Brown throws for 3 TDS and No. 7 Oregon downs Colorado 52-29

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EUGENE, Ore. – Over the course of three weeks it’s been coming together for Oregon quarterback Anthony Brown Jr.

Brown threw for a career-high 307 yards and three touchdowns and No. 7 Oregon had a season-high 568 yards of offense in a 52-29 victory over Colorado on Saturday.

Travis Dye ran for two touchdowns and caught a scoring pass to help Oregon (7-1, 6-1 Pac-12) extend its winning streak at Autzen Stadium to 17 games.

“Efficiency, consistency and just making the right reads all around the board,” Brown said about his progress. “And it came from a lot of things, but just staying in the groove and continuing to do what I do throughout the week, continuing my my process, watching extra film and doing extra things and just continuing that.”

Brendon Lewis threw for 224 yards and three TDs for the Buffaloes (2-5, 1-4). Brenden Rice, the son of former San Francisco 49ers great Jerry Rice, had 102 yards receiving and a touchdown.

Although he was met by some boos from the home crowd early against Cal on Oct. 15, Brown shook off the critics and rallied Oregon with two straight touchdowns in the fourth quarter for a 24-17 victory. The final touchdown was Brown’s 11-yard keeper.

Brown did it again last weekend in a 34-31 victory at UCLA with a 43-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown run that ultimately kept the game out of reach for the Bruins. He finished with 296 yards passing and 85 yards rushing.

“The supporting cast continues to elevate their play, which, in turn, as Anthony continues to elevate his play, his attention to detail, his accuracy, his decision making – all those things cumulatively add up the better play as an offense,” Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said.

Colorado was coming off a 26-3 loss at California. The Buffaloes went into the game in Eugene ranked second-to-last in the Pac-12 for touchdowns and points per game.

The Buffaloes were without All-America linebacker Nate Landman because of a soft-tissue injury. Last week in a loss to Cal, Landman became just the sixth player in Buffs’ history with 400 career tackles.

“I felt that this team played hard overall,” Colorado coach Karl Dorrell said. “I thought offensively we made some some tough plays in some critical moments. We had some fourth downs we had to go for, had to extend some plays and we made those plays. The receivers, tight ends, backs, all, I thought they played hard, ran hard.”

Dye caught a touchdown pass and ran for another in the opening half as Oregon built a 31-14 lead.

Colorado scored a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter to close the gap to 45-29, but the Ducks ended it on freshman Seven McGee‘s 1-yard touchdown run with 50 seconds left.

“I think we showed that when we’re playing our our starters, and when we play and execute, we’re really good football team, can be a really good football team. And I think what makes us good is that we know we can get a lot better,” Cristobal said. “That’s the best way to put it: It’s a hungry driven team. We did some really good things today, some other things that we can do better.”

TARGETING CALLS

Ducks receiver Johnny Johnson III was ejected in the third quarter for targeting on Rice on a kickoff return. Colorado’s Tyrin Taylor was also flagged for targeting and ejected during the quarter.

RICE’S BIG GAME

Rice has his second career 100-yard receiving game. He also had 162 kickoff return yards and his 281 all-purpose yards rank him 13th on Colorado’s career list for all-purpose years in a game.

“The first one I thought I was going to take it to the house, but out of nowhere, I just saw a flash or green or yellow or whatever they are. And I just got hit. I was very disappointed. I was trying to get in the end zone all day,” he said about his returns.

THE TAKEAWAY

Colorado: Earlier this week Colorado coach Karl Dorrell announced that he had relieved offensive line coach Mitch Rodrigue of his duties. Colorado said it would honor the terms of his contract.

Oregon: Former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, now with the NFL’s Raiders, was at the homecoming game and received an ovation when he was introduced to the crowd. It was Mariota’s 28th birthday. … The Ducks also honored WNBA players Sabrina Ionescu and Satou Sabally, both former Ducks. … Oregon center Alex Forsyth missed his fourth game with back spasms.

UP NEXT

Colorado: Hosts Oregon State next Saturday.

Oregon: At Washington next Saturday.

Florida shakes up secondary after dismal game at Tennessee

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Billy Napier is shaking up his secondary after the Gators allowed 349 yards passing – including 247 of those on eight plays – in a loss at Tennessee.

Safety Trey Dean, a fifth-year senior who has started 32 games and played in 54, is out with what Florida is calling a “lower leg injury.” But no one would be surprised if Napier was quietly benching Dean after he made two mental errors against the Volunteers that resulted in 70- and 45-yard gains and set up touchdowns.

Freshman Kamari Wilson will replace Dean and make his first college start Sunday against Eastern Washington.

Cornerback Jaydon Hill will join Wilson in the starting lineup. Hill, a third-year sophomore, will make his first start since 2020. He missed the 2021 season with a torn knee ligament. He impressed Napier and his new staff in the spring but sat out preseason camp with another knee injury.

Hill will replace sophomore Avery Helm, who also struggled against the Vols.

“You talk about what he’s been through from an injury perspective,” Napier said following practice Wednesday. “Jaydon was one of the better players that we had on our team in spring practice. I was very impressed . It’s no surprise to me. He showed pretty quickly here that he’s very capable. I’m excited to watch him play.”

Georgia transfer Jalen Kimber, a former five-star recruit, is now listed as a third-team cornerback. Kimber played just 11 snaps in Knoxville a week after he returned an interception for a touchdown in a 31-28 win against South Florida.

“I like to say we try to eliminate the bad football,” Napier said. “Talking about mental errors, misalignments, poor communication, bad fundamentals and techniques, bad decision-making within the play. … We have a laundry list of things that we need to eliminate each week.

“Last week’s game, I thought we were really close, but there’s 12 or 15 plays in the game where Florida is beating Florida. We’ve got a smart group here. I think they’re very aware of what the issues are, and I think they’re working hard to address those issues.”

Pac-12 looking stronger at top after early-season losses

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When Oregon got throttled by top-ranked Georgia and Utah lost at Florida, it appeared as though the Pac-12 was headed toward another College Football Playoff miss.

One week into the season and two of the conference’s top teams had already failed big early tests.

Flash forward three weeks and it seems the Pac-12 might be in good shape after all.

The Ducks and Utes bounced back with big wins and the top of the conference looks strong, with four teams in the top 15 for the first time since 2016.

It’s still early, but the Pac-12 is putting itself in position to get a team through to the CFP for the first time since Washington in 2016-17.

A look at how the top of the Pac-12 is stacking up headed into the first weekend of October:

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

The No. 6 Trojans (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) seem to have quickly returned to glory in their first season under Lincoln Riley. The former Oklahoma coach brought quarterback Caleb Williams with him to Southern California and they have thrived through the first four games.

Williams has thrown for 1,054 yards and nine touchdowns, adding 100 yards and two more scores rushing. USC’s defense has been opportunistic, leading the nation with 11 interceptions while tied for the lead with 14 takeaways.

The Trojans survived a scare against scrappy Oregon State over the weekend to start 4-0 for the first time since 2012. USC has to play at Utah on Oct. 15, but avoids Washington and Oregon this season.

UTAH

The 12th-ranked Utes opened the season with a tough road loss at The Swamp in Florida, but have won three straight lopsided games.

Outside of a costly interception late against the Gators, quarterback Cam Rising has been sharp, throwing for 954 yards and 10 TDs. Utah (3-1, 1-0) has a physical defense and is third in the FBS, allowing 132.8 yards passing per game.

The Utes also have a veteran team that won the Pac-12 championship last season. The bad news: tight end Brant Kuithe, their leading receiver, is out for the season with a knee injury.

Utah plays Oregon State this weekend and has tough games against USC and Oregon still on the schedule.

OREGON

The Ducks’ playoff chances took an immediate hit with a 49-3 loss to reigning national champion Georgia in their opener.

No. 13 Oregon (3-1, 1-0) bounced back with a decisive win over a good BYU team and outlasted previously undefeated Washington State 44-41 last week.

The Ducks were no match for the Bulldogs in any aspect – few teams are – but have averaged 51.6 points the past three games. Oregon’s biggest weakness is its pass defense. The Ducks are allowing 72.5% of passes to be completed, third worst in the country.

Oregon’s biggest tests left in the season will come in back to back games against Washington and Utah.

WASHINGTON

The Huskies have made a quick turnaround in their first season under coach Kalen DeBoer.

Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. has been superb now that he’s healthy, throwing for an FBS-best 1,388 yards and 12 TDs with one interception. No. 15 Washington (4-0, 1-0) picked up a solid home win against Michigan State and has 15 sacks this season, including eight against Stanford last week.

The Huskies play their first road game at undefeated UCLA on Saturday and have to face Oregon on Nov. 12.

UCLA

After winning at Colorado for the first time since 2014 last Saturday, the Bruins (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) have their longest winning streak since winning the first eight games in 2005.

UCLA had a hard time getting past South Alabama and opened its Pac-12 schedule with a win against the struggling Buffaloes.

The Bruins will find out how good they are over the next three weeks, a brutal stretch that includes home games against Washington and Utah before heading to Eugene to play the Ducks on Oct. 22.