EUGENE -- The Willie Taggart Era couldn't have possibly gotten off to a better start. Oregon (1-0) was on the board within seconds of their new head coach's first game as Tony Brooks-James took the opening kick 100 yards for a touchdown, helping the Ducks down the Southern Utah Thunderbirds (0-1), 77-21.
It was a night that saw some make history and others get closer to it. The team ran for nine touchdowns, a single-game team record. Four of those came from senior Royce Freeman. He is now just six shy of LaMichael James' school record for rushing touchdowns.
Three more touchdowns came from senior Kani Benoit, who scored from 10, 29, and 1 yard out.
The 77 points scored by Oregon are the most the Ducks have scored in a single game since they scored 97 against Willamette in 1916.
For as good as the running game was, quarterback Justin Herbert was as efficient as could be, going 17-for-21 for 281 yards and a touchdown. In his sophomore season, he could be the x-factor for the Ducks going forward.
While it was against an inferior opponent in Southern Utah, the defense also showed encouraging signs after rolling over a year ago. That unit shut the Thunderbirds out in the second half.
A much stiffer test will come for the Ducks when they host the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday, September 9 at 1:30 p.