Adams, Oregon show off well
The University of Oregon football program got a pretty good idea of who Vernon Adams, Jr., is as a quarterback under duress Saturday night, and he performed at an uneven level. But, you also got a good idea of his inner drive, and he showed off he's got the will to win.
He certainly didn't perform at the level the UO world may have thought he was going to when he announced his intention to transfer from Eastern Washington in spring, but at the end of Saturday's thrilling game with Michigan State, the Ducks were in position to win. With a couple fewer yards on a lofty pass down the left sideline, Adams may very well have led the No. 7 Ducks past the No. 5 Spartans.
Overall, it was a gritty performance by a veteran playing on the national stage for the first time with the final a frustrating 31-28 on the scoreboard.
Frustrating in that Oregon fans can easily look at the game as that the Ducks didn't win, not so much as the Spartans beat them. Michigan State survived, although that's all that's needed.
Adams showed he's a gamer, able to overcome his shortcomings and keep his team in contention to win.
Oregon's defense did that, too, inspite of giving up 31 points. Oregon's offense should have topped that total in the game, and might have with some better play calling.
Scott Frost's game as offensive coordinator might be the biggest issue from the game in that the plan seemed to go away from what was working in terms of getting passes outside and letting what might easily be the best trio of receivers in the nation make excitement happen. Just simple screen passes. That opened up the middle for running back Royce Freeman, which carried the team to a score on its first possession and seemed like a pathway to many other scores.
But, as much as Adams is working his way into the Oregon playbook, Frost seems to be working his way into understanding Adams in the playbook. That's what a severe lack of preparation will do to a top-flight program like Oregon.
And, inspite of those issues, the Ducks were in position to win a game that might have moved them up to as far as No. 3 or 4 in the nation.
Still, it showed they're a team worthy of consideration of mention as playing its way back to the title game.
That's an easy road with just a dominating performance in Pac-12 play, which they seem capable of doing if Saturday's game is an indication.