The wait is over.
Since the beginning of fall camp, many have anticipated the debut of freshman running back Thomas Tyner.
In today’s 59-10 victory over the Virginia Cavaliers, the world finally got to see why the heavily-recrutited Aloha, Ore. native is constantly being mentioned as a potential spark in Oregon’s already explosive offense.
Tyner took to the field in the fourth quarter — admittedly after the game was in the bag — and scored his first ever career touchdown. After a Dior Mathis interception and return that went all the way to Virginia’s three-yard line, Tyner lined up behind back-up quarterback Jeff Lockie and rushed for three yards into the end zone facing the Oregon section.
After a recent legacy of Oregon running backs fans have witnessed in the past few years, Duck fans in Scott Stadium got a glimpse into the future of the program in Tyner.
However, the 5-11, 201 pound running back was not done yet.
Just a minute later, Tyner had two more carries, just before a monstrous run to tack on Oregon’s last touchdown. His second touchdown — behind a huge push and solid blocks from the second string offensive line — came from 31-yards out. He finished the game with 51 yards off of four carries in under one quarter of play.
“I was waiting to go in the whole game,” Tyner said.
Mark Helfrich called Tyner a “natural” runner and was impressed by his first performance.
“I thought that his zone cut on his longer touchdown was a natural cut,” Helfrich said. “Either guys have that or they don’t. Gary Campbell is an incredible running back coach, but you can’t teach that feel, so that was amazing.”
When asked if he feels any pressure, Tyner stated that as long as he knows what he’s doing he doesn’t put pressure on himself.
Despite a talent level that seems up to par with Oregon standards over the Chip Kelly era, Tyner did admit that the adjustment from high school to the college level game has not come easy.
“The size and speed is definitely a change from high school to college,” Tyner said.
Tyner, who was seen walking in a boot in pre-season practices, said the experience of scoring his first touchdown was just what he expected.
“I felt good, I felt healed up, I felt 100 percent,” Tyner said.