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No. 9 Oregon Squeaks Past California 24-17 in Down-to-the-Wire Thriller

Oregon improved to 5-1 in what was another too-close-for-comfort victory. The Ducks' offense put together two huge drives in the fourth quarter while the defense slammed the door shut.

Pregame

Continuing with a flurry of major injuries, the Ducks saw leading center Alex Forsyth and outside linebacker Mase Funa both in street clothes during warm-ups. Interestingly, both players were featured in the starting line-up presentation before kick-off. Bram Walden and Bailey Jaramillo were also not dressed, and Jonathan Denis was in crutches.

Offensive Coordinator Joe Moorhead did not appear on the field for pregame warm-ups. Instead, he called plays from the box for the entirety of the game. Moorhead is currently recovering from an unknown illness that left him hospitalized last week.

Forsyth was wearing a type of back brace during the game. He previously didn’t play versus Stanford due to back spasms.

First Quarter

Cal was called offsides on the first reception of the game, followed by a horse-collar penalty and blindside block on Johnny Johnson III during a 14-yard run for Jaylon Redd. That set the tone for a flurry of penalties on both sides of the ball. Cal received ten for 78 yards and Oregon received nine penalties for 82 yards overall.

As Cal started on defense, it felt like the Ducks weren’t in sync on their offense. Anthony Brown made throws on the first drive, but his scheme reading began to peel apart on the second drive. Brown was 6-for-8 in the first quarter, with two minimal gain rushes on the sixth and seventh plays of the second drive.

Travis Dye received the first three touches of the game, running for six, then 23, then six yards again. Dye went on to gain 59 yards rushing and three yards receiving in the first quarter.

Camden Lewis ended up putting the Ducks on the scoreboard with a 49-yard field goal kick to end the first Oregon drive.

California quarterback Chase Garbers completed a pass to tight end Jake Tonges for a nine-yard touchdown with less than six minutes left in the quarter. Previously, Garbers was throwing to wide receiver Nikko Remigio with three complete catches and running through Damien Moore who gained 25 yards in the quarter.

California led 7-3 at the end of the first quarter.

Second Quarter

Incompletions riddled both quarterbacks during the second quarter as Brown was 8-for-11, and Garbers managed an abysmal 3-for-8. The third and fourth plays of Cal’s first drive in the second quarter included an incomplete pass to Trevon Clark and Kekoa Crawford.

Brown’s first two pass plays resulted in completions for Johnson III, who racked up 38 yards over those two plays. The leading receiver for the quarter was Devon Williams with 50 yards and rusher being, again, Travis Dye with 48 yards. Dye ended the half with over 100 yards for the Ducks’ 10 points.

Travis Dye rushed for 11 yards to secure a touchdown with less than six minutes left in the quarter. The kick from Camden Lewis was good.

At the Cal 41, Anthony Brown was sacked by Ethan Saunders and Luc Bequette. Brown later ran for a loss of 11 yards in the same drive that resulted in a fumble recovered by Cal.

Oregon led 10-7 at the end of the second quarter.

Third Quarter

At this point, it became clear that the Ducks’ offensive line is stuck in their line-up. Steven Jones made the switch from right tackle to right guard, while Ryan Walk made up for Alex Forsyth’s absence at center. George Moore, TJ Bass, and Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu joined the trenches that stayed till the end.

Cal started the drive with three incomplete passes in a row on its fifth, six, and seventh plays. The six plays for 35 yards ended in a punt back to the Ducks.

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Travis Dye continued to take the brunt of the rush game with minimal gain in the first two plays of the first Oregon drive of the third. Dye only picked up 21 yards in total for the quarter.

The offensive plans for Oregon felt tied to Travis Dye or Anthony Brown rushing. Brown did throw to several receivers, but for incomplete or minimal gain.

Dario Longhetto cleared a field goal after two incompletions from Chase Garbers to tie the game.

Tom Snee saw punting action with two punts over 50 yards for both Oregon drives.

The score was tied 10-10 at the end of the third quarter.

Fourth Quarter

“Shout” began and it’s interesting to note that very few, if any, Oregon players were dancing along. The mood felt very sullen and tense as calls from the crowd demanded Ty Thompson replace Anthony Brown on the field.

Anthony Brown went on to complete a pass to Jaylon Redd for a 20-yard touchdown just under the 12-minute mark. Camden Lewis’ kick is good to tie the game at 17.

Chase Garbers rushes for zero yards to the Cal thirty six, and a holding call is placed on the Golden Bears. This penalty begins a flurry of holding calls against the Cal offensive line.

Anthony Brown rushes on the next drive for an 11-yard touchdown. Lewis’ kick is good again to bring the Ducks in the lead.

It all came down to a red-zone stop by the Ducks’ defense after Sewell and McKinley pressured Garbers into throwing incomplete on fourth down at the three-yard line with a second left to cement the 24-17 win.

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