Tez Johnson bounces back from early miscue with career day for Oregon
Tez Johnson was involved in a couple of early offensive blunders for Oregon. Bo Nix’s first pass of the day bounced off Johnson’s hands and was picked off by Cal on the redirect. Then later in the first quarter, Cal pounced on a scoop-and-score touchdown after an errant snap bounced off Johnson while he was motioning across the formation.
Neither mattered much in the grand scheme of things. Oregon beat Cal on Saturday 63-19. The Ducks set aside some early waffling and recorded touchdowns on seven of their eight possessions after the first quarter.
And Johnson was a huge reason why. He finished the day with a career-best 12 catches for a career-best 180 yards and two touchdowns.
“Tez is a guy that battles every single moment he is on the field,” coach Dan Lanning said after the game. “I know that he wants that first play back just like all of us do, but those moments happen in football. When you see adversity hit and see guys go out and respond and react to adversity, I think it’s really important. He certainly wants to be coached hard. He demands the best of himself. We’ll continue to challenge him and see him grow as a player.”
Johnson’s first touchdown — Oregon’s first of the day — capped an absolutely wild sequence of events in the first quarter.
The Ducks blocked a field goal try from Cal and returned it for a touchdown, only to see the play called back for a penalty. On the next play, Oregon picked off Cal’s quarterback inside its own 10. After working its way down the field, Bucky Irving had a 21-yard touchdown reception wiped away by a flag, and then another penalty sent the Ducks from the Cal 21 all the way back to the Cal 48.
On a second-and-37, Nix found Johnson for six.
Hitting the mark.
— Oregon Football (@oregonfootball) November 4, 2023
Johnson was targeted 14 times in the game. He had 78 yards after the catch. Oregon saw something in Cal’s defense that set the stage for a big day for Johnson
“It was part of our plan to be able to hit some three-level routes, to be able to execute some stuff with him,” Lanning said. “With his speed across the field, he’s a hard guy to cover if you decide to go man. He creates matchup issues with the speed that he has. That’s something we want to continue to figure out how to use in the passing game to create a weapon for us.”
Said Nix: “He can do that all the time if he wants to go for 180.”