The #11 Oregon Ducks lost to the #3 Georgia Bulldogs 49-3 Saturday afternoon in Atlanta. Oregon fell behind early after being forced to punt on their first drive. The Bulldogs then put together an impressive first drive to take a quick 7-0 lead. After back to back drives with careless interceptions by Oregon QB Bo Nix, Georgia responded on each possession by adding to their lead to gain a 21-0 advantage. One of those Georgia drives featured a spectacular hurdle by tight end Darnell Washington. That drive also ended in an easy walk in TD by QB Stetson Bennett IV as Oregon players looked all kinds of confused.
After Oregon finally got on the board with a Camden Lewis field goal late in the first half, Georgia responded again. The Dawgs once again moved swiftly down the field and completed another touchdown drive with a spectacular TD throw by Stetson Bennett IV to TE Ladd McConkey. The second half was all Bulldogs, as three touchdowns courtesy of RB Kendall Milton secured a 46 point victory for the defending champs.
Oregon moved the ball down the field throughout the first half, with the offensive line and run game looking solid. Five different running-backs split carries for Oregon and combined for 103 rushing yards on the day. Bo Nix struggled throughout the game, throwing 2 interceptions and failing to find the end zone on the day. Nix forced bad passes and never seemed to get the offense fully in rhythm in his Ducks’ debut. Both of these factors led to only 3 total points by the Ducks despite a good showing from the run game and offensive line.
Oregon’s Defensive Disaster
Georgia scored a touchdown on each of its first seven drives. As talented as Georgia is offensively, this was an absolutely horrific performance by the Ducks. The Ducks pass defense did not even challenge the talented offensive weapons on Georgia for the majority of the game. Georgia’s tight end group is as talented as any in the country, but the Ducks looked no where close to even being in the same league as Georgia’s offense. Stetson Bennett repeatedly found wide open targets and faced virtually no pass rush throughout the entire game. The Bulldogs offense had no problem attacking the outside of the field against a slower Ducks defense.
This is by far the toughest test this Oregon defense will face all year, but it’s worth noting how poorly the Oregon secondary looked. Even both Noah Sewell and Justin Flowe, considered by some to be the best inside linebacker duo in the nation, struggled to impact the game in any meaningful way. Oregon must find answers in the coming games on how to contain the edge and play tighter coverage, or the defense will be in for a very long season.
Where does Oregon stand as a program currently?
Oregon has built itself into a solid college football program in the past few decades. Since the 2010 season alone, the Ducks have appeared in two national title games, won two rose bowls, a fiesta bowl, and a college football playoff game. The lone big win missing from Oregon’s resume is a national title. This game on Saturday says everything you need to know about where the Ducks stand in reaching that goal. When it comes to the top teams in the nation, Oregon is currently a league below those teams.
There is still plenty of reason for optimism moving forward with the Ducks, in fact they currently have the 7th most talented roster in the nation according to 247sports.com. New head coach Dan Lanning did not have a good debut, but Lanning has recruited well and already has a stacked 2023 class coming into Eugene that features Oregon’s potential QB of the future. The biggest difference between Oregon and the top level contenders is overall talent and coaching. If Lanning can figure out a way to close the talent gap and develop players at a higher rate, the Ducks can join the elite group of national title contenders.
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