No. 25 Oregon lost 34-17 to No. 10 Iowa State in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday. The Ducks had a season-high five turnovers in the loss, did not score in the second half of the game, and only had the ball for 17:12.
Both Ducks quarterbacks Tyler Shough and Anthony Brown saw action. Brown went 12-19 with 147 yards, and Shough was 7-9 for 79 yards. Brown scored the Ducks’ only two touchdowns on running plays in the red zone, including a 6-yard run to cap a 98-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter.
After the game, Oregon Coach Mario Cristobal said “obviously, we didn't play up to our standard. Certainly, it is a game of execution and a critical situation. We didn't coach well enough or didn't execute well enough.” Cristobal added that while it was a great feat to get to a bowl game despite the challenges of the pandemic, “we were disappointed. We were disappointed by the way we played, the way we coached, and the result. That's not what we came here to do. We didn't come here to participate, we came here to win.”
The loss capped a season where several Pac-12 teams had to cancel games after COVID-19 testing and contact tracing protocols left them without enough eligible players. The Ducks remained healthy and eligible to play, though they did have their Dec. 12 game against Washington canceled after a COVID-19 outbreak within the Huskies’ program.
Cristobal said the entire Oregon program should be commended for how they navigated their season. He said the fact that the team was ready to play all games was because “our guys did an unbelievable job with the protocol. The training staff, the athletic staff, the entire organization did a great job with that. And because of that, gave ourselves an opportunity to play for the conference title and get that win and come over here and play.”
Despite the loss, Cristobal said there’s a lot of pride in how they handled this unusual season that almost didn’t happen at all. “When you take all of those things into account, being able to play, being able to play safely, being able to get over here, certainly something that we take great pride in. Just disappointed in the result.”
The Ducks ended the season 4-3.
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