Dickson gets back in the act for Ducks
EUGENE — Ed Dickson said earlier in the week Oregon needed quarterback Jeremiah Masoli to return his 2008 form.
Masoli did just that in a rousing, 42-3 upset of No. 6 California Saturday at Autzen Stadium, throwing for a season-high 253 yards and three touchdowns.
And no individual benefited more from Masoli's resurgence than Dickson, the Ducks all-conference tight end.
Dickson finished the game with 11 catches for 148 yards — both career highs — and caught all three scoring strikes from Masoli.
"I want us to get better," said Dickson, who also tied the school record for single-game catches by a tight end, set by Josh Wilcox in the 1995 Rose Bowl.
"Whatever it takes it to get a win, that's what you're going to see me out there doing. If it takes me blocking 10 times a game or it takes me catching 10 times a game, that's what I'm going to do to get a Ducks' victory."
Dickson had been nearly invisible in the passing game during Oregon's first three games, recording just four catches for 58 yards.
There was a concerted effort to get Masoli going early following his 4-for-16 performance in last week's win against Utah.
There was also an effort to make sure Dickson became a more sought-after target.
"Our deal, and this sounds stupid, our deal going into the game was execute base passing game — protect, throw, catch," Oregon offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich said. "(Masoli and Dickson) did a great job of that at the start of the game, and that really complimented our run game."
And once they got rolling, the Ducks couldn't be stopped.
"It's scary how good we can be when we eliminate the penalties and mistakes," Dickson said. "But if we get a man on a man, we can do a lot of things"
DESPITE THE FINAL result, the game got off to a brutal start for the Ducks.
Walter Thurmond III, the Ducks' All-American candidate at cornerback and top return man, fumbled and injured his knee on the opening kickoff when he was upended by the Golden Bears' Chris Moncrease.
Cal recovered the loose ball at the UO 22-yard line and went on to score a field goal.
Thurmond was tended to by trainers on the bench and didn't return to the game. He wasn't in pads for the second half and had a heavy brace on his right knee.
"We'll have a doctor appointment (today)," said UO coach Chip Kelly, who added he didn't think it would keep Thurmond from playing next week against Washington State.
Two weeks ago, Thurmond returned an interception for a touchdown against Purdue. Last week against Utah, he scored on a punt return.
Willie Glasper took over for Thurmond at cornerback and had four tackles, including one for a loss of yards.
"The play of Willie Glasper today was tremendous when Walter went down," Kelly said.
The Oregon secondary was also without safety T.J. Ward for the third straight game, due to a high ankle sprain.
"I'd sure like to be playing with Walter and T.J.," Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti said. "No offense to the other guys, but it's nice to be at full strength."
QUARTERBACK NATE COSTA played in his first game in 1,035 days two weeks ago against Purdue when he took the field as the Ducks' holder on kicks.
Saturday, three seasons after his last appearance under center, Costa saw some action on offense, taking over for Jeremiah Masoli with 12:45 left to play.
"It's a good feeling; it's been a long road," said Costa, who had a season-ending knee injury in 2007 when he was the third-string QB, and again in August 2008, when he was the presumptive starter heading into the season.
Against Cal, the 6-foot, 215-pound junior went 4-for-7 for 35 yards. He also netted three yards on three carries.
"I didn't get much of a chance to warm up, but I took care of my opportunities and, for the most part, felt pretty good about it," Costa said.
Costa's last game was against USC in 2006 when he completed both of his passes for 22 yards in garbage time.
"I'm always nervous before a game," Costa said. "You can mark that off the checklist, mission accomplished right there; I got back into the game playing quarterback."
THE DUCKS WORE throwback uniforms on Saturday, replicas of the uniforms they donned from 1996-98, complete with yellow helmet, yellow pants and green tops.
"The team was definitely excited for the uniforms," Masoli said. "I don't know how much it affected our play, but it definitely felt good wearing these uniforms. We gotta keep these. I want to take these home."