AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File

Oregon RB Thomas Tyner retires from football

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The college football career of Oregon running back Thomas Tyner has come to an unceremonious end. Oregon has announced Tyner has taken a medical retirement from football, a year after missing the entire 2015 season due to a shoulder injury.

“We thank Thomas and wish him well,” Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich said. “We will continue to support his efforts to graduate from the University of Oregon.”

Tyner was a five-star recruit for Oregon in the Class of 2013. The Beaverton, Oregon native was the top-rated recruit in that recruiting class, which also included offensive lineman Evan Voeller and four-star athletes Tyrell Robinson and Tyree Robinson.

“Thank you for all the support over the years,” Tyner said in a brief statement posted on his Twitter account Friday. “Couldn’t have been more blessed to have been party of such a great community, I have the [utmost] respect for the staff and my teammates. Now it’s time to get in the books and finish up in school. Much love to you all and Go Ducks!”

Tyner rushed for 711 yards and nine touchdowns in his freshman season and 573 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore before a midseason injury put him on the sideline for five games. He returned for Oregon’s College Football Playoff run and rushed for 124 yards against Florida State in the Rose Bowl semifinal game before rushing for 62 yards against Ohio State in the national championship game at the end of the 2014 season. Tyner missed the entire 2015 season, which led to Royce Freeman taking on the leading rusher role for the Ducks.

It would have been fun to watch Oregon run with Tyner and freeman, but alas sometimes health concerns have an unfortunate knack for taking a talented player out of the game, and that just stinks.

Oregon’s Thomas Tyner to miss all of 2015 after shoulder surgery

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In the post below this one we noted Michigan State could be missing one key piece of its defensive puzzle for the Week 2 non-conference matchup with Oregon.  Now, we know that the Ducks will definitely be missing a key piece of its offensive puzzle.

The father of Thomas Tyner confirmed Sunday to CSNNW.com‘s Aaron Fentress that his son underwent successful shoulder surgery this past Friday.  Tyner sustained an injury to his shoulder last season, with the lingering pain and discomfort over the last several months leading to the procedure.

Unfortunately for both the running back and the team, Tyner will miss the entire 2015 season as he rehabs from the surgery.

Tyner was second among Duck running backs last season with 573 yards rushing and five touchdowns.  The good news for UO is its leading rusher, Royce Freeman (1,365, 18), returns.  Additionally, Byron Marshall could be moved back to receiver if the need arises.

Marshall was the team’s leading rusher in 2013 before moving to receiver.  He ended up being the Ducks’ leading receiver in receptions and yards in 2014.

As Fentress explained, “Oregon’s receiving corps is deep enough to absorb Marshall’s return to running back, assuming that Devon Allen fully recovers from a knee injury.” Allen sustained a serious knee injury in the playoff semifinal win over Florida State this past January, and is expected to participate when the Ducks open summer camp Monday.

Ducks twice avert disaster on opening drive, take early 7-0 lead

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The inaugural College Football Playoff title game has kicked off, and Oregon is already seemingly doing its damndest to help the opposition.

Twice on the opening drive, the Ducks put the football on the ground.  The first, by running back Thomas Tyner, took a very fortuitous bounce right back into Tyner’s gut as UO retained possession.  Another play that was initially called a fumble, by Heisman-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota, was rightly overturned.

Four plays later, Mariota hit Keanon Lowe from seven yards out to take an early 7-0 lead.

The worst news for Ohio State?  They were helpless in stopping the Ducks on that initial drive.  The Ducks drove 75 yards in 11 plays on that drive, and never once faced a third down.

The Ducks didn’t pick up huge chunks of yardage, with their longest play just 12 yards.  Every one of the Ducks’ 11 plays gained positive yardage, though.

After getting an initial first down on its opening drive, the Buckeyes were forced to punt, leaving a defense that couldn’t do much on the first drive in  a tenuous position here on the second.  Getting down to a team like the Ducks by two scores early on is not exactly optimal, even for a team that fell down 21-6 to top-ranked Alabama the last time out.

CFT Previews: Three X-factors for the National Championship

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You know about Marcus Mariota and Cardale Jones. You know about Royce Freeman and Thomas Tyner and Ezekiel Elliott. You know about Urban Meyer and Mark Helfrich. You even know about Brutus and Puddles.

But here are three things you may not have considered that could paint the national championship trophy in scarlet and gray or apple green and electric yellow. We in the business like to call them X-factors.

1: Arik Armstead and Joey Bosa (and their friends). In a game that boils down to quarterback vs. quarterback, the team that makes the other guy’s signal caller most uncomfortable will likely win. Oregon pass rusher Armstead will look to get to Jones before he can get ahead of steam in the run game (or fire a 60-yard bomb to his plethora of speedsters on the outside). On the other side, constant pressure is the only proven antidote to beating Mariota in his three years as a starter.

2: Tyler JohnstoneIfo Ekpre-OlomuBralon AddisonDarren CarringtonDevon Allen and Pharoah Brown. Oregon obviously has fantastic depth to make it this far without the four listed above, but could there be a moment late in the game, with Ohio State fans joyous, Meyer cracking a smile and Puddles showing a longer face than normal, that you start to think, “Man, it’d be nice the Ducks had their top left tackle, top cornerback, top three wide receivers and/or top tight end, wouldn’t it?”

Chris Seisay did a fine job filling in for Ekpre-Olomu, and the Ducks limited Florida State’s Rashad Greene to six grabs for just 59 yards, but Ohio State’s receiving corps is better than the ‘Noles. The Oregon offensive line has charged along well without Johnstone this season, but they haven’t faced a defensive front as multi-faceted as Ohio State’s. Evan Baylis set career highs in the Rose Bowl with six receptions for 73 yards in the Rose Bowl, proving a capable replacement to Brown. But without Carrington, Allen and Addison (who hasn’t played at all this season), Oregon’s top remaining receiver is Dwayne Stanford, a sophomore who averaged 4.5 receptions for 44 yards in 13 games this season.

3: Sean Nuemberger and Aidan Schneider or Matt Wogan. These three anonymous gentlemen are your title game kickers. Ohio State has ridden with Nuemberger all year, to mixed results. The freshman has knocked in 13-of-20 field goals this year; he hit both of his tries in the Sugar Bowl but is just 5-of-10 from beyond 40 yards this season. Oregon has alternated between Schneider and Wogan this season, leaning on the former in the Rose Bowl. Schneider is 9-of-10 on the year, while Wogan is 7-of-9. Neither has been used a lot this season, and each squad’s dominance throughout the season means none of the three has been asked to make a game-on-the-line kick. Now there’s a greater than zero chance one of them will face that situation for the first time with a national championship on the line.

Oregon takes 18-13 lead to the break over Florida State

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The first half of the Rose Bowl has unfolded exactly to script for both Florida State and Oregon: Marcus Mariota is dazzling, and the Seminoles are trailing. The Ducks lead 18-13 at the break. This is the ninth time – and fifth consecutive game – that Florida State has trailed this season.

Mariota has completed 18-of-26 passes for 157 yards with a late interception and rushed seven times for 39 yards (and evading a number of sacks in the process), while Winston has had a quiet half by comparison, hitting 13-of-21 throws for 136 yards and rushing five times for two yards. Dalvin Cook has been the engine powering the Seminoles’ attack with 12 carries for 90 yards.

Florida State forced a three-and-out on the first possession of the game and then marched 33 yards for a 43-yard Roberto Aguayo field goal, but Oregon linebacker Torrodney Prevot was flagged for a hands-to-the-face personal foul, giving the ‘Noles new life. However, the Oregon defense stiffened, thanks in large part to a Prevot sack-strip that cost Florida State seven yards, and limited only a 28-yard Aguayo field goal.

Oregon immediately responded, moving 73 yards in nine plays over just 2:11, taking the lead with a one-yard Royce Freeman plunge and then pushing the score to 8-3 with a Taylor Alie pass to Christian French. The Ducks had a chance to seize an extra large slice of momentum after forcing a three-and-out and taking over at the Florida State 40 thanks to a Cason Beatty shank, but Mark Helfrich‘s gamble to eschew a field goal while facing a 4th-and-5 at the 22 backfired as Mariota’s pass to Freeman was broken up by Ronald Darby.

The key sequence of the first half – and perhaps each team’s respective season – came at the end of the first quarter and very beginning of the second. Florida State marched from its own 23 to the Oregon one only to see the Ducks string out a 3rd down stretch play to Karlos Williams, but linebacker Tyson Coleman was offside, giving the ‘Noles new life.

But Williams was stuffed on 3rd down from the one and, with a quarter break to think about it, Jimbo Fisher called an option play on 4th-and-goal from the one on the first play of the second quarter. Winston kept and was initially ruled in for a touchdown, but the score was overturned on review. He was half a yard short.Oregon then moved 88 yards in 19 plays – needing just 4:45 – to put Aidan Schneider in position for a 28-yard field goal, turning what could have been a 10-8 Florida State lead into an 11-3 deficit.

Florida State added another field goal – settling, really, after setting up another 1st-and-goal and then committing a false start and delay of game – and Oregon answered with a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, this one capped by a one-yard Thomas Tyner run.

As they’ve done all season, Florida State closed the half with a touchdown. Winston marched the ‘Noles 71 yards, and Karlos Williams punched in a 10-yard score to pull Florida State within 18-13 with 36 ticks remaining.

Oregon drove across the water to close the half instead of laying up, and the Ducks paid the price as a Mariota overthrow was intercepted by Nate Andrews. Florida State had a chance to pull even closer before the break, but Aguayo’s 54-yard try on the final play of the half clanked off the left goalpost.

Injuries have been a factor for both teams in the first half. Nick O’Leary tweaked his hamstring in pre-game warm-ups, but started the game and caught a five-yard reception on a 3rd-and-4, extending Florida State’s lone touchdown drive. For Oregon, Oregon wide receiver Devon Allen limped off after a 20-yard opening kickoff and was later wheeled to the locker room.

Florida State will receive the ball to open the second half.