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Five Takeaways: No. 9 Oregon Beats California 24-17

What to take away after Oregon’s ugly victory vs. California.

Oregon outlasted California 24-17 to improve to 5-1 on the season, but there are still concerns about the direction of this program after the crowd booed the offense during the game. Here are five takeaways to break it all down.

1. Kayvon Thibodeaux is insane

He only played one half of football, but Kayvon Thibodeaux made a major impact on this game for the Ducks. He got 11 pressures on Chase Garbers and completely changed the game at the end when Cal needed a touchdown to tie the game. The poor left tackle for Cal stood no shot, getting beat in a myriad of ways against Thibodeaux. We still have not seen Thibodeaux play for a full game this season, but hopefully we will against UCLA because he is a joy to watch play football.

2. Bye week didn’t help the offense

Credit where credit is due when the offense needed to get going and score points. They were able to do just that in the fourth quarter led by Anthony Brown, with a touchdown pass to Jaylon Redd and a run of his own to put Oregon in the lead. But the fact that the Ducks needed to do that against now 1-5 Cal is the problem. There were still multiple times where Brown failed to make an easy pass or missed a wide open receiver down the field. This is nothing new, but the bye week certainly didn’t fix the issues that the offense had before.

3. Travis Dye can be the No. 1 running back

I had concerns about Travis Dye being able to handle the workload of being the primary running back for the Ducks, and he was clearly able to handle it. Oregon badly needed someone to step up on the offensive side of the ball, and Dye did just that. Dye rushed for 145 yards and got another 73 yards as a receiver. If Dye can continue this type of production, he will keep Oregon in a lot of games against any opponent. When the Ducks need a safety net, they’ll give the ball to number 26 now.

4. Penalties are still an issue

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Oregon had nine penalties for 82 yards — still a major issue that has marred the Ducks all season long. The final drive of the game by Cal was almost a direct copy of the ending against Stanford, with penalties aiding the drive to give Cal a chance to tie or even win the game at the end. Fortunately for Oregon, the defense held strong and stopped them in the final seconds. There were also multiple penalties that were mental errors that must be fixed. Penalties have historically not been an issue for Mario Cristobal’s teams, but in 2021 it clearly is.

5. Oregon is not a top 10 team

Ever since the Ducks beat Ohio State, they have not put up a complete performance against an FBS opponent, and that is simply not what top 10 teams do. Arizona, Stanford, and Cal are not great football teams, and these are teams that Oregon should not be in battle with in the fourth quarter. But that is exactly what has happened so far this season. If the Ducks play the way they have against UCLA, it’s going to be difficult to see them leaving the Rose Bowl with a victory. This team has the talent in them, but until it is shown I don’t see how this team can be ranked in the top 10.

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No. 9 Oregon Squeaks Past California 24-17


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