For the first time this season, Jared Goff looked rattled. An expected monsoon plagued the Pac-12 opener between Oregon and California and the Golden Bear offense was nothing short of sloppy. Six was the total number of turnovers (five on California) in the first half and it was a mere complement to the plethora of dropped passes and fumble recoveries that transpired in the first 30 minutes of the game.
But aside from the extreme weather conditions and inactivity of the California offense, the early game injury suffered by De’Anthony Thomas was the biggest question at issue. Following what appeared to be an ankle sprain on the first return of the game, Thomas didn’t return for the remainder of the first half, which left the running duties to Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner. They answered.
In response to Thomas’ injury, the Ducks scored 41 points and recorded 291 yards of offense. Marshall eclipsed the century mark with 103 yards on 16 carries for two touchdowns, while Mariota recorded 33 yards on six carries for a touchdown. In the air, Mariota remained unflustered — despite dropped passes by receivers — as he threw 11-22 for 114 yards for two touchdowns.
On the other side, it was a self-game of keep away as the offensive struggles for California led to a switch up at quarterback early in the second quarter. Before being replaced by Zach Kline, Goff was 3-of-6 for 11 yards and simply had no confidence behind his throws. As a team, California forcefully had no rhythm and was held under 150 yards by an active Oregon defense.
What to look for in second half
Running game: Following a presumably game-ending injury for Thomas, how will the Ducks running back core respond? While a blowout has already been written, look out for Marshall and Tyner as they share the duties in the backfield.
California offense: The game may already be out of hand, but that doesn’t mean the California offense can’t recover. Will California be able to put some numbers on the board, or will they exit with a lone field goal?