To begin the game, Oregon took the opening kickoff 64 yards in 6 plays ( in 1:31 ) ending with a 4 yard touchdown run by De’Anthony Thomas giving the Ducks an early 7-0 lead.
With the game quickly out of reach, and after the break, the Ducks began utilizing the depth chart, although Mariota would remain in the game through the end of the 3rd quarter.
Defensively, the Ducks held Nicholls out of the end zone and allowed just a field goal.
Granted, Nicholls is an FCS school which has only notched two wins in the last two years, but the Colonels showed signs of moving the ball and the Oregon defense responded by holding NSU to a meager 87 yards rushing and 256 yards through the air.
In addition to that record, the Ducks also had three different players rush for more than 100 yards in a single game.
De’Anthony Thomas rushed for 128 yards on 18 carries, Byron Marshall carried the ball 8 times for 124 yards and Marcus Mariota rushed for 113 yards on 5 carries.
GAME CHANGING MOMENT
The moment that’s being discussed, and will continue to be discussed into next week is the game ejection of Oregon cornerback Terrance Mitchell for intentionally spearing a defenseless player.
With 1:15 remaining in the first quarter, Mitchell targeted Nicholls quarterback Beaux Hebert as Hebert intentionally slid out of bounds at the Duck 24 yard line.
The side judge threw the flag on Mitchell for using the crown of his helmet to hit Hebert above the neck as he went down to end the play. Television replays in the press box determined it was indeed the correct call, but the question lingered long after the game,… was the ejection warranted?
“15 yard penalty, definitely,…ejection, no way” said defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti in his post game comments.
According to the rule, the player flagged for the foul can be ejected if he’s thought to be intentionally targeting the neck and or head area of the other player.
If ejected, a player must sit out a single half. Because the foul was called on Mitchell in the first half, he sat out the 2nd half of this game and therefore won’t miss any action next week when the Ducks travel to Virginia.
When asked about the play in his post game briefing, head coach Mark Helfrich said the ejection provides he and his coaches with a teaching moment.
“That’s on me” said Helfrich. “We just have to coach them better.”
Passing - Marcus Mariota - ( 12 for 21 for 234 yards and 1 touchdown )
Rushing - De’Anthony Thomas ( 18 carries for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns )
Receiving - Josh Huff ( 5 Receptions for 118 yards )
NEXT UP: Virginia – Saturday September 7 – ( 12:30 pm PST )