Two weeks ago, Anthony Brown took the field in the second half to the tune of a booing home crowd. The offense’s inability to pull away from a struggling Cal team and a lack of explosive plays from scrimmage were particularly bitter pills for the sold out Autzen crowd.
Brown and the offense appeared out of sync, a shell of the team that took down Ohio State in early September. They’d go on to win, albeit unconvincingly.
Two weeks later, the booing has ceased.
Oregon flexed its muscles last week, taking down a sputtering Colorado squad 52-29 in front of the faithful. Brown reached career highs in passing yards (307) and completion percentage (80.6), and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Efficiency, consistency and just making the right reads,” Brown said. “It came from a lot of things, but just staying in the groove and continuing to do what I do throughout the week, watching extra film and doing extra things.”
The offense clicked from the get-go on Saturday, jumping out to a two-score lead by the end of the first quarter by way of back-to-back touchdown passes from Brown. He’d go on to add another through the air before the end of the day — a marked improvement from the last few weeks.
Brown led the Pac-12 in total offense for the month of October, passing an average 308.8 yards per game, a significant upgrade from his September average (231.8). He leads the conference in completion percentage as well, at 71%.
“We have been getting better in the last couple weeks in the passing game,” head coach Mario Cristobal said. “I know that Anthony has invested the world into that, and into his receivers and his offensive line, and the running backs as well.”
Brown and the offense have taken it upon themselves to improve, and it shows.
“Well, I mean time, reps, extra time invested,” Cristobal said of the unit’s leaps and bounds. “Certainly those guys spend a lot of time after practice, and then they get together at other times, I think. I don’t know, but I see them all the time getting in the facility late in there, getting reps. That is the kind of guys that they are.”
As the Ducks march into Husky Stadium on Saturday, they’ll face off with the No. 1 passing defense in the Pac-12. Despite their struggling record, the Huskies allow the fewest passing yards per game (146.9) in the conference.
With four games to go in the 2021 season, the Oregon offense seems to finally have hit its groove. As the Ducks, ranked fourth in the College Football Playoff ranking, seek to win out and continue their case for a playoff berth, they’ll need to continue to rely on Brown and the flourishing passing game to capitalize.