The Ducks Present Spring Game Show

EUGENE, Oré. — The curtain has risen on Dan Lanning era of Oregon football on Saturday, and what a show the Ducks put on for their fans.

Three OU quarterbacks combined for five touchdown passes in the annual spring game, including three for more than 30 yards, while the defense forced five turnovers. If explosive plays and takeout are the biggest X-factors in college football today, as Lanning later said, the Ducks provided a hopeful prelude Saturday to the upcoming 2022 season.

And they did it with dozens of former students on the sidelines and tens of thousands of fans in the stands at the Autzen stadium. Even Mother Nature seemed to get the memo that it was “Duck Day” around the OU’s athletic department, with sunshine bathing the crowd in attendance for the Spring Game.

“What a great atmosphere,” said Lanning, who was named Oregon’s new head coach in December. “That’s why you’re coming to Oregon. So excited to have our alumni back and our fans supporting us.”

All eyes were on the quarterbacks as the Ducks looked to identify a new starter. To transfer Bo Nix may have shown his experience in getting off to a quick start – his yellow team opened the game with a reception from 70 meters by Seven McGeewho caught the first touchdown pass of the game two plays later.

Nix would throw two more game-scoring passes in the afternoon, a 39-yard dart to Don’t Thornton later in the first quarter, and a 70-yard bomb to Thornton in the fourth quarter that iced a 31-21 win for Team Yellow.

“It was awesome,” said Nix, a transfer from Auburn. “With such a crowd, it was an impressive spring game. I didn’t expect it. The atmosphere was fun.”

2022 Oregon Football Spring Game at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon on April 23, 2022 (Eric Evans Photography)

The younger quarterbacks were slower to start, but also had their moments. Ty Thompson got Team Green on the board late in the first quarter with a TD pass to troy franklin, capping a drive on which Thompson was 4 of 4 for 75 yards. And Jay Butterfield rebounded from an interception on his first drive with a 31-yard pass to josh delgado which tied the match 14-14 at the start of the second.

“Obviously you have to respond,” Butterfield said. “That’s what they preach here. If you make a mistake, how are you going to bounce back?”

Every quarterback has had at least one touchdown pass. Each also had at least one interception.

“I feel like I have a good idea of ​​what I need to improve on and what I did well,” Thompson said.

2022 Oregon Football Spring Game at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon on April 23, 2022 (Eric Evans Photography)

Trikweze Bridges returned an interception for a touchdown to open the second half, and DJ Johnson led all defensemen with seven tackles, including four sacks. JJ Greenfield had one of the interceptions, forced a fumble late in the scrum, and also downed a punt inside the 5-yard line.

Three receivers hit the century mark in yards, with McGee catching six passes for 116 yards and a touchdown. Thornton also had 116 yards, on three receptions including two for touchdowns, and Chase Cota caught six passes for 100 yards.

“I feel like we did a good job widening the field and giving the guys a chance to make a play,” Thompson said.

2022 Oregon Football Spring Game at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon on April 23, 2022 (Eric Evans Photography)

Saturday’s Spring Game was Oregon’s 14th practice this spring. There’s another authorized practice, which the Ducks will hold on Monday to review the issues that arose during Saturday’s exhibition.

These were to be determined once the coaches immersed themselves in the Spring Game film. But in the immediate aftermath, reviews were almost universally positive.

“It’s the best spring play environment I’ve ever seen,” center Alex Forsyth mentioned. “I don’t know what the numbers were” – attendance was estimated at 42,000 – “but this place was loud. And it was really energetic. I thought it was a really fun game.”