Oregon-Virginia grades: Prukop nearly flawless in Ducks win
Oregon Ducks 44, Virginia Cavaliers 26
Here are the biggest takeaways and highest-graded players from the Oregon Ducks’ 44-26 victory over the Virginia Cavaliers:
Quarterback grade: Dakota Prukop, 79.0
Quarterback Dakota Prukop was nearly flawless against Virginia, as he had only four inaccurate passes on 28 aimed attempts. In addition, he spread the ball around and completed passes outside the numbers as well as downfield. In fact, he completed three of his five pass attempts that traveled 20 yards or more in the air and gained 154 yards on these, including a touchdown. Prukop was unstoppable on this evening, which is also highlighted by the fact that he was just as good under pressure as when he could operate from a clean pocket.
Top offensive grades:
RB Royce Freeman, 86.1
OG Cameron Hunt, 74.6
WR Darren Carrington II, 72.8
OT Calvin Throckmorton, 71.6
OG Doug Brenner, 70.7
Freeman runs for more than 200 yards in electric performance
Even though Prukop led a very effective passing attack, it was running back Royce Freeman who was Oregon’s best offensive player on this day. Freeman was able to take advantage of the large gaps that the offensive line provided and he ran through Virginia’s linebackers and defensive backs, forcing seven missed tackles on 20 carries en route to 207 rushing yards. The Ducks won the battle inside the tranches, due mainly to excellent run blocking by guards Cameron Hunt and Doug Brenner. As a result, Oregon runners averaged 9.0 yards per carry inside the tackles, compared to 4.3 yards per carry outside the tackles.
Top defensive grades:
S Brenden Schooler, 78.5
CB Arrion Springs, 77.4
S Khalil Oliver, 76.6
DI Austin Maloata, 72.6
S Fotu T. Leiato II, 71.7
Oregon defense shuts down Virginia passing attack
The Ducks held the Cavaliers to only 21 completions and five yards per pass attempts. Cornerback Arrion Springs led the way in coverage as he allowed only two receptions on eight targets and even those catches went for just a total of eight yards. In addition, safeties Brenden Schooler and Khalil Oliver both picked off Virginia quarterback Kurt Benkert by showing their range and making a play on sideline throws after starting the play in the middle of the field.
Quarterback grade: Kurt Benkert, 60.6
Benkert had relative success on short and intermediate passes; however, he struggled when it came to extending the field and making deep throws. While both his touchdown passes traveled less than 10 yards in the air, two of his five deep passes were picked off. In addition, he struggled under pressure all game long as he gained only 1.3 yards per attempt on passes under pressure and was sacked a total of seven time. While on some occasion the Oregon defense brought the pressure, in some cases it was Benkert who moved off his spot unnecessarily and helped the Ducks get to him.
Top offensive grades:
C Jackson Matteo, 80.9
OG R.J. Proctor, 78.3
OG Michael Mooney, 77.4
OT Eric Smith, 76.3
OT Jack English, 74.4
Virginia offensive line dominates while skill players struggle
Cavaliers wide receivers had an off day as top pass-catchers Doni Dowling and Keeon Johnson combined to drop a total of six passes. However, Virginia’s offensive line played very well and dominated Oregon in the trenches. They were able to open up large holes at the line of scrimmage, which resulted in primary running back Albert Reid averaging 3.3 yards before contact. In addition, starting offensive linemen gave up a mere total of four pressures on 52 pass plays.
Top defensive grades:
ED Chris Peace, 80.7
DI Donte Wilkins, 76.3
DI Mark Hall, 76.2
DI Eli Hanback, 75.2
DI Steven Wright, 75.0
Cavaliers defensive line let down by back seven
The Virginia defensive line proved to be extremely deep as six different players earned a rating above 70 (on PFF’s 0-100 scale). Edge defender Chris Peace led the way for the defense, who contributed in run defense as well, but was simply unstoppable when rushing the passer. He recorded a pressure on every fifth pass-rushing snap and also batted down a pass. Although the defensive line of Virginia was very impressive against the run, eventually they were let down by the run fits and tackling of the linebackers and safeties.