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Justin Herbert leads Oregon Ducks to 35-3 win over Montana Grizzlies

Five TDs pace Ducks past Griz
Justin Herbert.jpg
Posted at 2:13 AM, Sep 15, 2019

EUGENE, Ore. -- Justin Herbert became the first Oregon quarterback to throw five touchdowns in consecutive games as the Ducks held off Montana 35-3 on Saturday night at Autzen Stadium.

Herbert completed 30 of 42 passes for 316 yards and five scores, two each to Johnny Johnson III and Jacob Breeland, as the Ducks tallied 560 yards of offense against a pesky Montana defense that didn't back down from the FBS challenge.

"I'm disappointed we didn't come in here and get the win, but they have a really good football team," said Griz head coach Bobby Hauck. "They were better on defense than I thought they were going to be, and they have a really nice team. The quarterback is just terrific, and we just didn't have enough for them tonight."

Herbert was fantastic for Oregon, calmly finding open receivers against the Montana defense. Eleven different receivers caught passes from Herbert, who also threw five touchdowns in last week's 77-6 blowout over Nevada.

Still, Montana's defense found ways to force third downs, where Oregon converted on six of 13 tries. But the Grizzlies had seven penalties for 79 yards, including 15-yard infractions on each of Oregon's first-half scoring drives.

PHOTOS: MONTANA GRIZZLIES FALL AT OREGON

After Herbert found Breeland for touchdowns on Oregon's first and last drives of the opening quarter, the teams traded possessions in the second, with Montana forcing a turnover-on-downs after Herbert threw incomplete on fourth down.

The Grizzlies took over at their own 45, and Dalton Sneed found Jerry Louie-McGee for a 22-yard gain that pushed UM to Oregon's 33-yard line. After gaining only one yard on the ensuing three snaps, Hauck elected to let kicker Brandon Purdy attempt a 50-yard field goal against the light breeze, but the kick fell short and gave the Ducks possession with 0:54 remaining.

Herbert led Oregon downfield, then took advantage of a late hit personal foul that gave the Ducks the ball at the 18-yard line. After avoiding an Alex Gubner sack, Herbert found Johnson III for an 18-yard touchdown that put Oregon ahead 21-0 at halftime.

"We missed the field goal and that's on me. We needed to get to the 30 to kick that. ... We had them in our grasp for a 12-yard loss with 10 seconds left, and then we lose our guy in man coverage," Hauck said of Herbert's pass to Johnson III. "Instead of being down 14-0 at the half, it's 21-0 and we're up against it a little bit more. I would have felt better had we been down 14. In retrospect now we didn't finish drives so maybe it wouldn't have mattered, but maybe it would have. Things tighten up when they are a little closer."

After a Herbert-to-Johnson III touchdown opened the second half, Montana scored its lone points on Purdy's 25-yard field goal, avoiding the shutout.

Oregon dominated the game statistically, tallying 560 yards of offense to Montana's 242. The Ducks also picked up 30 first downs, while Montana was limited to 12, averaging only 3.8 yards per play.

Dalton Sneed completed 20 of his 30 pass attempts for 184 yards with one interception. Twelve of Sneed's completions went to Samuel Akem (85 yards) and Jerry Louie-McGee (66 yards), with the latter setting a new program record for all-time receptions, passing Raul Pacheco with 196 total catches. Louie-McGee needs only six yards to break the 2,000-yard mark.

Linebacker Dante Olson, an Oregon native, also impressed for Montana with 14 total tackles, 10 of them solo, against the high-powered Ducks. Robby Hauck added nine tackles in the loss.

"They're a good team. They're an explosive offense, good defense, but we can't be happy with a loss. Not happy about that," said Olson. "Happy about some things, but we're going to go learn from the film (Sunday) and get back after it this next week."

Montana (2-1) returns to Missoula on Saturday, Sept. 21 to face FCS opponent Monmouth (2-1) in a 1 p.m. kickoff at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.