EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Oregon running back Royce Freeman is listed atop the depth chart for the Ducks’ game Saturday against Colorado, but there’s no certainty that he’ll play.
His status is one of the questions on both sides heading into the Pac-12 opener for the two teams. Also unclear is the availability of Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau, who is a game-time decision.
Freeman, who has been mentioned as a Heisman candidate this season, left in the first quarter of Oregon’s 35-32 loss at Nebraska last weekend with what appeared to be a lower leg injury.
Freeman, who ran for more than 200 yards in the previous game, wasn’t wearing a brace on his leg earlier this week after practice, but because Oregon doesn’t discuss injuries as a policy, it’s difficult to tell. Expect Kani Benoit, Tony Brooks-James and Taj Griffin to shoulder the load if Freeman sits out.
The Ducks were stung by injury news following the loss to the Huskers. Receiver Devon Allen, who ran the 110-meter hurdles in the Olympics this summer, hurt the ACL in his left knee and is out for the season.
The team also confirmed this week that junior left tackle Tyrell Crosby, an NFL prospect, will miss the rest of the season because of a broken foot.
Liufau was 16 of 25 for 246 yards with three TD passes against Michigan last weekend at the Big House before he left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury. Colorado lost 45-28.
In Colorado’s first two games, he threw for 522 yards and three TDs with a 74.5 percent completion rate. He was the Pac-12’s offensive player of the week after leading Colorado to a 44-7 win over Colorado State in the season opener.
Steven Montez will take Liufau’s place if he can’t go.
Some other things to consider when the Ducks host the Buffs on Saturday afternoon:
THOSE TWO-POINT CONVERSIONS: A lot has been made about Oregon’s penchant for going for two points following touchdowns. The Ducks went for two on each of their TDs at Nebraska. The first one was successful, the other four weren’t.
Coach Mark Helfrich said this week the Ducks won’t reverse course anytime soon.
“That would be like if we throw an incompletion that we’re not going to throw the ball again. That’s not how we’re going to operate,” Helfrich said. “Are there things we can do fine-tuning and different? Sure.”
AND THE BUFFS WILL BE READY: Colorado has been practicing for those two-point attempts if they happen.
“They’ve got a lot of different formations. We need to line up correctly and stop it,” Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre said. “Sometimes they’re not worried about what you’re going to line up in, they’re going to run it anyway; sometimes they look to see what you’re in, if you’re lined up properly. If you’re not lined up properly they run it and score easily. We’ve got to be prepared for that; they do a good job at it.”
IF IT WALKS LIKE A DUCK: This week for the new uniform Oregon is actually trying to look like, well, the Duck. Oregon’s mascot wears a green jersey, so Oregon will don the same with white pants and orange socks and shoes. The facemask of the helmet will also be orange.
The motto “Once A Duck, Always A Duck” is embroidered on the neck of the jersey .
There was just a hint of a gasp from Oregon fans on social media that the new unis included orange — a predominant color for rival Oregon State.
NOT TO BE OUTDONE: The Buffaloes will wear all-white uniforms on the road at Autzen Stadium. It is the first time this season the Buffs will wear head-to-toe white, a look that the team introduced last season.
THE SERIES: Oregon has won all Pac-12 meetings against the Buffaloes since they joined the league. Overall, the Ducks lead the series 12-8, and they’ve won the last four in Eugene.
By Anne M. Peterson, AP Sports Writer
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