Five Takeaways From Oregon’s Week 1 Drubbing of Portland State

Jordan Ingram Editorials

Of all the stats this weekend, the most impressive was The Duck’s 546 push-ups during No. 15 Oregon’s 81-7 beatdown of Portland State on Saturday at Autzen Stadium in Eugene. Seriously impressive. Mascots aside, the Oregon Ducks’ Week 1 showing was everything fans were hoping for and a little bit more. Scratch that — a whole lot more. In their highly-anticipated season opener, the Ducks scored the most points in a modern-era game and broke the scoring record at Autzen.

Between the tackles and scoring fusillade, there were plenty of signs that this motivated Oregon team, bubbling over with talent and panache, has the goods to get where they want to go. Here are five key takeaways from this weekend’s game:

Stein Time: The debut of the Ducks’ new offensive coordinator Will Stein was nothing short of eye-popping, guiding the Ducks to 729 yards of total offense, the most in the FBS after Week 1. Nice to meet you, Mr. Stein. The former UTSA offensive coordinator’s football mind dovetails nicely with Oregon head coach Dan Lanning‘s philosophy — downhill run game, quick outs in open space and plenty of home run shots throughout the game. Oregon had 38 first downs (10th in FBS), 11 touchdowns (1st FBS) and averaged 10.1 yards per play against Portland State. All three quarterbacks completed 33 of 38 passes (.868, 4th in FBS) for 381 yards and four touchdowns.

On the ground, the Ducks had 34 carries for 348 rushing yards and seven touchdowns (5th in FBS). Most importantly? No turnovers — not even a whiff. Weak spots? Oregon converted just 3-of-7 third down attempts. Considering they didn’t have many third downs in the first place, it’s probably not as bad as it looks.

Side note: While the third down conversion rate wasn’t great, the Ducks converted both fourth down attempts. The offense looked good against the Vikings, but a harder test comes next week against Texas Tech on the road.

Bo Knows Football: Oregon graduate transfer Bo Nix returns for his final college football season with one goal in mind: winning a national championship. Indeed, the early Heisman hopeful will have plenty to do with the Ducks’ success this season. In his 48th career start (the most in FBS), Nix completed 23 of 27 passes (85%) for 287 yards and three touchdowns before taking a seat early in the third quarter. No mistakes, clean passing and confidence in the pocket — Nix looked comfortable and poised, and he’s just getting started.

Offensive Overload: The receiver corps, led by Troy Franklin and Gary Bryant Jr., looked quick and aggressive, often fighting for yardage after the catch. Franklin led the team with seven catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns and Bryant Jr. had seven catches for 100 yards and two scores. On the ground, Bucky Irving had 119 rushing yards and two touchdowns and Jordan James rushed for 86 yards and three touchdowns. James, primarily a short-yardage back as a true freshman last year, demonstrated he has the speed and explosiveness to break off impressive runs anywhere on the field, including a 36-yard scamper that was his longest on the day.

Oregon’s Troy Franklin led the team with 107 yards receiving and two touchdowns against the Vikings. Photo by UO Athletics

Ty-Breaker: One of the biggest question marks heading into this year was Thompson’s progress after posting a ho-hum 55% completion rate over five games the previous year. Thompson, who spooked easy and struggled to find a rhythm the previous year, looked like a different quarterback against the Vikings, completing 7-of-8 pass attempts for 81 yards and a touchdown, including a 21-yard touchdown strike to Bryant Jr. on his opening drive. Thompson performed his duties well, helping extend the lead and close the game.

Side note: Waiting in the wings is four-star signal caller Austin Novosad from Dripping Springs, Texas, who flipped his commitment from Baylor to Oregon in 2022. Novosad went 3-of-3 passing for 13 yards, a positive sign and a great opportunity for the future of Oregon football to see some playing time.

Clean Defense: The Ducks (1-0) glided through the game with squeaky-clean fundamentals, surrendering just two penalties for 20 yards on the afternoon. Oregon allowed no sacks or turnovers and gave up just three tackles for a loss against the Vikings. On defense, the Ducks allowed just 52 yards passing (5th in FBS) and 148 yards rushing. Oregon’s defense surrendered 200 total yards and a touchdown on 52 plays (13th in FBS), holding the Vikings to an average of 3.51 yards per play. The Vikings converted 4-of-15 third-down attempts. Oregon gave up just eight first-down conversions (T-4th FBS).

It’s hard to really know what any of this means this early in the season against an FCS team, but it certainly reveals a powerhouse offense capable of lighting up the scoreboard like a pinball machine. As they say, more will be revealed. Go Ducks!

Jordan Ingram
Carlsbad, California
Top photo by UO Athletics

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