Oregon Ducks Game Day Grades – Week 3
JUSTIN HERBERT: QB
STATS: 16-34, 309 yards passing, 3 TD, 2 INT
DRAFT STOCK: 4th Round
Ducks fans, let’s take a second to thank the football gods that Herbert had a game to forget against SJSU and not Stanford. During a game that should have been a cakewalk, the offense struggled mightily to get on the same page; especially Herbert and his receivers.
Yes, Herbert had a 66-yard strike to tight end Jacob Breeland, and a 39-yard strike to Johnny Johnson, but his game was still ugly. He constantly tried forcing throws into tight windows because the timing between him and his wideouts was a step off. It just didn’t look like Herbert and the Ducks. So let’s just chalk this poor performance to a look-ahead game.
ESPN College Game Day make their glorious return to Autzen Stadium this weekend because the Ducks will be going head-to-head against No. 7 Stanford for an early PAC-12 battle that will put the winner in the driver’s seat for the North division. Stanford is known for their smash mouth football to control the trenches, and if Herbert isn’t sharp and on his game, he will undoubtedly throw more picks than touchdowns.
TONY BROOKS-JAMES: RB
STATS: 10 carries, 39 yards, 1 reception, 11 yards
DRAFT STOCK: 5th Round
Brooks-James looked more like a fourth-stringer than the starting running back for a top-25 team. He frequently missed reads, missed open holes, and cutback lanes, awarding him only 10 carries.
Brooks-James wasn’t solely to blame for his poor performance, the offensive line didn’t create a strong enough push on running plays, however, TBJ is still too skilled and quick to be bottled up regularly against a team like the Spartans.
TBJ better be on his toes come this Saturday. Stanford is strong up front and their d-line plays hard and physical. Yes, TBJ will need help from his o-line, but he needs to make plays by making the first guy miss and get out into the open field. He needs to rely on his vision and quickness to get past Stanford’s big, physical, but slow d-linemen.
PENEI SEWELL: OG
DRAFT STOCK: Freshman
The offensive line did not have the game they were hoping for. The Spartans d-line were able to dig in and control the line of scrimmage on more series than the Ducks would have liked. Yet Sewell and company were apart of a protection crew that allowed Herbert to stand in the pocket and make key throws downfield, but their run blocking was a different story.
Don’t let Oregon’s 134-rushing yards fool you. If this was Stanford and the Ducks racked up that many yards on the ground it would be a hell of a showing, but this was against SJSU and the Ducks should have had closer to 200-yards.
The pass protection was great. Sewell helped keep a controlled pocket around Herbert and allow only one sack and one-hurry. Yet he did not create the push on running which contributed to five tackles for a loss.
Sewell must be quicker off the ball and more physical against Stanford. They pride themselves on winning the battle in the trenches, and for Oregon to succeed against the No. 7 team in the country, Sewell needs to control the line of scrimmage and create running lanes for the Ducks running backs to run through.
JORDAN SCOTT: DT
STATS: 2 tackles
DRAFT STOCK: Sophomore
Jordan Scott didn’t really make an impact during the game, but that doesn’t mean he played poorly. Scott used fundamentals to help clog up the middle and keep the Spartans’ running backs in check. He even busted through the line a few times disrupting run attempts allowing his teammates to finish the job.
His presence was huge this past week and will be even greater come this Saturday. He is a Duck who can match the physicality and strength of the Stanford o-line, and being in the middle makes his role one of the most important.
Scott’s stature up front will be the difference maker in the game. He will be responsible for keeping Stanford’s running back, and Heisman hopeful, Bryce Love from busting through the middle for big gains.
JALEN JELKS: OLB
STATS: 5 tackles, 2 solo tackle, 1 sack, 1.5 tackle for loss, 1 pass deflection
DRAFT STOCK: 3rd Round
If there was a bright spot to take from this poor team performance, it was that the defense played great, and Jalen Jelks was in the middle of it all where he belongs. His size and athleticism were on full display against SJSU, flying around the field making tackles, blowing by blockers to put pressure on the QB and running backs, and even batting a ball down.
There weren’t too many negative takeaways from his defensive effort in this game; however, Jelks will have his hands full come Saturday. Going up against a big physical offensive line like Stanford’s, Jelks must use his quickness to get around these massive blockers.
Quick hands to create separating from blockers, staying in running lanes, and creating a fierce pass rush off the edge will destroy what Stanford is trying to do. Jelks must also keep his edge containment because if he allows Bryce Love to get the corner, well then he will do severe damage to the Ducks hopes and dreams.
TROY DYE: LB
STATS: 5 total tackles, 1 solo tackle
DRAFT STOCK: 5th Round
Troy Dye had a monster game. He was everywhere, leading the Ducks on defense like a middle linebacker should. His numbers don’t really showcase his dominance, but Dye’s presence on the field was monumental. He is the leader on the field and plays with a swagger that everyone else follows.
Dye must play with this same sense of confidence against Stanford to set the tone early. The Cardinal play a physical, pro-style game which means teams must match their physicality or be prepared to lose.
Dye’s most important aspect in this match up will be clogging up the running gaps to keep Bryce Love in check. If Dye does not read the plays and the holes well, and instead allows himself to get blocked in the second level, Love will run right by the Ducks and secure a victory for his team.