EUGENE, Ore. — Ducks coach Dan Lanning wanted to send a message. Or maybe 42.
That’s how many points Oregon scored against the much-hyped No. 19 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 are better than Deion Sanders’ team in a dominant 42-6 victory.
No. 10 Oregon outgained Colorado 518 yards to 194 and had 30 first downs to the Buffaloes’ 13. The first-half performance was the showstopper, as Lanning’s team scored 35 points with ease and held its 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, during which he said 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’s over.”
This wasn’t Lanning’s first vocal foray about Colorado and Sanders. Before the season, 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. “Do you remember them winning anything? I don’t remember them winning anything.”
After Colorado raced to a dramatic and compelling 3-0 start that featured Sanders & Co. using the quips about the Buffs as motivation, Lanning was asked if he regretted those comments.
“I don’t regret anything I’ve said for this program,” Lanning 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 might have not been directly referring to “Deion’s team,” but it was evident from the first snap at Autzen Stadium on Saturday that Oregon wanted to make a statement.
While the Ducks’ defense hounded quarterback Shedeur Sanders and finished with six sacks, Oregon’s offense put the Travis Hunter-less Colorado defense on its heels, collecting plays of 10 yards or more with ease and stitching together touchdown drives with barely a sweat. When the Ducks were finally stopped on third down in the second quarter near their end zone, Lanning called a fake punt that worked to perfection and produced another touchdown drive.
It didn’t stop there. Lanning went for it on fourth down four times, succeeding on three occasions. And when Bo Nix and the offense were nearing the end zone toward the end of the second quarter, Lanning called a timeout with 17 seconds left to ensure the Ducks scored again for 35-0 halftime advantage.
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.”
After the game, Lanning took a step back when asked about his pregame speech. He 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 was asked for his reaction to Lanning’s speech and whether he had seen or heard about it.
“I got messages,” said Sanders, who called the game a “good old-fashioned butt kicking.”
“God bless him,” Sanders added of Lanning. “He’s a great coach. Take shots, they won.”
Sanders credited Lanning and Oregon, but Sanders didn’t shy away from sending a message too.
“Candidly, you better get me right now,” Sanders said. “This is the worst we’re going to be.”