EditorsNote: updates to Oregon had nine rushing touchdowns
Oregon overwhelms Southern Utah in Tagart’s debut
The Willie Taggart era could not have gotten off to a better start for Oregon.
Tony Brooks-James took the opening kickoff back 102 yards for an early 7-0 lead as Taggart’s new-look Ducks began their season with a 77-21 dismantling of visiting Southern Utah on Saturday night in Eugene, Ore.
It was the Ducks’ first game under new coach Taggart.
Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert completed 17 of 21 passes for 281 yards and one touchdown. Royce Freeman showed why he is considered one of the best running backs in the nation with 150 yards on 23 carries and four scores.
After Brooks-James scored to start the game, Southern Utah, an FCS school, marched down the field to tie the game on a 4-yard Patrick Tyler rushing touchdown.
The Ducks then pulled away, scoring on five of their next seven drives for a 42-7 lead. Tight end Jacob Breeland got the scoring started with a 20-yard touchdown catch from Herbert before Freeman ended it with a 16-yard rushing score.
Oregon led 42-21 at the break as Southern Utah took advantage of a Ducks defensive breakdown and turnover to score the final 14 points of the half.
Tyler threw a 64-yard pass to Landen Measom for one score, and James Felila ran 4 yards for the other.
The Ducks regained their footing in the second half as they outscored Southern Utah 35-0. Oregon running back Kani Benoit finished the game with 107 rushing yards and three scores.
Tyler finished the game 18 of 34 for 197 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Oregon’s nine rushing touchdowns and 77 points scored are both Autzen Stadium records.
Oregon will face Nebraska next Saturday in Eugene, Ore.