EUGENE, Ore. — Justin Herbert threw five touchdown passes and the Oregon Ducks held off a pesky Montana Grizzlies team, 35-3 on Saturday night at Autzen Stadium.
Herbert, arguably one of the top quarterbacks in the country, threw touchdown passes of 5, 17, 18, 1 and 10 yards to lead the No. 15 program in the FBS past the No. 20 team in the FCS. But it didn’t come easy.
The Ducks took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, with Herbert throwing touchdowns to tight end Jacob Breeland, but Montana threatened multiple times in the second, including a Brandon Purdy missed 50-yard field goal attempt. Herbert orchestrated a five-play, 23-yard drive in the final two minutes to give the Ducks a 21-0 advantage at halftime.
Herbert finished 30-of-42 passing for 316 yards and the five scores, two each to Breeland and Johnny Johnson III. Travis Dye rushed 17 times for 101 yards for the Ducks.
Montana’s offense struggled to move the ball consistently against Oregon’s defense, which ranks No. 20 in passing yards per game (143). The Grizzlies mustered only nine 10 downs in the game, compared to Oregon’s 28, and were out-gained 560-242 in net yardage.
Dalton Sneed completed 20 of 30 passes for 184 yards, but Montana rushed for only 16 yards on 20 attempts. Samuel Akem caught six passes for 85 yards, while Jerry Louie-McGee had 66 yards on six receptions.
TURNING POINT: The final two minutes of the first half. The Grizzlies moved into Ducks’ territory on the first play of their final drive, with Sneed finding Louie-McGee for 22 yards. Facing a fourth down from Oregon’s 32-yard line, Bobby Hauck elected to let Purdy try a 50-yard field goal that came up short. Herbert rushed the Ducks down the field, finding Johnson III on a broken play in the corner of the end zone.
STAT OF THE GAME: Total yards, first downs. The Ducks tallied 28 first downs to Montana's 12, as Oregon moved the ball at will against Montana, finishing with 560 yards to the Grizzlies’ 242. Montana did limit Oregon on third and fourth down, as the Ducks finished 4 of 10 on third down and just 1 of 4 on fourth down.
GAME BALLS: Herbert. A future NFL quarterback, Herbert was rarely under pressure Saturday night, finding open receivers all over the field. He completed passes to 11 different receivers and eluded the rare Montana pass rush on a handful of occasions. Montana’s Dante Olson showcased his all-American status at the Pac-12 stage, finishing the game with 14 total tackles, 10 of them solo.
WHAT’S NEXT: Oregon (2-1) returns to FBS play at Pac-12 opponent Stanford (1-2) on Saturday, Sept. 21 in California. The Grizzlies (2-1) return to Missoula to face FCS foe Monmouth (2-1) in the Legacy 37 Game. It’s also family weekend at UM, where the Grizzlies look to remain unbeaten in FCS play.