November 22nd – at Oregon          No. 2 Oregon 44, Colorado 10

No. 2 Oregon methodically took care of business against out-manned Colorado, posting almost 600 yards of total offense in posting a 44-10 victory. Heisman hopeful Marcus Mariota threw for 323 yards and three touchdowns, adding 73 yards and another touchdown rushing, as the Ducks built up a 30-3 halftime lead before coasting in the second half.

Colorado was stymied on offense, gaining only 226 yards of total offense. Sophomore quarterback Jordan Gehrke made his first career start, and was never able to generate any consistency. Gehrke went 9-for-18 for 64 yards before being replaced in the third quarter by Sefo Liufau. The Buffs’ only touchdown of the game, a five yard touchdown pass from Liufau to freshman wide receiver Donovan Lee, came late in the third quarter when the game was already well in hand for the 10-1 Ducks.

What do you do when you are winless in conference play, a 33-point underdog, and going up against the leading candidate for the Heisman trophy with a decimated secondary?

Start the game with an onside kick, of course.

With nothing to lose, Colorado opened the game with a successful onside kick … and promptly went three-and-out. Oregon took over, and posted a touchdown eight plays later. The Buff defense did force a fourth down, but the Ducks converted a fourth-and-one at the CU 27 with a seven yard pass completion from Marcus Mariota to Devon Allen. Two plays later, Royce Freeman scored on a 20-yard run. The two-point conversion failed, but it was 6-0, Oregon, less than five minutes into the game.

The Buff offense, with sophomore Jordan Gehrke making his first career start, then put together a drive of its own. A nine-yard completion to Tony Jones converted a third-and-six, with Gehrke connecting with Phillip Lindsay for 18 yards on a third-and-ten a few moments later. A 13-yard run by Lindsay got the ball to the Duck 31, but there the drive stalled. Will Oliver, who had connected on nine straight field goals, missed a 46-yarder.

Thanks to a sack by Jimmie Gilbert, the ensuing Oregon drive stalled near midfield, but the Buff offense could produce only a three-and-out. A 39-yard punt by Darragh O’Neill allowed the Ducks to set up shop in Buff territory. It took only three plays for the Ducks to score, with Marcus Mariota scoring on a 46-yard run. With ten seconds remaining in the first quarter, it was 13-0, Oregon.

The third three-and-out from the Buffs in four drives gave the ball right back to the Ducks, with Oregon putting together an 11-play, 94-yard drive to post its third score of the game. Royce Freeman did the honors from seven yards out, making it 20-0 five minutes into the second quarter.

A 16-yard run by Phillip Lindsay got the Buffs moving on their next drive, with consecutive personal foul penalties helping to push the ball deep into Oregon territory. CU got as far as the Oregon five yard line yard, where the Buffs settled for a 23-yard field goal from Will Oliver. The Buffs were on the board, but still down, 20-3.

Four plays later, it was 27-3.

That was all it took for the Oregon offense to score again. Marcus Mariota got his first passing touchdown of the afternoon with a 31-yarder to Charles Nelson.

A three-and-out from the Buff offense (No. 4 for the half) gave the ball back to the Ducks with three minutes remaining in the half. More than enough time for the Oregon offense, which stalled only once inside the Buff ten yard line. A 25-yard field goal from Matt Wogan closed out the first half.

Halftime score: No. 2 Oregon 30, Colorado 3

Colorado had the decisive edge in time of possession in the first half (18:30 – 11:30), but the remainder of the stat sheet belonged to Oregon. The Buffs had only 93 yards of total offense with its new quarterback, to 341 yards for Oregon. The Buff defense did force ten third downs, but the Ducks converted seven of those (with Oregon converting on fourth down on one of the misses).

The Buffs opened the second half in similar fashion to the first … by taking a chance. A ten yard run by Phillip Lindsay and a 15-yard penalty against the Ducks got the CU offense into Oregon territory. There, on a fourth-and-two at the Oregon 40 yard line, Jordan Gehrke was stopped for a one yard loss, giving the ball back to the Oregon offense.

The Ducks, with a 27-yard run and a 23-yard pass completion, quickly found themselves with a first-and-goal at the Colorado two yard line. The Buff defense, though, held, with a fourth-and-goal pass from Mariota falling incomplete.

Sefo Liufau replaced Jordan Gehrke on the Buffs’ next drive, with little success. One ten yard run from Tony Jones was quickly followed by three straight incompletions from Liufau, giving the ball right back to the Ducks.

This time, the Ducks would not be denied. Mariota finished off a six-play, 60-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Evan Bayliss. Late in the third quarter, the lead was now up to 37-3.

A nice 26-yard runback on the ensuing kickoff by Phillip Lindsay, extending for 15 more yards by a personal foul on the Ducks, gave the CU offense decent field position. An 11-yard completion from Liufau to tight end Kyle Slavin was followed by a 39-yard run by Christian Powell. On third-and-goal, Liufau hit Donovan Lee for a five yard touchdown, keeping Liufau’s streak of games with at least one touchdown pass in tact. 37-10, Oregon, with less than two minutes to play in the quarter.

Mariota didn’t even need the two minutes to up the lead once again. Mariota’s third touchdown pass of the game, a 14-yarder to Charles Nelson, made it a 44-10 game with 15 seconds left in the third.

With the game well in hand, and his stats sufficiently impressive – 24-for-32 for 323 yards and three touchdowns passing; eight carries for 73 yards and another score rushing – Marcus Mariota sat out the fourth quarter. Without Mariota, Oregon punted for just the second and third times in the game.

The Colorado offense, though, was not able to take advantage, punting the ball away three more times. Oregon, a team not known for holding the ball, took over with 4:33 to play, and, playing with backups at every skill position, was able to move the ball down the field, running out the clock.

Final score: No. 2 Oregon 44, Colorado 10

The total offense numbers tell you all you need to know about the Buffs’ 19th straight loss to a ranked opponent … Oregon had 597 yards on 77 plays, going for 7.8 yards per play; Colorado had 226 yards of total offense on 62 plays, or 3.6 yards per play. Oregon Heisman trophy candidate Marcus Mariota had a clean stat sheet, completing 24-of-32 passes for 323 yards and three touchdowns, while carrying the ball eight times for 73 yards and a fourth touchdown.

For Colorado, meanwhile, the quarterback play was suspect at best. Sophomore quarterback Jordan Gehrke got his first career start, but completed only 9-of-18 passes, gaining only 64 yards. Sefo Liufau, who had started the first ten games of the 2014 season, came into the game in the third quarter, completing 7-of-14 passes for 41 yards and a touchdown.

On a day when the offense had few positive numbers, freshman Phillip Lindsay did have a productive afternoon. Lindsay had 49 rushing yards, 26 receiving yards, and another 142 in kickoff returns, giving him 217 all-purpose yards for the game.

– Game Notes –

– Nelson Spruce was held to a season-low two catches (for 16 yards), but the junior became the first player in CU history with over 100 catches, upping his total for the season to 101. Spruce also became just the six player in Pac-12 history to surpass the 100-catch mark in a season;

– Senior cornerback Greg Henderson made his 44th career start, the most by a defensive back in Colorado history (old mark: 43, by Victor Scott, 1980-83);

– Will Oliver was good on his only extra point attempt, adding to his career record of 98 straight extra points;

– Freshman wide receiver Donovan Lee scored his first career touchdown against the Ducks. Lee also had an 11-yard reception, his longest of the season;

– With his seven kickoff returns for 142 yards, freshman Phillip Lindsay upped his season total to 789, the fourth-most in school history;

– In addition to Jordan Gehrke, red-shirt freshman safety Ryan Moeller had his first career start against Oregon. The last player with walk-on status to make a start for CU was fullback Jordan Murphy (vs. Central Arkansas, 2013). Moeller led the team in tackles against the Ducks, with 14 tackles (13 solo), including a tackle for loss.

2 Replies to “No. 2 Oregon 44, Colorado 10”

  1. I was impressed by the play of Ryan Moeller. He has a good sense of where the ball is, and he gets there quickly.

    I think CU should try to bulk him up a bit, and have him play linebacker. Miami, back in the day when they were really good, had safeties play linebacker and linebackers play defensive end in order to get as much speed as possible on the field. CU could use some speed at linebacker, and Moeller could be the the guy.

  2. Ryan Moeller should get a scholarship.hes worked his butt off & I don’t want to lose him as a transfer elsewhere.should be room in the secondary with Henderson & smith graduating.

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