Oregon Spring Game 2022 – Recap

Some would say that the Dan Lanning era didn’t officially begin until today. Recruiting victories, splashy coaching hires and an opportunity for the Oregon program to turn the page were put on display for an Autzen Stadium crowd that hadn’t been treated to a Spring Game since 2019. Traffic outside the stadium was backed up until nearly the end of the 1st quarter with fans trying to get a glimpse of this new direction of Oregon Football.

Everyone wants to talk Quarterbacks. Well, Ty Thompson started for the “Green” team and Bo Nix started for the “Yellow” team. In reality, all 3 of the Quarterbacks (including Jay Butterfield) saw significant snaps in today’s game.

The style of play was more open than the previous few years as the new staff looks more to get playmakers in space, as opposed to ball control on offense. It is a style of play that definitely won over the projected 42,000 fans in attendance.

The honorary Captain for today’s scrimmage was former Oregon Duck Head Coach Rich Brooks. Several former alumni made the trip to Eugene this year.  Among them, LaMichael James, Arik Armstead, D’Anthony Thomas and Haloti Ngata served as guest coaches.

After the coin toss, the Yellow team had first possession. Bo Nix immediately began to make his case for the starting job in the Fall with a 70 yard pass to Seven McGee on the very first offensive snap. After a Sean Dollars run for no gain, Nix again hit McGee who bobbled and still managed to catch the pass for a touchdown. The first drive lasted just 59 seconds.

Thompson on his first snap for the Green team overthrew Troy Franklin in what looked to be the exact same play call as Nix’s first snap. After a mix of runs and passes and an attempted wide receiver pass from Troy Franklin to Josh Delgado where Franklin missed a very wide open Delgado, the drive stalled and the Green team had to punt.

Bo Nix’s second drive for the Yellow team started on his own 4 yard line and in six plays, the Yellow team raced down the field, capping a 94 yard drive with a 39 yard touchdown pass to Dont’e Thornton Jr.

Ty Thompson answered with a 5 play, 70 yard drive of his own with a touchdown pass to Troy Franklin, making the score 14-7 “Yellow” team.

The next series saw Jay Butterfield get his first snaps with the Yellow team. After an inauspicious start of an incomplete pass and an interception to Jahlil Florence, Butterfield was held over to qb for the Green team on its next series. Jay’s series with the Green team was much more productive with a long pass to Chase Cota for 17 yards and a 31 yard touchdown pass to Josh Delgado, which he caught in traffic. (14-14 score)

Bo Nix’s next series with the Yellow team stalled and a short punt allowrd the Green team’s Noah Whittington, a transfer from Western Kentucky, the opportunity to introduce himself to the Autzen crowd. After a couple short runs earlier in the game, Whittington took the handoff from Thompson on the first play of the drive and scampered 45 yards to the Yellow team’s 2 yard line. The next play, Whittington muscled his way into the end zone to give the Green team its first lead at 21-14.

The next few drives of the first half saw more plays by the defense, highlighted on the day by DJ Johnson, who wound up with 7 tackles, 5 tackles for loss and 4 sacks.

The second half of the game had a running clock which was so fast in the 3rd quarter, we counted that less than 15 plays ran that entire 3rd quarter. One of those plays was a Ty Thompson pass which was picked off by Trikweze Bridges for a touchdown to tie the game up at 21.

The end of the 3rd quarter came with the now traditional singing of “Shout,” coach Lanning’s first experience in person. Having 42,000 + in the stands singing, players dancing and waving towels creates a heck of an impression on television and to the visiting recruits.

The 4th quarter started with a Jay Butterfield drive for the Yellow team which ended in the only field goal on the day, 24-21 Yellow. The kicking game in general struggled and was 1-3 in Field Goals on the day. Punter Will Hutchinson kicked for both teams with multiple punts going 60 yards plus. Not to go unnoticed was Bennett Williams blocking one of those punts in the 4th quarter.

Multiple drives in the 4th quarter ended in turnovers including a Keith Brown interception and a Seven McGee fumble. Scoring on the day was capped off by another Bo Nix touchdown, this time to Dont’e Thornton Jr for 70 yards.

Official stats from Oregon for the quarterbacks:

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Bo Nix                     8-15 passing for 230 yards with 3TD’s and 1 INT

Jay Butterfield      16-26 passing for 213 yards with 1TD and 1 INT

Ty Thompson        12-27 passing for 168 yards with 1TD and 2 INT

Rushing Leaders:

Noah Whittington     11 carries for 84 yards and 1 TD with a 7.6 yard avg and a long run of 45

Sean Dollars                9 carries for 49 yards with a 5.2 yard avg and a long run of 16

Receiving Leaders:

Seven McGee              6 receptions for 116 yards and 1 TD

Dont’e Thornton        3 receptions for 116 yards and 2 TD

Chase Cota                  6 receptions for 100 yards

Defensive Leaders:

DJ Johnson                7 tackles, 4 sacks with 5 Tackles for Loss

Bryan Addison           5 tackles

Jackson LaDuke        6 tackles, 1.5 sacks with 1.5 tackles for Loss

Oregon’s kickoff for the 2022 season will be Saturday, September 3rd at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta, Georgia against the defending National Champion Georgia Bulldogs.