Shough Faces Make-or-Break Fiesta Bowl

Joshua Whitted Editorials

It has only lasted for six games, but the Tyler Shough era at Oregon is in serious jeopardy of reaching an abrupt end.

Fans had high expectations for the sophomore quarterback entering the 2020 season. All indications were that he had the talent and potential to pick up right where Justin Herbert left off, especially with a better and more creative offensive coordinator calling the shots.

Shough started the season fantastically, showing off legitimate dual-threat skills in victories against Stanford, Washington State and UCLA. He had a stellar 8:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio in his first three games, and he averaged more than 50 yards per game on the ground, as well.

Unfortunately, those three weeks seem like a lifetime ago.

Shough has stumbled as of late.

Recently, Shough has hardly resembled the prolific playmaker he once was. His past three games have been mediocre at best, throwing five touchdowns to three interceptions and only eclipsing 50 rushing yards in one of those games. Aside from the numbers, Shough’s confidence looks shattered. He’s scattered and frantic in the pocket, and he appears to be unsure of what’s going on downfield at times.

Shough’s performance in the Fiesta Bowl could go a long way in determining his future as Oregon’s starting quarterback. With all of the talent the Ducks have recently acquired, the expectation is Oregon will compete for a College Football Playoff berth in 2021. That won’t be possible if Shough doesn’t get out of the funk he’s been in. His margin for error is razor thin, as the Ducks have plenty of capable bodies to replace him with, including incoming freshman and star recruit Ty Thompson, and former blue-chip recruit Jay Butterfield.

Shough can either cement his status as the team’s long-term solution at quarterback tomorrow, or he can open the door for a full-fledged competition next season. Bowl season has become an afterthought for many players and programs, but for Shough, the Fiesta Bowl could very well be the most important game of his young career.

Joshua Whitted 
Morgantown, West Virginia
Top Photo From of University of Oregon Athletics

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