LAS VEGAS -- The Mario Cristobal era got off to a rocky start as his Ducks team was caught in transition during Saturday's Las Vegas Bowl, a contest they lost 38-28 to (25) Boise State. Oregon got off to a slow start, spotting Boise State a 24-0 lead before making a late comeback attempt.
Quarterback Justin Herbert played uncharacteristically sloppy in the first half, turning the ball over twice, leading to two Broncos scores. The Ducks cut into the lead with two defensive scores in the final minute of the first half, including a Troy Dye scoop and score on a Statue of Liberty play with the Broncos on the doorstep again.
The Ducks missed running back Royce Freeman, who didn't play in order to protect himelf for the NFL Draft coming up in the spring. Oregon mustered just 52 yards on the ground and the team's leading rusher was Herbert, who picked up just 16 yards.
Oregon stayed in the game behind strong defense in the third quarter, which forced four straight punts. Herbert and Dillon Mitchell were also on the same page; Mitchell caught nine balls for 143 yards, but it ultimately wasn't enough.
Now, the Ducks have a full offseason to transition from the Taggart to the Cristobal regime, instead of having just a week to adjust. Time will tell whether or not they're able to retain many of the recruits that gave them the top recruiting class in the country until Taggart left for Florida State.