I’m trying to find a backup plan to get my football fix because all this time I’ve spent in the press box and finishing the game on the sidelines for the past three games has left me spoiled. Hell, I wasn’t even hungry but I made sure I ate each catered course I was offered.
Oregon Athetlics Department probably won’t be inviting Eugene Weekly back into the press box. They want to make sure there’s enough room for the big dogs of media. I guess I’m so bad at sports, I’ve found a way to get cut from covering sports.
Honestly, it’s not like I’m asking for a $1 million to play in a game that is supposed to be a public display of domination. But, if I were San José State, University of Oregon would’ve given it to me. Reporting from SF Chronicle shows UO gave that to San José State to play a game of football — a common practice in college football. Whether you want to call it a “body bag game” or “cupcake games,” it’s a cool $1 million to bring in a team that didn’t interest fans to fill Autzen Stadium.
Now, there was never any question that No. 20 Oregon’s current winning streak would be jeopardized by San José State (although my knack for supporting the underdog had me clapping for San José State). But some moments occurred that made it a win with questions of whether Oregon is ready to face Stanford in prime time on ESPN next week.
The way Coach Mario Cristobal and Justin Herbert (QB) described the game during the post-game press conference was that it was an inconsistent performance.
Those inconsistencies magnified the warts of the game, Cristobal said.
Herbert threw two interceptions (one that should have been a scoring opportunity) and overthrew passes throughout the game.
The faults of Oregon were evident when Herbert tried to lead Oregon in a long drive before the end of the second quarter. Rather than kill the clock and go into halftime, Herbert and company tried to move the ball in a drive that would require burning through 80 yards.
Oregon almost did it. What stopped Herbert was trying to force a touchdown pass, which resulted in an interception by San José’s Dakari Monroe.
Arrogant play calling emerged again when Herbert tried to throw a deep pass for a touchdown on third down with nine yards to go. Oregon luckily avoided embarrassment when Herbert connected to Johnny Johnson, III on fourth down for a touchdown.
Oregon’s special teams were also playing poorly, which is partly due to Oregon not playing their usual-starting kicker. The absence came out to haunt Oregon, most notably when San José blocked an Oregon field goal attempt.
That’s not all. During the fourth quarter, San José’s Thai Cottrell ran right past Oregon’s kicking team on a kickoff that resulted in a 95-yard reception. Oregon’s defense, however, managed to keep San José from scoring a touchdown.
Oregon demonstrated a lack of discipline as well despite Cristobal’s insistence that they were cutting down on penalties made. Oregon had a total of six penalties for a total of 59 yards during the game, undoing any progress they had the past two games of tightening up their discipline. And it ruined some otherwise good opportunities.
At the start of the second half, Oregon put some pressure on San José State. This led to a prolonged chase of attempting to sack the quarterback in one play. The next play, however, led Oregon to snag an interception. This was compromised after Oregon received a roughing the passer penalty.
Oregon discipline faltered again when San José tried to get a first down on fourth down. What would’ve been a turnover resulted in a defensive hold penalty giving San José a first down and — a few plays later — a touchdown.
At the end of the third quarter, Tony Brooks-James’ kickoff touchdown reception got ruined by a holding penalty — ruining a scoring opportunity.
This year’s team and coach have had the benefit of playing teams with lower talent rosters although Cristobal has said in the past that doesn’t give Oregon an advantage.
If Oregon plays the No. 7 Stanford with the similar attitude showcased against San José, it’ll end up being bad news. In other words, to quote Count Dooku before his duel with Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, twice the pride, double the fall.
It’s gonna hurt for Oregon because next week is the big show. It’s ESPN’s College Gameday, and the U.S. will be watching.