The Oregon offense is back on track
After a disappointing offensive performance last week against Washington, Oregon was able to get their offense back on track in Thursday night’s 61-55 triple overtime victory over Arizona State.
Oregon’s offensive line really struggled to get movement in the ground game against the Huskies, combining for a team run-blocking grade of -15.2, which is a really bad number. Four Oregon players finished with green (or very good) run-blocking grades on Thursday. RB Royce Freeman took advantage of the improved blocking up front with another strong performance (15 carries for 113 yards, 2 TDs, 5 missed tackles forced), crossing the 1,000-yard mark for the season along the way. Freeman is currently the fifth-highest-graded running back in the NCAA, and also ranks fifth in elusive rating, which measures how effective a back is at generating yards independent of his blocking.
Inconsistent play at the quarterback position has limited Oregon’s offense at times this season, but QB Vernon Adams gives the Ducks’ offense a deep passing element that was missing under backup quarterbacks Jeff Lockie and Taylor Alie. Adams finished 4-of-8 for 133 yards and 2 TDs and a positive PFF grade on passes thrown 20 yards or more downfield against ASU. He was also impressive against pressure, earning a positive grade on 17 snaps under pressure after finishing 6-of-11 for 67 yards and a touchdown on such throws.
Wide receivers Bralon Addison and Darren Carrington were Adams’ top targets in the game, and Dwayne Stanford caught a pair of touchdown passes, including the game-tying catch on fourth and goal, late in the fourth quarter. Addison has been the most consistent receiver for the Ducks this season, but a pair of dropped passes kept his overall grade slightly below average for the game. Carrington finished with more than 100 yards receiving for the second week in a row. Oregon’s highest-graded wide receiver in 2014, Carrington has only played in two games this season due to suspension, but leads the team with an impressive 2.64 yards per route run average.
With key players returning to the field, and notable improvement from their line, Oregon’s offense looks more like the explosive unit that we have become accustomed to watching in past seasons. The Ducks will need to be at their best with tough conference matchups against Cal, Stanford and USC over their next three games, but it appears for now as though the offense is back on track.