Today we’ll preview Oregon’s better half, their offense. The Ducks are in the midst of a very disappointing season with a 3-7 overall record. The offense has mostly held their own however, even with a mid-season quarterback change. The Ducks average 37.1 points per game, good for 4th in the Pac-12. In total offense, Oregon is 3rd in the Pac-12 averaging 494.1 yards per game.
The strength of Oregon’s offensive attack is the run game, where the Ducks average a conference leading 229.5 rushing yards a game and have rushed for a conference high 27 touchdowns. Their 5.46 yards rushing per attempt is second in conference only to Washington. Oregon’s passing game is not as strong, although it is decent, averaging 264.6 yards per game. Oregon has used two different starting quarterbacks this season, who have combined for 23 touchdowns and 6 interceptions.
After beginning the season with graduate transfer Dakota Prukop (6-2, 205lbs.), the Ducks made the switch to freshman Justin Herbert (6-6, 225 lbs.) in the 6th game of the season. Despite getting thrown to the Huskies in his first start, the freshman has looked promising in his 7 starts, throwing for 15 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He has passed for 1432 yards and is completing 63% of his passes.
Junior Royce Freeman (5-11, 230 lbs.) has been a top back in the Pac-12 since his freshman season, and this year is no exception. Freeman has quietly rushed for 710 yards and 9 touchdowns while averaging 5.5 yards per carry. Sophomore Tony Brooks-James ( 5-9, 185 lbs.) has provided a change of pace to Freeman’s bruising running style, rushing for 623 yards and 8 touchdowns, and averaging 7.51 yards per carry.
Junior Charles Nelson (5-8, 170lbs.) is a dynamic player with tons of speed. He leads the team in receiving with 47 catches for 501 yards and 4 receiving touchdowns. He also has 1 rushing touchdown. Darren Carrington II (6-2, 205 lbs.) is the second leading receiver with 35 catches for 493 yards and 3 touchdowns.
At tight end, senior Pharaoh Brown (6-6, 245 lbs.) has made quite a comeback from a gruesome knee injury suffered against Utah in 2014. After one and a half years of rehab, Brown has been great for the Ducks in 2016, with 33 catches for 426 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Oregon can score on offense and has the ability to keep things close if Utah’s defense is not focused. Herbert has looked good and can sling the ball to a variety of talented skill players. Freeman is a talented back and can hurt Utah if he gets loose. The difference will be in the trenches however, where Hunter Dimick and the Utah defensive front should be able to have an encore performance from last week. The defense will stuff the run and make things uncomfortable for the freshman Herbert all afternoon.