This certainly isn’t how Mario Cristobal wanted his first game as Oregon head coach to go, nor did the players who lobbied hard for him to succeed Willie Taggart wants this to be how they performed for their new leader.
Oregon’s 38-28 loss to Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl puts a sour note on a 2017 season that, for all intents in purposes, was a success. Losing Taggart as coach hurt, but having Cristobal still here should bode well for the future, regardless of how the Ducks looked on Saturday.
The good thing about the bowl game being Cristobal’s debut is that he’s got a lot of time to build off that result when the 2018 season begins in September.
"We're gonna have to bounce back," Mario Cristobal told the Ducks in the locker room after his first game as head coach. "We've got nine months to get that bad taste out of our mouths." #GoDucks
— Rob Moseley (@DuckFootball) December 17, 2017
Oregon played without senior running back Royce Freeman, who announced earlier in the week he was skipping the bowl. The Ducks responded with only 47 rushing yards, but it wasn’t because they were caught off guard by Freeman’s decision to sit out.
Kani Benoit said UO players have known “for weeks” that Freeman would not play.
— Steve Mims (@SteveMims_RG) December 17, 2017
Running back Kani Benoit, who had just 11 yards on 8 carries, thinks the 3-week layoff had something to do with Saturday’s performance:
RB Kani Benoit said "I just think we had nerves being out a couple weeks. I think we just didn’t shake (them) off in time. We made some costly mistakes that we can’t make."
— Andrew Greif (@AndrewGreif) December 17, 2017
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