Fresh off arguably their best regular-season win ever, the Ducks returned home to some terrible news on Tuesday morning: Justin Flowe, their bone-crushing linebacker, and Cam McCormick, the journeyman tight end, are both out for the season.
Flowe’s foot injury was sustained during the Fresno State game. He was then announced inactive just before kick-off in Columbus, Ohio, and now, will miss the remainder of the year. The second-highest recruit in school history also missed all but one game last year with a torn meniscus.
When Flowe has been able to get on the field in his short Oregon stint, he’s been worth the price of admission. But health continues to hinder the freshman’s time at Oregon drastically.
As for McCormick, his injury came against Ohio State. On a third-and-8, pinned in their own territory, McCormick found the soft spot in the middle of the Buckeye defense, caught a pass from Anthony Brown and pinballed off multiple defenders. He was taken out of the game immediately with a leg injury, the same injury that head coach Mario Cristobal announced will keep him sidelined for the year.
In 2018, McCormick suffered a gruesome week-one injury that nearly forced him to quit. Instead, the sixth-year senior persisted effortlessly and made a three-year return to the gridiron just to reinjure himself in his first game action. Sad news for the Ducks and especially for McCormick himself.
In just two weeks, the injury bug has decimated the Oregon roster.
Before McCormick’s injury, the tight end room was already running thin with the injury to Patrick Herbert. The same can be said with the linebackers, as Jackson LaDuke and Dru Mathis are both sidelined for significant periods.
Flowe’s injury will give more opportunities for names like Keith Brown and Nate Heaukulani as well as converted safety Jeffrey Bassa, while McCormick’s absence should yield more time for Oregon’s two standout freshman tight-ends — Terrance Ferguson and Moliki Matavao.
All four players filled in nicely against Ohio State. Brown started the game impressively in Flowe’s place while Ferguson and Matavao hauled in multiple catches. Matavao even scored a touchdown for the Ducks.
The two season-ending injuries and the abundance of early injuries will be a gut-punch for Oregon’s depth. Cristobal and offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead have noted through multiple interviews that their offense and team, in general, is one of the deepest in school history. Those words will be put up to the test every game day for the remainder of the year.
For now, Oregon will use a next-man-up mentality before facing off against Stony Brook this Saturday in Eugene at 4:30 p.m.