Oregon's ground game helps Ducks pull away from Colorado

Oregon takes down Colorado

Oregon outscores Colorado 24-7 in the second half en route to the 41-24 victory.

A delayed kickoff and heavy rain set the stage for unusual circumstances in Boulder. The outcome, however, was not. Colorado hung tough with Oregon through three quarters before the Ducks were able to pull away to a 41-24 victory.

With starting quarterback Vernon Adams out, the Ducks shuffled between quarterbacks Jeff Lockie and Taylor Alie. Neither were spectacular in the passing game as they combined to go 12-of-20 for 137 yards with a touchdown (by Alie) and an interception (by Lockie). Receiver Bralon Addison added a 39-yard touchdown on a trick play. Part of it was weather, part of it was inexperience.

The Ducks were able to survive with their ground game as Royce Freeman and Taj Griffin each broke the 100-yard mark and Oregon totaled 361 rushing yards and three touchdowns from seven different ball carriers.

What the win means for the Ducks: Don't think it's fair to say Oregon stopped the bleeding yet. Call this win a minor suture. There's a lot to like ... at least with regards to the running game. There's a lot to be concerned about in the passing game and on defense. With pass-happy Washington State coming to town, they'll have to tighten up the secondary, which yielded 230 yards and yielded 307 total yards to the Buffs. Then it's back-to-back trips to Washington and ASU before a home date with Cal.

What the loss means for the Buffaloes: They have got to be really, really tired of hearing how close they are. But for what it's worth, they are. The difference in this game was points off of turnovers. The Buffs turned the ball over three times and the Ducks capitalized with 14 points. There's the difference. They get the Arizona schools in back-to-back weeks coming up -- first Arizona State on the road and then Arizona at home. Finding four wins for a bowl appearance is going to be tough. But they certainly have the talent and potential to put a scare into the already chaotic Pac-12 South.

Player of the game: With the passing game struggling, the Ducks leaned heavily on the ground game. And that meant leaning heavily on Freeman. He finished the night with 27 carries for 163 yards with two touchdowns. He also added three catches for 32 yards.

The game turned when: With a 24-17 lead, the Ducks got a critical turnover when Rodney Hardrick got a sack strip on Sefo Liufau and Henry Mondeaux fell on it. The Buffs had gone toe-to-toe with the defending conference champs to that point. But on the ensuing drive after the fumble, the Ducks moved 54 yards on 10 plays and capped the march with a 2-yard touchdown run from Taj Griffin to extend the lead to 31-17. The extra score made a big difference. The Buffs battled, but just couldn't play catch-up.