New-look secondary tarnished by Utah
EUGENE — Oregon went with a new-look secondary on Saturday against Utah.
No doubt the Ducks were looking for new results as well.
Instead, Oregon’s young secondary continued a season-long trend of giving up lots of yards and points in a 62-20 loss to the Utes at Autzen Stadium.
The shakeup included freshman Glen Ihenacho replacing sophomore Arrion Springs at one cornerback spot and sophomore Juwaan Williams taking over for junior Reggie Daniels.
Freshman Ugo Amadi also made his second straight start in place of Chris Seisay, who has been sidelined with an injury since the Michigan State game.
That left sophomore safety Tyree Robinson as the only player to start all four games this season.
Utah veteran quarterback Travis Wilson had no problem taking advantage of the inexperienced Oregon defensive backs.
Wilson, in his first game back since spraining his left (non-throwing) shoulder against Utah State two weeks ago, threw for 227 yards on 18 of 30 passing with four touchdowns. He also rushed for 100 yards and another score.
Even Utah running back Devontae Booker got into the act, throwing a 25-yard pass to Britain Covey in the third quarter.
Oregon was allowing an average of 316 yards passing coming into the night and had allowed 10 passing touchdowns.
The Ducks allowed only 257 yards through the air to Utah, but also five touchdowns.
“We have to get better at all positions, not just back there,” Oregon linebacker Rodney Hardrick said. “We’re not setting edges, we’re not capitalizing on opportunities, and those guys have to grow up fast. I think we will be fine.”
There is no word on when Seisay will return.
The redshirt sophomore, who watched from the sideline in street clothes and with a boot on his left foot, was Oregon’s starter the first two games this season. Last December he started in place of injured senior Ifo Ekpre-Olomu in the Rose Bowl and College Football Playoff championship game.
STREAK CONTINUES: When former quarterback Darron Thomas threw a pair of touchdown passes in a 72-0 win against New Mexico in the 2010 season-opener, it started an NCAA record streak of 71 straight games with a TD pass for Oregon.
That streak continued on Saturday against the Utes, with both starter Vernon Adams Jr. and backup Jeff Lockie getting in on the action.
Adams struck first, throwing a 13-yard pass to Royce Freeman for a first quarter score.
Lockie replaced Adams in the second quarter and went 10-for-20 for 139 yards and a touchdown. He also had two interceptions.
DEJA VU? Duck fans can take solice in the fact that Saturday was just the first time Oregon has lost to Utah at home since 1994, and the Ducks rebounded from that loss to have a transformative season.
The Ducks fell to 1-2 after their 34-16 nonconference loss to the Utes in 1994, then went on to win the Pac-10 and play in the Rose Bowl against Penn State.
NOTABLE: Oregon had gone 100 straight games without allowing a punt returned for a touchdown until Utah’s Boobie Hobbs took one back 69 yards for a score in the third quarter. Arizona was the last team to score on punt return against the Ducks, doing so on Nov. 15, 2007. … The Ducks had their 106th straight sellout at Autzen Stadium with an announced crowd of 57,145. … Royce Freeman has scored a TD in all four games this season.