Ducks remain undefeated, but second half struggles continue
LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — The NFL scouts came to see Josh Allen face a Power Five team. Instead of boosting his draft stock, the big Wyoming quarterback took a beating from Oregon.
Royce Freeman ran for three touchdowns in the first half and the Ducks roughed up Allen in a 49-13 victory over the Cowboys on Saturday night.
Allen drew representatives from 16 NFL teams to War Memorial Stadium, but it was the Ducks (3-0) who impressed. Freeman ran for 157 yards on 30 carries and turned a screen pass into a 50-yard gain. Justin Herbert passed for 251 yards and a score, and added a touchdown run.
As for Allen, in what could be his last game against Power Five competition, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound junior was 9 for 24 for 64 yards — his second-lowest total as a starter — and a 10-yard touchdown run for Wyoming (1-2).
"If you can get to the quarterback and he don't have time to throw the ball, that's what usually happens, and when you can get to him early, then you start looking at the rush and I thought that's what he did," Oregon coach Willie Taggart said. "He started looking at the rush more than anything."
Allen fumbled late in the second quarter running a draw and Oregon's Tyree Robinson returned the ball to the Cowboys 4. Kani Benoit scored on the next play to make it 42-10 at half.
Wyoming coach Craig Bohl said Allen tweaked an ankle while being sacked on what turned out to be his final play of the game in the fourth quarter. Allen did not meet with the media, Bohl said, because he was getting treatment. Bohl said if the game was competitive, Allen probably could have continued playing.
Oregon: Considering how bad the Ducks' defense played last season, they have to feel good about how much they harassed Allen, led by Justin Hollins and Troy Dye.
Having the offense get rolling early let the Ducks' D tee off on Allen.
"I feel like it contributes to the defense as well," Freeman said. "They get juiced, too."
Wyoming: The scouts' eyes were locked on Allen well before kickoff. They moved like a herd from the sideline to watch him warm up in a T-shirt and headphones a couple of hours before the game to behind the end zone after he and his teammates came out in pads.
But for the second time this season he failed to deliver against a marquee team. Wyoming lost 20-3 at Iowa to open the season.
"We had some good conversations, Josh and I have, as far as about being able to be really focused on the task at hand," Bohl said. "There's a lot of speculation about where is he going to get drafted? What's going to happen? I don't think that that's had the effect. I think Oregon had a good game plan and we didn't play particularly well."
At home against an inexperienced Oregon defense seemed like a good setup for Allen to put up big numbers. Instead, he was even worse. To be fair he did not get much help. He was on the run a lot and took some big hits. One shot to his throwing arm as he released in the second quarter left him shaken up. His receivers did not get much separation.
"He's a big guy. I think a lot of other quarterbacks in the country who would take some of those hits would be down and out for the count," Wyoming receiver C.J. Johnson said.
The bottom line: The last two seasons against Nebraska, Iowa and Oregon, Allen was 48 for 96 for 427 yards, with one TD pass and eight interceptions.
BANGED UP DUCK
Oregon lost receiver Charles Nelson to a right ankle injury in the first half. Taggart said Nelson was in a walking boot, and the team did not know the extent of the injury yet.
Oregon: The Ducks are 3-0 for the first time since 2014 and start conference play next Saturday at Arizona State.
Wyoming: The Cowboys play the second of three straight home games and start Mountain West Conference play Saturday against Hawaii.