The Oregon Ducks’ head coaching debut for Mario Cristobal didn’t go as planned as his new team fell to Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl 38-28 on Saturday.
While the focus now in Eugene is maintaining a strong recruiting class following Willie Taggart’s departure for Florida State, there’s still takeaways from Saturday’s loss.
Let’s grade the Ducks’ performance.
Justin Herbert led the Ducks in both passing and rushing — that’s not a trend Oregon wants holding true for a quarterback who’s already suffered a broken collarbone next year.
Herbert was 26-of-36 passing for 233 yards and 2 touchdowns, but he did a pair of interceptions as well that included a pick-six.
Cristobal was promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach, so the Ducks’ showing offensively in his debut is disappointing.
“We didn’t perform well enough tonight and we know that,” Cristobal said, per The Oregonian . “It’s disappointing from that standpoint.”
From a yardage standpoint, Oregon’s defense coughed up 476 total yards including 369 through the air.
Not atrocious, but not great either. Ultimately, the Ducks are judged by the 31 points they gave up, and that’s just too many points for an offense that was struggling.
However, the Ducks did have a few bright spots on defense.
Pro Football Focus highlighted Arrion Springs’ outing.
The game may not have gone their way – but Oregon CB Arrion Springs showed off impressive coverage skills in the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday. pic.twitter.com/u6nLarnh6M
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) December 17, 2017
Tyree Robinson also had an interception return for a touchdown on a failed Statue of Liberty attempt by Boise State.
Special Teams: B+
No news is good news on the special teams front for the Ducks.
There weren’t any huge gaffes, and Aiden Schneider knocked through all of his extra points. The only criticism levied can be at Ducks’ punter Adam Stack, who had 8 punts on the day yet not a single one of them downed inside the 20-yard line.
Oregon’s offense looked stale despite the extra time to prepare for Boise State, while the Ducks’ defense just couldn’t keep points off the board consistently.
When both units are outplayed, that’s on the coaching staff. Afterwards, Cristobal made no excuses.
“We felt we really had one of our best weeks of preparation,” Cristobal said. “We really can’t make an excuse of anything.”
Cristobal’s performance as a head coach isn’t truly judged on the Ducks’ loss to the Broncos. It’ll be judged on his ability to keep an elite recruiting class intact.
Still, Saturday wasn’t the start Oregon fans envisioned for the new era.
The post Grading Oregon’s loss to Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl appeared first on Diehards.
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