by Rob Moseley
BOULDER, Colo. — Oregon regularly deployed offensive packages using two tight ends in Saturday's 57-16 win at Colorado, ironically in a game starter Colt Lyerla missed due to suspension.
Lyerla was not on the trip and missed his second game in the last three. UO coach Mark Helfrich confirmed to media following the game that Lyerla was serving a one-game suspension for an undisclosed violation of team rules, and would be back with the Ducks as of Sunday.
In his absence, both sophomore Pharaoh Brown and freshman Johnny Mundt started the game on offense. Playing in his second game back from a foot injury, Brown caught his first pass of the season, a 24-yard gain in the third quarter as the Ducks were driving to their final score of the game.
"It's nice to be back," said Brown, who had a breakout performance in the spring before being injured. "Sitting out a whole month of fall camp, just watching football and not being able to play, it's good just to be back running around."
Brown said the Ducks have practiced sets with multiple tight ends regularly in recent weeks. Mundt caught one pass for 13 yards and dropped another in the end zone. The two were on the field together blocking on four straight run plays during Oregon's first touchdown drive of the second half.
Younger tight ends Evan Baylis and Koa Ka'ai also made it onto the field Saturday. But given Lyerla's absence, the Ducks have had their top three tights ends — Lyerla, Brown and Mundt — together for just one game, the win over California.
Thus, it's still left to speculation how the Ducks might use them if and when they're all available on a regular basis.
"It's kind of hard, but at the same time that's the scary part — when we are fully healthy with me, Colt and Johnny, how we'll be," Brown said. "We haven't been that way all season, but I'm waiting to see it as well."
The Ducks also welcomed back receiver Eric Dungy on Saturday. The junior had missed the first four games of the season with a minor injury, before making his debut in the second half against the Buffaloes — complete with first-game jitters.
"It was a good nervous," Dungy said. "I feel like when you're not nervous, that means you don't have a lot invested. The first couple games I wasn't really nervous because I knew I was out for the game. It felt good to have that little butterfly feeling."
Dungy said he was cleared to play against California but was held out due to the cold, wet conditions.
"A lot of people were very stiff on the sideline," he said. "I wanted to play, but just kind of how the circumstances went, it didn't work out."