Justin Herbert, Quarterback
STATS: 25/44, 270 yards passing, 1 TD, 7 carries, 9 yards
DRAFT STOCK: 1st Round
Justin Herbert looked completely uncomfortable in the pocket against Washington State. Against a solid defense, but by no means the best he’s seen all year, Herbert could not get into a rhythm.
The passing game was so ineffective that no Ducks receiver recorded more than 70 yards and the Ducks were shutout in the first half. They ran 18 plays and possessed the ball for roughly six minutes in the first half. Compare that to 27 points, 49 plays, and 23-plus minutes of possession by the Cougars. It was an all-out beat down and Herbert did not show the leadership a Heisman hopeful QB must have.
Preview for Arizona: The Ducks remain on the road traveling to Tucson this weekend to do battle with the Arizona Wildcats. They need to get their running game back on track after their worst performance of the season (58 rushing yards). The Wildcats rank 103rd nationally in run defense, so expect Herbert to hand the ball off more times than he lets it fly and let his running backs do the damage.
Penei Sewell, Guard
DRAFT STOCK: Freshman
Penei Sewell, who is sidelined for roughly six weeks with a high ankle sprain, revealed Monday via Instagram that he underwent a minor medical procedure. Head Coach Mario Cristobal would not divulge any further details other than he had a minor procedure. His timetable to return has remained the same.
Jordan Scott, Defensive Tackle
STATS: 1 tackle, 0 solo tackles
DRAFT STOCK: Sophomore
Jordan Scott and the Ducks defense had undoubtedly their worst performance. What makes this outing harder to swallow is the fact that it basically knocked the Ducks out of contention to play for a PAC-12 championship and any hopes to make a push for the NCAA College Championship Playoff bracket.
The Cougars came out ready to go and showed why they were 5-1. Scott’s pass rushing attack was non-existent. The Cougars have one of college football’s best offensive lines and it was on display by keeping the Oregon defense in front of them.
Scott did nothing to disrupt Washington State’s blocking schemes nor did he make quarterback Gardner Minshew feel pressure. Minshew was able to sit back in the pocket and carve up the Ducks defense for 323 yards and four touchdowns.
Preview for Arizona: Scott should be able to bounce back against Arizona. The Wildcats will look to run the ball against a leaky Ducks run defense. Last week against UCLA, Zona saw running backs JJ Taylor rush for 154 yards rushing and fellow back Gary Brightwell accumulate 121 yards on the ground.
Scott and the rest of the defensive line better be ready to shed blockers and clog up running lanes otherwise it’s going to be another long game for the boys in green.
Jalen Jelks, Linebacker
STATS: 4-tackles, 3 solo tackles
DRAFT STOCK: 3rd Round
Jalen Jelks underperformed as well. Although he had a better game statistically than Scott, he made no impact on the game at all. Jelks never came close to putting pressure on the QB and couldn’t shed blockers to stop the run. No matter where he lined up at on the field, he was never a threat. He even lost containment a few times on the edge which is totally against his nature.
Preview for Arizona: Against Zona, Jelks needs to do a better job at shedding blockers and be an annoying pest in the backfield. This needs to be a redemption game for him. Jelks must put pressure on the offense by timing the snap count perfectly so he can beat his blockers off the line to pressure the quarterback and keep the running backs in check. If he does not, the Wildcats will shred the Ducks on the ground and lose their second straight game.
Troy Dye, Linebacker
STATS: 12 total tackles, 8-solo tackles, 1 pass deflection
DRAFT STOCK: 4th Round
Troy Dye was once again everywhere and the only bright spot on the Ducks defense. He was the only one who came to play and did everything possible to stop the Cougars. Unfortunately, it’s a team game and he got no help.
Dye consistently diagnosed the plays and hit the holes hard to stop the running game. He was at his most effective early in the first quarter when he was blitzing straight up the middle.
There were back-to-back plays in the redzone that the Ducks brought pressure. They blitzed two defenders, one of them Dye, in the A-gap and caused an incomplete pass on the first time and an interception on the second.
However, Dye was even spectacular in the passing game by defending receivers coming over the middle and limiting the damage. The problem was the D-line put no pressure on the QB nor did they do a good job at bottling up the running lanes.
Preview for Arizona: Arizona proposes yet another problem for the Ducks with a prolific running attack. The Wildcats put up 289 rushing yards last week against the Bruins and will try and emulate that success again versus Oregon.
If the Ducks cannot stop the Wildcats on the ground, then the time of possession will once game be a killer for the Ducks D. They will find themselves on the field for way too long, and the offense will never be able to get into a rhythm resulting in back-to-back losses and ruining what could be a great Oregon season.