Loss to Utah puts Ducks in unusual place: Out of the Top 25

Ryan Kang
Utah wide receiver Kenneth Scott, 2, catches the ball during the second half of a football game against Oregon, Saturday, Sept. 26, in Eugene, Oregon. (Associated Press)

There are many Oregon opponents over the years who have probably felt the same way the Ducks do now. Accustomed to being a team that routs its opponents, Oregon got payback of sorts from Utah.

The Utes came to Eugene and beat the Ducks 62-20 on Saturday night. Oregon’s defense had no solution for Utah quarterback Travis Wilson, who threw for 227 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 100 yards and another score.

Afterward, Oregon players and coaches seemed stunned.

“There are a lot of teams in this league that were waiting to step on us like that,” offensive coordinator Scott Frost said wryly.

The Ducks, ranked No. 13 going into the game, dropped out of the AP Top 25 on Sunday, snapping a 98-week run in the poll.

Oregon hadn’t lost so badly at home since 1977, when visiting Washington blanked the Ducks 54-0. Utah scored the most points ever for a visiting Oregon opponent, surpassing Washington State’s 55-16 defeat of the Ducks at Autzen in 2003.

Oregon, 2-2 with losses to Michigan State and Utah, hasn’t had two losses this early in the season since 2004, when the Ducks went 1-3 through the opening four games under Mike Bellotti. Oregon finished 5-6 that season, which was the last time the team had a losing overall record.

A big factor in the loss was Oregon’s defense, which was already under scrutiny before Utah came to town.

The Ducks’ overall defense is ranked 110th among FBS-level teams, with opponents averaging of 474.8 yards a game. Oregon’s opponents are averaging 40.8 points through the first four games, and the Ducks have allowed 301.5 passing yards per game.

“I was surprised,” Oregon defensive coordinator Don Pellum said about the D. “I thought we were where we needed to be, but there are some things we’ve got to figure out.”

Oregon coach Mark Helfrich took responsibility for the loss after the game. The Ducks were off on Sunday, but will return to practice on Monday to prepare for Colorado on the road next weekend.

“Anything that could have gone wrong went wrong,” Helfrich said. “We didn’t play well enough to win. That starts and ends with me.”

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