Ducks caught wind of Wilson’s metaphor and responded in the only way possible; by showing a Duck pull a truck.

The Ducks’ tweet swept over Vol Nation and Tennessee fans quickly found their new best friend.

The official Tennessee Football Twitter account even responded the frog and tea emoji. A prefect troll from Oregon, and the prefect response from the Vols.

Neyland Stadium should be rocking on Saturday when Tennessee hosts Florida. 100,000 plus fans in Orange for the Vols,  and maybe a little Orange for the Ducks new uniforms.

Kani Benoit, running back and fisherman? The DuckSquad Podcast

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Kani Benoit, running back and fisherman? The DuckSquad Podcast

The DuckSquad podcast dives into:

-Will Colorado Quarterback Sefo Liufau will miss Saturday's game with an ankle injury?
-Kani Benoit, running back and surprising fisherman, refuses to be on the team that ends the Ducks' winning streak against Washington
-Will Oregon's offensive line struggle without left tackle Tyrell Crosby?

 

Ducks' OL better prepared for loss of Crosby than Fisher in 2014

Ducks' OL better prepared for loss of Crosby than Fisher in 2014

EUGENE - The left tackle position for the Oregon Ducks has become somewhat of a jinx with junior Tyrell Crosby being the latest victim of the injury bug. 

Crosby has been lost for the season due to a foot injury suffered during the team's 35-32 loss Saturday at No. 20 Nebraska. Two years ago, Tyler Johnstone injured his knee for a second time and missed the entire 2014 season. Later that year, Jake Fisher missed a couple of games due to injury and the offensive line fell to pieces. 

So what will happen to the Ducks' line this time around? Oregon (2-1) is confident it is in a much better position to absorb the loss of Crosby than it was to handle the absence of Fisher in 2014. 

"There's probably a little bit more versatility right now," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said of the offensive line. 

Starting in place of Crosby will be redshirt freshman Brady Aiello, who showed well starting in place of Crosby against UC Davis and in relief of his fallen teammate at Nebraska. Behind Aiello is senior transfer Zac Morgan, who was a two-year starter at Dayton. Helfrich said that redshirt junior Jake Pisarcik, a backup guard, and starting right guard Cameron Hunt could slide to tackle if needed. Starting right tackle, redshirt freshman Calvin Throckmorton also could move to left tackle with his backup, redshirt junior Evan Voeller or Morgan able to play right tackle. 

In other words, the Ducks have options, far more than existed in 2014. That year, the Ducks had to ask Crosby, then a true freshman, to slide from right tackle to left tackle, a position he wasn't quite ready for. The Ducks replaced Crosby at right tackle with walk-on Matt Pierson. 

Both were exposed at Washington State on Sept. 20 and the following week in a loss to Arizona. Their inexperience contributed greatly to quarterback Marcus Mariota being sacked 12 times over that two-game stretch. Oregon allowed just 18 sacks over 13 games in 2013 and just 19 over the 13 games Fisher started in 2014. 

Oregon's recruiting prowess in recent years, and commitment to developing versatility has paid off.  Still, Crosby is the team's best offensive lineman and has been projected by some NFL draft websites as a potential first-round pick. 

"You can't really replace a guy like that," redshirt freshman center Jake Hanson said. 

The loss of Crosby hit the linemen hard. 

"Obviously we're really, not upset about it, but we're very disappointed," Hanson said. 

The team's next-man up mentality kicked in immediately.  

"We don't dwell on any injuries," Hanson said. 

Throckmorton said Crosby's leadership and expertise will be missed as much as his talent. But the young offensive line believes it can carry the load without him and were encouraged by their performance at Nebraska where the Ducks rushed for 336 yards and allowed just one sack. 

"We responded great," Hanson said of playing well without Crosby at Nebraska (3-0). "Brady stepped in and did a really good job. We didn't really skip a beat."

Offensive line coach Steve Greatwood expressed confidence in his young line that will start four redshirt freshmen, including guard Shane Lemieux, Saturday against Colorado (2-1) at Autzen Stadium. 

Greatwood said he was pleased with how the line handled playing in an environment such as Nebraska's and that they didn't have any procedural penalties or many missed assignments. He said the line played strong, physical football while displaying solid communication, although he added that there is room for growth in that area. 

"I think for a bunch of young guys getting their first start in a hostile environment we showed some things that we can grow from," Greatwood said. 

One negative has been Hunt being called for senseless penalties. Greatwood said the team has addressed that issue. 

"Cameron is a competitor, but he has to learn the difference between playing hard through the whistle and playing smart," Greatwood said. "The penalty he drew was a stupid penalty."

Colorado in the past has been an easy win for Oregon since the Buffaloes joined the conference in 2011. Not anymore.

"This is a team that's coming here believing they can win and it's going to be a dog fight," Greatwood said.

Hanson agreed. 

"They are a good team," Hanson said. "They are a lot better than they were in the past. It's not a game you can overlook at all."

Colorado could be tough challenge for wounded Ducks

Colorado could be tough challenge for wounded Ducks

The Oregon Ducks must dig deep into their bag of tricks to overcome the season-ending injuries to wide receiver Devon Allen (knee) and left tackle Tyrell Crosby (foot) in order to contend for the Pac-12 title this season.

That quest begins Saturday against a much-improved Colorado team that likely won't provide the annual easy victory the Ducks have grown accustomed to since the Buffaloes joined the conference in 2011. 

Oregon (2-1) does appear to have the depth to absorb the losses of its two fallen stars, both injured during a 35-32 loss at Nebraska on Saturday. The Ducks also should be just fine in the short term minus junior running back Royce Freeman, who suffered a lower leg injury at Nebraska. He is expected to return this season but could miss a week or two. 

Allen, also an Olympic hurdler, happens to play within Oregon's deepest position. His deep speed will be missed, but Oregon has plenty of talented receivers to move ahead without much problem. 

Crosby's loss could be a much bigger deal. He is the anchor of a young offensive line that just got younger. Replacing Crosby will be redshirt freshman Brady Aiello, giving the Ducks four starting redshirt freshmen along the offensive line. 

The group has looked solid this season, and helped the Ducks rush for 336 yards at Nebraska. Assisting in that area were Freeman's backups, Kani Benoit, Tony Brooks-James and Taj Griffin, who proved the team's rushing attack doesn't have to suffer without the team's star running back. 

Still, there is no denying that losing Crosby is a negative. 

Colorado might be at more of a disadvantage on Saturday. The Denver Post is reporting that quarterback Sefo Liufau might miss Saturday's game with an ankle injury suffered during a 45-28 loss at Michigan on Saturday. Junior outside linebacker Derek McCartney is out for the season with an injured knee.

Through three games, Liufau has completed 54-of-76 passes for 768 yards and six touchdowns with zero interceptions. 

His backup is redshirt freshman Steven Montez. He is 6-of-17 passing for 117 yards and two touchdowns this season, but had zero completions on seven attempts at Michigan after replacing Liufau. 

If Montez starts, it wouldn't matter if the Ducks were to lose another 10 starters this week to injury. But if Liufau is in play, Oregon must dig deep to avoid an upset loss against a Colorado team that appears to be on the rise. 

Oregon vs. Colorado

When: 2:30 p.m., Saturday, Autzen Stadium.   

T.V.: Pac-12 Networks. 

Betting line: NA.

Records: Oregon (2-1), Buffaloes (2-1). 

Coaches: Oregon's Mark Helfrich (35-9); Colorado's Mike MacIntyre (12-29 at Colorado, 28-49 lifetime). 

Last week: Oregon lost 35-32 at No. 20 Nebraska. Colorado lost 45-28 at No. 4 Michigan.  

Buffaloes' impact players: Liufau's top targets are Devin Ross and Shay Fields. Ross leads the team with 18 receptions and has 202 yards and four touchdowns. Fields leads the team with 256 yards on nine receptions with one touchdown. 

Running back Phillip Lindsay has 176 yards rushing with four touchdowns.  

Fear factor (five-point scale): 3 with Liufau, 1 without. A healthy Liufau would give the Buffaloes a chance to win a shootout against Oregon's mediocre defense. No way a green freshman quarterback rolls into Autzen Stadium and wins. 

Preliminary pick: Oregon 47, Colorado 34 with Liufau in action. Oregon 47, Colorado 24 without.  

VIDEO: Fentress on the mounting injuries for the Ducks

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VIDEO: Fentress on the mounting injuries for the Ducks

The Ducks left Lincoln wounded, and news has come out this morning OL Tyrell Crosby and WR Devon Allen have both been lost for the remainder of the season. Our Aaron Fentress took to Facebook Live to break it all down, and to discuss how these mounting injuries will impact the Ducks moving forward. Check out the video below.