April 19, 2024

EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon coach Dan Lanning wanted to send a message or two. Or maybe 42.

That’s how many points the Oregon Ducks scored on the No. 19, undefeated and much-hyped Colorado Buffaloes on Saturday as Lanning and his team went above, beyond, and even out of their way, to let the rest of the college football world know they were better than Deion Sanders’ team in a dominant 42-6 victory.

Over the course of four quarters, Oregon outgained Colorado, 518 to 194 yards, and had 30 first downs to the Buffaloes’ 13. The first half performance was the show-stopper, where Lanning’s team scored 35 points with ease and held their conference opponent to only 56 passing yards and minus-35 rushing yards.

“We were prepared for a battle, it didn’t end up being a battle,” Lanning said after the game. “I’m glad we got to put Oregon in the light it deserves to be in.”

The dominance was so thorough that, in the first half, the television broadcast showed video of Lanning’s pregame speech, which showed him saying that Oregon, unlike Colorado, Oregon was “rooted in substance not flash.”

“They’re fighting for clicks, we’re fighting for wins,” Lanning said in the video. “The Cinderella story is over.”

This wasn’t Lanning’s first foray into being vocal about the hype surrounding Colorado and Sanders. Before the season began, Lanning was asked at Pac-12 media days about Colorado’s move to the Big 12.

“I’m trying to remember what they won to affect this conference and I don’t remember,” Lanning said at the time. “Do you remember them winning anything? I don’t remember them winning anything.”

After Colorado raced out to a dramatic and compelling 3-0 start this season that featured Sanders and Co. using the quips about the Buffs as motivation to prove the doubters wrong, Lanning was asked if he regretted those comments from before the season ahead of the matchup.

“I don’t regret anything I’ve said for this program,” he said. “At the end of the day, I wasn’t talking about Deion’s team, I was talking about the past and the future for our team. But if that serves as material for them, great. I don’t think it’s going to have any bearing on the game or the success of the game.”

Lanning may have not been directly referring to “Deion’s team,” but it was evident from the moment the first ball was snapped at Autzen Stadium Saturday that Oregon wanted to not just beat Colorado but do it in such a way that any of the hype that surrounded the Buffs under Coach Prime would turn instead into admiration for their dominance.

While the Ducks’ defense hounded Shedeur Sanders all game long to the tune of six sacks, Oregon’s offense put the Travis Hunter-less Colorado defense on its heels from the jump, collecting plays of over 10 yards or more with ease and stitching touchdown drives together with barely a sweat. When the Ducks were finally stopped on third down in the second quarter near their end zone, Lanning showed what kind of game he was trying to win by calling for a fake punt that worked to perfection and ended up in another touchdown drive.

It didn’t stop there. Lanning went for it on fourth down for different times during the game, succeeding three times. And when Nix and the offense were nearing the end zone at the end of the second quarter, Lanning called a timeout with 17 seconds left in the half to ensure the Ducks had another opportunity to score and put the score at 35-0 through two quarters.

Lanning was not ready to back down.

“We’re not done yet. We’re not satisfied,” Lanning said in his halftime interview. “(I) hope everyone that’s been watching (Colorado) every week is still watching.”

In the second half, the blowout continued. Lanning went for it on fourth down twice and the Ducks added another touchdown to solidify the final result. After the game, Lanning, the win now in hand, took a step back and, when asked about his pre-game speech, downplayed it, and acknowledged that he had to “humble” himself because it was just one game.

“There is no pregame speech that wins games,” Lanning said. “Players do.”

Sanders, for his part, was asked about Lanning’s speech and whether he had seen or heard about it.

“I got messages,” Sanders, who called the game a good, old-fashioned butt kicking, said. “God bless him. He’s a great coach, Take shots, they won.”

While Sanders gave Lanning and Oregon their credit, he didn’t shy away from sending his own message too.

“Candidly, you better get me right now,” Sanders said. “This is the worst we’re going to be.”

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