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29-point first quarter cues Oregon's 16th-straight conference victory



Oregon quarterback Bryan Bennett dodges tackles while running for 43 yards in the opening possession of Saturday's game against Colorado. Oregon won the game 45-2, keeping Colorado winless this season. (Michael Ciaglo/Oregon Daily Emerald)

It was clear from the opening possession of Oregon’s [email protected]@http://www.goducks.com/SportSelect.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=500&SPID=233&SPSID=3377@@ victory over Colorado on Saturday that the Ducks weren’t going to waste any time eliminating what little hope the Buffaloes had for an upset.

The Ducks (6-1, 4-0 Pac-12)@@http://espn.go.com/college-football/team/_/id/2483/oregon-ducks@@ won the toss, elected to receive and marched 80 yards in one minute, 36 seconds to take the momentum, and ultimately the game, before the conclusion of the first quarter.

Junior running back Kenjon [email protected]@roster@@ tallied scoring runs of four and 84 [email protected]@http://www.goducks.com/ViewArticle.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=500&ATCLID=205266631@@, while redshirt freshman quarterback Bryan [email protected]@roster@@ connected with De’Anthony Thomas and David [email protected]@both on roster@@ for a pair of touchdown passes to establish a 29-0 lead with 3:51 left in the opening [email protected]@http://www.goducks.com/ViewArticle.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=500&ATCLID=205266631@@.

“The opening drive was really important to us,” Oregon head coach Chip Kelly said. “Obviously, you’ve gotta go out and kind of set a tone early. I thought Bryan did a nice job running the ball and kind of keeping them off base in terms of what he can do.”

Bennett’s 43-yard run on third and 10 during the Ducks’ opening possession was one of several impressive plays the [email protected]@http://www.goducks.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPID=233&DB_OEM_ID=500&ATCLID=205320859@@ starter made on Saturday. Though he finished with modest passing numbers — 11-of-20 for 156 yards and two [email protected]@http://www.goducks.com/ViewArticle.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=500&ATCLID=205266631@@ — Bennett continued to show that he would have no trouble transitioning into a full-time role with his undeniable athleticism.

Of course, both Darron [email protected]@roster@@ and LaMichael [email protected]@roster@@ were suited up for the game and lightly participated in warmups, but neither was needed against a deflated Colorado squad (1-7, 0-4 [email protected]@http://espn.go.com/college-football/team/_/id/38/colorado-buffaloes@@) that currently holds the worst record in the Pac-12.

Barner’s 10 carries for 115 yards and two [email protected]@http://www.goducks.com/ViewArticle.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=500&ATCLID=205266631@@ led the way for Oregon’s ground game, which saw five players rush for more than 50 [email protected]@see previous link@@. True freshman Tra [email protected]@roster@@ chipped in 11 carries for 80 yards and his first collegiate [email protected]@see previous link@@, while walk-on Ayele Forde had a team-high 12 carries for 54 [email protected]@see previous link@@. Bennett finished with 69 yards on six [email protected]@see previous link@@, and Thomas ran for 50 yards on four [email protected]@see previous link@@.

Bennett said he didn’t know he was going to start until hours before the game, but also added that working with the first-team offense throughout the week helped with his comfort level early in the game.

“You’re always going to have those butterflies in those first snaps of the game,” Bennett said. “But I felt I was pretty calm out there.”

The Ducks extended their lead to 35-0 when junior linebacker Michael [email protected]@roster@@ returned an interception 32 yards for a touchdown midway through the second [email protected]@http://www.goducks.com/ViewArticle.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=500&ATCLID=205266631@@. Carson’s one-yard score early in the third quarter put Oregon ahead 42-0, before Alejandro [email protected]@roster@@ capped Oregon’s scoring with a 36-yard field [email protected]@see previous link@@ less than six minutes later.

The Buffaloes tallied their only points of the game on a special teams miscue by punt returner Cliff [email protected]@roster@@, who was tackled in the Oregon end zone by Terrel [email protected]@cu roster@@ for a safety.

Credit Oregon’s hot offensive [email protected]@changed from “Credit Oregon’s hot start offensively”@@ — the most points the team has scored in a single quarter since putting 31 on New Mexico last September — and Bennett’s composure in front of 52,[email protected]@stats page@@ Colorado fans for the Ducks’ 16th-straight conference [email protected]@i counted@@.

“We wanted to get it over with really early, get after them, and I think we did that,” said Clay, who started for the second-straight game after missing several games with a leg injury.

Defensively, linebackers Josh [email protected]@roster@@ and Dewitt [email protected]@roster@@ combined for 18 tackles (15 solo)@@http://www.goducks.com/ViewArticle.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=500&ATCLID=205266631@@, four tackles for loss and three [email protected]@see previous link@@, as Colorado was held to just 231 yards of total [email protected]@http://www.goducks.com/ViewArticle.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=500&ATCLID=205266631@@.

Senior quarterback Tyler [email protected]@cu roster@@, one of the few Colorado playmakers who was completely healthy entering Saturday’s contest, was knocked from the game with a concussion after completing seven passes for 62 [email protected]@http://www.goducks.com/ViewArticle.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=500&ATCLID=205266631@@. His backup, Nick [email protected]@cu roster@@, went 8-of-18 for 71 yards and was sacked three [email protected]@see previous link@@.

Michael Ciaglo contributed reporting to this story.


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