Woeful special teams prove costly to Oregon Ducks in loss to Oregon State

With the exception of place kicking, Oregon’s special teams have been poor all season and its punt and kickoff return units proved extremely detrimental against Oregon State and may have cost the Ducks a chance to play in the Pac-12 Championship game.

No. 21 Oregon State blocked on punt by Oregon’s Alex Bales, who later fumbled a snap that led to OSU’s second of three straight touchdowns to complete a 38-34 comeback over the No. 9 Ducks Saturday afternoon at Reser Stadium.

The fumbled punt was preceded by an OSU kickoff that Kris Hutson allowed to bounce in the field of play rather than fair catch. The ball bounced straight up and the UO receiver was forced to return the ball.

“Ultimately I think those guys (Hutson and Bales) are going to look at it and you’re going to use them as learning moments,” Oregon coach Dan Lanning said. “You hate to learn in that situation. Some of those are going to be moments that we know that we’ve coached before and we’ve addressed them before and obviously if it still happens on the field, then we’re not doing a good job of coaching that and we got to coach it better. … Something happens more than once, that’s on us as coaches.”

Bales came to Oregon from Cincinnati, where he was a place kicker and handled kickoffs, but recently took over punting duties after a season-long battle between Adam Barry, Ross James and kickoff specialist Andrew Boyle couldn’t achieve consistency.

Oregon (9-3, 7-2 Pac-12) entered the day 118th in punting.

“It matters the most when it matters,” Lanning said. “I don’t know if you ever sit there and prepare for disaster, but you know when it’s not to the standard. It showed up in this game. We had some issues. Those don’t all belong to the punter. The first one we don’t do a good job of protection, have to go back and see what the operation time was. Whenever you’re not consistent and that’s not a strength for you and that showed up tonight; they were much better on special teams than us tonight.”

After Oregon took a 34-17 lead with 14:57 to go, Oregon State’s SIlas Bolden returned the ensuing kickoff 48 yards and a face mask penalty gave OSU the ball at UO’s 36. Three plays later Isaiah Newell scored a 15-yard touchdown to start the Beavers comeback.

“Special teams played a big role in swinging the momentum of the game,” safety Bennett Williams said. “We were definitely in control of the game for most of the game, coming out the second half and then some big plays happened and we didn’t respond and special teams, we kind of drowned, that’s what it seemed like instead of being resilient and going back to our training. It’s unfortunate that that happens the last game of the season and in crunch time.”

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Lazy Cork
Enable registration in settings - general
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart