Despite an extremely impressive 51-27 win over the Utah Utes, the Oregon Ducks suffered several significant losses. Throughout the duration of the game, the Ducks, who clinched a spot in the Pac 12 Championship for the first time since 2011, lost cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, center Hroniss Grasu and tight end Pharaoh Brown. Ekpre-Olomu, one of the nation’s finest cornerbacks and two time All-Pac 12 selection, hurt his right big toe and was seen pacing the sideline in a walking boot. His injury does not appear to be a long-term concern, and with a bye week looming, should be healthy for the home stretch.
Grasu’s condition remains a mystery after he left Saturday’s game with an apparent leg injury. The starting center is a key piece along the offensive line and playing without their big man could drastically change the dynamic of the group. Head coach Mark Helfrich is typically quiet regarding injuries so fans should wait for further reports before drawing any conclusions. Still, the most significant injury from the game could be involving Pharaoh Brown.
Brown, the Ducks top tight end, endured a strange series of events leading to an injured knee. The junior stepped on the foot of fellow tight end Evan Baylis loosing his balance and causing his knee to buckle. Brown was eventually carted off of the field and spent Sunday night in a Salt Lake City hospital for further evaluations.
Coach Helfrich addressed these three injuries at length during a Sunday evening press conference announcing later that Brown would miss the remainder of the season. Even with the losses, the Ducks control their own destiny with two rather easy upcoming games against Colorado and Oregon State. If the team can overcome those two tests and escape a trip to the Pac 12 Championship, they will be looking at a spot in the first ever College Football Playoff.
*Section Photo credit to Joe Robbins, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Ryan Kang, Emerald