Ducks dominate in Rose City

No. 10 Oregon cruises past Pilots, 85-52, at Chiles Center
By Cliff Pfenning,

PORTLAND - A big third quarter provided some cushion for the Oregon women's basketball team as the No. 10 Ducks won their second non-conference game, 85-52 over Portland at the Chiles Center on Monday.

The UO women (2-0) got off to a halting start due in part to effective defensive pressure from the Pilots (1-1). Oregon led comfortably at halftime, 34-22, but then blew the game open by outscoring Portland 29-11 in the third quarter, fueled by a trio of three-pointers from Taylor Mikesell.

Oregon recorded its 21st straight victory, going back to last season, tying the program record. Erin Boley led the way with 25 points and nine rebounds for the Ducks, who open Pac-12 play on Friday at home against Colorado.

"The first half we looked really out of sync," UO coach Kelly Graves said. "We were just playing faster than we should; give them credit, they put a lot of pressure on us, and we just kind of panicked a little bit."

Portland returns to action with a home game against Seattle Saturday.



PORTLAND - It doesn’t happen very often that the University of Portland women’s basketball program gets a chance to tell the world how good it is, but that’s what’s on tap Monday night at the Chiles Center.

The Pilots play host to No. 10 Oregon at 8 p.m. in a non-conference game.

Portland is coming off an 82-70 road win over Seattle University Wednesday.

Oregon is coming off a 116-51 win over the same team Saturday on its home court in Eugene.

Again, game time is 8 p.m.

Both schools won their conference tournament titles in spring, but Portland’s was the more emotional victory as the Pilots were seeded fourth in the tournament after starting the season picked for last in the West Coast Conference. 

Oregon won the Pac-12 regular season title, and defended that position in winning the conference tournament.

The Ducks were a significant contender to win the national title, something backed-up by the WNBA Draft where the top two picks were from the UO program.

Oregon lost most of its starting roster, but picked up a slew of transfers, starting with junior Taylor Mikesell, who played her first two seasons at Maryland and scored 28 points Saturday.

Sophomore Sedona Prince, a 6-foot-7 center, transferred from Texas and scored 17 points Saturday.

The Ducks return key forwards Erin Boley, a senior forward who started all 33 games last year, and 6-5 sophomore Nyara Sabally, who missed the past two seasons with injuries.

Portland returns junior Hayley Andrews, who led the team in scoring in the WCC Tournament, and sophomore Alex Fowler, who was a first-team all-conference pick last season.

Senior Maddie Muhlheim led the Pilots in three-point shooting, and sophomore Keeley Frawley, who helped lead the team to its first win over Brigham Young in 20 years in January with 14 points.

Junior guard Rose Pflug played two seasons at Pepperdine before transferring to Portland. She had 14 points and eight assists in her first game.

Portland had experience in playing with ranked teams, scoring a win over No. 11 Gonzaga in the WCC Tournament.


Beavers dominate Ducks on scoreboard

It's only 41-38, but it's a huge win for Oregon State
Staff Report

What we learned from UO vs. OSU non-Civil War Game

What a win for Oregon State, beating the Ducks 41-38 with a last-minute touchdown splurge. 

What a loss for Oregon, getting outscored 22-7 in the fourth quarter of a game Las Vegas thought it would win by two touchdowns.

It’s the Covid-19 season for everything, so many people will just think it’ll mean less. It’s 2020, blah. But, there is so much more than just a blah win/loss from the former Civil War game played in Corvallis Friday.

It really is a great win for the Beavers, as is any win over Oregon in any sport, but especially in this season where they could easily be 4-0. At 2-2, they’ve got bowl potential, and the Beavs haven’t been to a bowl since 2013. OSU just needs to beat Utah or Stanford in the next two weeks, and it’s bowl worthy. Call it the Covid Bowl, whatever, it’s still a bowl.

It’s something of a usual loss for the Ducks, who are still lined up to play in the Pac-12 Championship game with wins over Cal and Washington in the next two weeks. The Ducks lose a key game virtually every year, including to ASU two weeks before the conference title game last year, so a loss during the regular season isn’t a big surprise. Maybe it’s helpful for fans of this season to move past the College Football Playoffs.

Here’s the fallout as I see it from Friday’s game.

1. Jonathan Smith is absolutely the right coach for Oregon State

Smith signed on for five years in 2017, but then got an extension in January through 2026, so that puts him in Corvallis for a while. For a program that hadn’t done much since the Mike Riley years, he’s got the Beavers moving in the right direction, which might be the conference championship game in coming years. It’s great to see a team playing above itself, and that’s what OSU seemed to do for much of the game Friday.  Junior Tristan Gebbia guided the offense played well enough to win, and the defense kept the game in line for a win by doing just enough to contain the Ducks, especially in the fourth quarter. A key interception in the fog definitely helped that cause.

2. Jermar Jefferson is headed to the NFL

Jefferson, another junior, has three runs longer than 70 yards in the last two games, and finished with 229 Friday. The 82-yard sprint on his first carry was probably the biggest play of the game in that it matched Oregon’s long touchdown drive that opened the contest. As big a stat as the 229 yards is, though, is the number of carries he got in the game - 29. What college team gives its feature back 29 carries these days? The team had plenty of opportunities for other guys to run as it finished with 44. Six of them were by Gebbia, who got a pair of key first downs on fourth-downs. Jefferson is only 5-10, but he showed off great instincts to get through a line, and has increased his season total of yards to 675 in four games and 91 carries, which is almost the total he had last year (685) on 142 carries, a year after he ran for 1,380 yards. His running brings back the visions of another OSU great - Ken Simonton, who was just 5-7 but finished with 5,044 yards in four seasons.

3. Oregon can’t run the ball or won’t run the ball

Can anyone remember the last great Oregon running back? Someone who was a feature back game after game? Oregon has had plenty of backs get to the NFL and two who finished with more than 5,000 career yards - Royce Freeman (2014-17), and LaMichael James (09-11). But, those were bygone days. The Ducks throw too much for that to happen now, which is always going to be a problem for them handling the clock when they need. Friday’s game finished with a respectable 186 yards on 34 carries, but Oregon simply would not run the ball three successive times for a first down. In the fog that hit Friday, it was baffling to see so many long passes downfield considering the receivers often didn’t see to know where the ball was. To be a College Football Playoff team, and winner, Oregon needs to be able to run the ball better.

4. Mario Cristobal deserves an Al Pacino/Jack Nickolson/Kevin Costner/Sam Elliott-level pep talk

Oregon does not seem very inspired on the field. The Ducks are good, yes, and they can score and make a tackle or two, yes. But when the game gets serious and there’s a play that needs to be made, it’s just kinda part of the flow and if it happens, it does, and if it doesn’t, well, then it doesn’t. 

I see four movies the Ducks coaches and players should view and get some meaning out of: Scarface, A Few Good Men, Bull Durham, and the Big Lebowski. 

At some point, the defense needs to be able to stop any opponent on any play - if the team is College Football Playoff worthy. That seems to be the thing for every UO season - get to the Big 4. But, Oregon just finds a way to be just-enough better than most teams, and then, damn that one play almost-good-enough for the key loss. And, the offense is so tricky, and indecisive. When the fog hit, the plays should have been closer to the vest as in short passes and lots of runs, but there were still plenty of longer passes, including one that turned into an interception in the fourth quarter.

Cristobal is in his third years as Oregon coach and has turned the program into one of the prime destinations for recruits in the nation. So why isn’t Oregon as good as Clemson? There’s something missing and Cristobal is the guy to overcome what that is. Or, he isn’t.

5. The Pac-12 just isn’t that good, so stop whining

When the CFP rankings came out and the Ducks were at 15, it seemed like a bit of a snub from the folks putting them together. But, it seems pretty much spot on, so fans should just refocus on the conference title. Oregon is still lined up for that. The bigger issue is next season and getting all the younger players that seasoning they need for a run at something really big, which includes a game at Ohio State. The 2021 season also includes a game against the FCS Stony Brook Seawolves which is on par with Clemson in that the Tigers always play a FCS team, too. 



College hoop begins in Portland

Pilots taken down by Seattle, 84-72, in season opener
Staff Report

PORTLAND, Ore. – The University of Portland men's basketball team opened the 2020-21 season with an 84-72 loss to the Seattle U Redhawks in the first game of the U.S. Bank Portland Invitational Wednesday night at the Chiles Center.

Ahmed Ali and Chase Adams scored 13 points apiece, while Clythus Griffith Jr. added 10 points off the bench to lead the Pilots.

Portland led by 10 points early in the second half, but Seattle U knocked down 8-of-15 three-pointers after the break, gained a 12-2 edge in second chance points and a 17-6 margin in turnovers to turn the tables and pull away late.

Riley Grigsby scored a game-high 28 points to pace the Redhawks, while Darrion Trammell and Emeka Udenyi added 17 and 12, respectively.

The Pilots and Redhawks agreed to meet on short notice – late Tuesday night – after the tournament schedule was upended due to COVID-19-related issues. Seattle U was originally scheduled to play Idaho Wednesday at 2 p.m. and the Pilots were set to open the season on Friday against Idaho.

Despite the quick prep, Portland came out with a strong early effort and raced out to an early lead. Ali scored eight points out the gates and Griffith Jr. drilled his second three-pointer of the period to give the Pilots a 29-24 lead. Adams spurred a late first half run with a pair of baskets to the push the margin to double-digits before Portland took a 39-31 lead into halftime.

Beavers end up on right side

Late score leads OSU past Cal 31-27
Staff Report

CORVALLIS - Oregon State will take a little momentum into the annual Civil War game with Oregon after getting its first win of the season Saturday.

Tristan Gebbia ran one yard for a touchdown with 4:30 left in the game, and the Beavers produced an interception inside the 10-yard-line with 1:05 left to preserve the win.

Jemar Jefferson ran for 196 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries for the Beavers. His total included runs of 67 and 75 yards.

Gebbia threw for 155 yards and a touchdown, but also had two interceptions.

Cal, which dropped to 0-2, finished with a 439-360 edge in total yards, and 38:06-21:54 edge in time of possession. The Bears ran 30 more plays that the Beavers.

Oregon State's win will help to return the focus on the season to Oregon after its 27-24 loss at Washington last week, which was marred by a pair of late officiating decisions that both went against the Beavers.



Oregon survives against UCLA

Ducks win nervous outing, 38-35, at Autzen
Staff Report

EUGENE - The 11th-ranked Oregon football team overcame a spuncky opponent playing with a back-up quarterback, to post a 38-35 win in Pac-12 Conference play Saturday at Autzen Stadium.

Sophomore Tyler Shough threw for 334 yards and three touchdowns and the Ducks created four turnovers on the way to improving to 3-0 on the season.

One of the turnovers turned into a touchdown on the final play of the first half, giving Oregon a 24-21 lead.

Oregon, which had not created a turnover in its first two games, ended with a 4-1 edge in turnovers, although it's lone turnover was turned into a touchdown return by UCLA.

The Bruins dropped to 1-2 on the season. UCLA had the ball inside the Oregn 40 yard line in the final minute of play, but could not move further. The Bruins ran for 267 yards - 167 by Demetric Felton. 

Freshman Chase Griffin, making his first start, was 19-of-31 for 1954 yards and one touchdown. UCLA set up for a Hail Mary to close out the first half, but Griffin's arm was hit and the ensuing jump ball went only 10 yards before being caught by Oregon linebacker Jordan Happle, who ran 58 yards for a touchdown.

Shough was 19-of-30 on the day. Oregon ran for just 88 yards on 34 carries.

The Ducks return to action Friday against Oregon State in Corvallis.


Can Ducks beat the spread?

Oregon's line to beat UCLA has blossomed to 17
By Cliff Pfenning,

One of the biggest questions for University of Oregon football fans heading into this weekend's game with UCLA probably isn't whether the Ducks can beat the Bruins at Autzen Stadium, but can they beat them by 17 or more points?

And, that's just Friday morning.

The betting line for the Oregon win in Saturday's 12:30 p.m. game on ESPN2 was 13.5 at the start of the week, but it's grown by more than a field goal since. Oregon enters the game at 2-0 and ranked No. 11, while UCLA is 1-1 and unranked.

Oregon is coming off a 43-29 win over Washington State, and won its season-opener 35-14 over Stanford.

UCLA lost 48-42 at Colorado in its opener, then throttled Cal 34-10 on Sunday in a game that was invented after it's scheduled game Friday with Utah was cancelled due to Covid the day before. So, UCLA had just two days to prepare for the Bears, who had their game with Arizona State wiped out to Covid, too.

Obviously, those in the know and with money in hand that says they know what's what, think the Ducks are set to throttle the Bruins and continue their march to the College Football Playoffs.

There is plenty of concern, though, for those who've watched Oregon's two wins, which have concluded with the team having five more turnovers on their side that the opposition's side. Were it not for Stanford's four missed field goals, and that incredibly blown coverage at the end of the first half of the Washington State game, the outcome of both wins might have been drastically different.

It's not hard to think the Ducks could fairly easily be 0-2 entering Saturday's game.

Probably the best thing for fans entering the weekend is that the Ducks won, they simply won regardless of the point outcome. That's the most promising sign for a team of destiny - winning the crappy games. Far too often in the past five years, Oregon has lost those games, and to those specific teams: Stanford and WSU. Who doesn't remember first-and-goal at the one against Stanford and the snap three feet over Justin Herbert's head that turned into a 99-yard fumble return? And, then a loss.

Oregon has played like an Aloha Bowl team for much of its two wins. If Stanford had made all four of its field goals, the Cardinal would have been trailing just 28-26 in the fourth quarter. But, the Ducks also missed a field goal, so there's also points that don't show.

And, Oregon trailed 19-7 with 20 seconds left in the first half against WSU when quarterback Tyler Shough hooked up with wideout Jaylon Redd for a 57-yard pass to the WSU 3. CJ Verdell promptly ran for a short touchdown and that bumped the score to 19-14.

Oregon got the second-half kickoff and drove down the field for a touchdown and a 21-19 lead ... oh wait, the Ducks drove to the WSU 19, but missed a field goal.

The next four drives, though, were touchdowns, and it's that string of scores that likely is still resting in bettors' heads.

UCLA's win Sunday included an impressive stretch of four touchdowns on five drives. But, that was in the first half, which ended 27-10. In the second half the Bruins had one touchdown, two punts and two turnovers on downs. Their second half went the opposite of Oregon's.

So, the line was 17 on Friday. Morning. Can Oregon beat UCLA by 18? Maybe they'll have to win by more by the time kickoff arrives.



Oregonian women's hoop has national respect

Oregon, OSU, even Portland are expected to perform well
By Cliff Pfenning,

As another season of college basketball approaches, women's teams from across Oregon have turned into psuedo powerhouses - now including the University of Portland.

After winning the West Coast Conference tournament last season with a core of underclass players, the Pilots were picked to finish third in the regular season which begins Dec. 28.

Oregon and Oregon State are not only picked to compete for the Pac-12 Conference title, but are among the Top 20 in the nation.

The Ducks and Beavers have not released their season-opening dates.

Oregon was 31-2 and had won the conference title when the college season came to an abrupt end last year. The Ducks graduated the top pick and No. 3 pick as well in the WNBA Draft. But, the returning crew is stacked enough to warrant a No. 10 ranking by ESPN.

Oregon State enters the season ranked No. 18 in the same poll.

Stanford, No. 2, Arizona, No. 7, and UCLA, No. 9, give the Pac-12 a ton of national respect.

Gonzaga, which won the WCC regular-season title last season, begins the year ranked No. 21.

Portland State is picked by coaches to finish in the middle of the Big Sky Conference.



Oregon alums have plenty stirring NFL tales to tell

The best Ducks coming out of Eugene have Hall of Fame on them
Guest post

With Justin Herbert a round one pick this year and Penei Sewell tipped to feature near the top of the 2021 draft, we thought it would be a good time to take a look at the biggest names to have come out of the University of Oregon in the past. 

Football only, of course. Here goes our top five. 

5. Bobby Moore

Moore was a wide receiver in his High School days before changing to a running back in his Eugene. It proved a good switch as in 1972 he became the fourth overall pick to join the St. Louis Cardinals. It wasn’t until he joined the Minnesota Vikings in 1976 that his career came to life though. 

He managed 5,489 receiving yards with the Vikings, and boasted a total NFL haul of 44 touchdowns. The history books will look back kindly too as he made four Pro Bowls and was named in the top 50 Vikings of all time.

4. Dave Wilcox

Wilcox might not have stolen headlines like the next few names on our list, but he still deserves his place here. He joined the San Francisco 49ers after being picked up as the number 29 selection in the 1964 draft. 

His defensive qualities quickly came to the fore. In 1966 he made his first Pro Bowl and by the time he called it a day some seven years later, he’d made a further six. Wilcox was a man mountain of a defender and his presence in the 49ers side was a huge part of their strong performances in the late sixties and early seventies.

3. Norm Van Brocklin

Had the Super Bowl existed in his era Van Brocklin would probably have won it, at least once. He did win the NFL Championship with both teams he represented - the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles. 

He was a round four pick, but excelled himself with his performances making nine Pro Bowl appearances, leading the league once in passing yards and being named league MVP in his final season before retirement, 1960, which coincided with the Eagles winning the Championship. 

On top of that, even to this day, Van Brocklin holds the record for the most passing yards in a game, which was a whopping 554. 

2. Dan Fouts 

Quarterback Fouts was taken by the San Diego Chargers in round three of the 1973 draft, and it’s fair they made a smart call after his 15 season with the club. Fouts contributed from his rookie season, but it was several years later when he really upped his game. 

In 1979, he broke the 4,000 passing yards mark for the first time as he led the league, then repeated that theme for the next four years,  earning Offensive Player of the Year in 1982.

The first three years of that run saw him post north of 4,000 yards each time; prior to that, no quarterback had even managed the feat in two consecutive campaigns. He managed six Pro Bowl games, but a Super Bowl appearance proved elusive.

1. Mel Renfro

Topping our list of the best Ducks ever is cornerback convert Mel Renfro. Like Wilcox, Renfro was drafted in 1964 as he penned a deal with the Dallas Cowboys at the number 17 pick. The selection nearly didn’t happen due to question marks over his fitness, but once on the grass, Renfro wasted little time creating a reputation for himself. 

He had All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors in his rookie season. It was a high bar to set, but his consistency across his career meant he maintained those levels. His first decade in the NFL saw him make 10 consecutive Pro Bowls whilst seven All-Pro nods isn’t too shoddy! To cap it all off, Renfro also helped the Cowboys to two Super Bowl wins.

There you have it, the five biggest names to come out of the University of Oregon. Do you know more names that should be added to the list? Click here to take this College Football Trivia test and surprise yourself with your knowledge!





Justin Herbert -


Mel Renfro -


College Football Trivia -

Oregon in line for national title

Ducks overcome stubborn WSU with stellar second half, 43-29
Staff Report

It was a bit of a challenge for hardcore fans to follow in the opening two quarters, but the Oregon Ducks prevailed in the way they needed to Saturday to make their case for being relative to any conversation involving national champion.

The Ducks overcame three first-half turnovers and won at Washington State for the first time in six years, overcoming the hosts 29-10 in the second half on the way to a 43-29 win.

Sophomore Tyler Shough threw four touchdown passes in his second start and the Ducks rolled up 581 yards of total offense in the win.

Oregon improved to 2-0 on the season heading into a game with UCLA Saturday.

WSU, which led 19-7 with 17 seconds left in the first half, fell to 1-1.


Ducks roll through Stanford

Oregon opens Pac-12 play as favorite, and wins
Staff Report

The magic of Stanford beating Oregon that's happened in the past lasted about seven minutes Saturday night.

In the rest of the PAc-12 Conference football opener between the Cardinal and Ducks, Oregon dominated and finished with a 35-14 victory in the season-opener for both teams at Autzen Stadium.

Tyler Shough, making his first start, compiled 312 yards of total offense and threw and ran for touhdowns to lead the Ducks, who were conference champions last season.

CJ Verdell ran for 105 yards and a score on 20 carries and Travis Dye and Cyrus Habibi-Likio also ran for scores as Oregon compiled 269 yards on the ground, and 496 total yards to help overcome a pair of turnovers.

Stanford amasses 413 total yards and moved the ball continually, but stalled in Oregon territory, which led to four field-goal attempts - all misses.

Oregon missed its lone attempt as well.

The Ducks return to play on Saturday at Washington State, which won at Oregon State Saturday.

Portland State gets ready for its home opener in basketball.


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