by Rob Moseley
With most of Oregon's production coming on the ground due to Saturday's wet conditions, the Ducks' 55-16 win over California turned into the latest showcase of the UO receiving corps' blocking skills.
Nearly every one of the Ducks' six offensive touchdowns featured at least one dominating block by a receiver, if not more. That skill is a fundamental element of the spread offense, and Oregon put on a clinic against the Golden Bears.
"Coach called a lot of perimeter runs, which is on us, on the receivers," junior Keanon Lowe said. "We just tried to step up. We knew it was pouring rain, so we had to make the most of our opportunities to block somebody."
Running back Byron Marshall said sophomore wideout Bralon Addison threw key blocks on both of Marshall's first-quarter touchdowns. Lowe teamed with Addison to clear the way for Josh Huff's touchdown that made it 13-0, and Huff returned the favor by taking out a defensive back on Daryle Hawkins' TD reception later in the quarter.
Like Huff, Hawkins also found a way to pay it forward, holding off a Cal defender at the goal line on Thomas Tyner's touchdown run just after halftime.
"Blocking on the perimeter's something we're going to hang our hat on, and we've got some tough guys out there that understand the importance of it," said UO offensive coordinator Scott Frost, who helped instill that mentality as receivers coach from 2009-12.
"Josh is the leader of that, Keanon's a tough kid, Bralon's been doing a great job, (as have) Daryle Hawkins and all the rest of the guys. When you can turn eight-yard runs into touchdowns, that's an important key for the team."
The receivers' blocking made up for an inconsistent day in the passing game. A wet football, slick gloves and what Huff said were some miscommunications by wideouts resulted in a 12-of-26 passing day by Oregon, for 117 yards.
Hawkins said success in the run game did open up some routes, such as bubble screens. But ultimately, Oregon's receivers made their biggest contributions of the day on the ground.
"We knew they didn't want to get physical like we are," Lowe said. "We just tried to use that as an advantage, and capitalize on it."