SANTA CLARA, Cali--- Medford native Brady Breeze was a key player in Oregon's 37-15 Pac-12 Championship win over Utah, on Friday. Breeze played for South Medford High School before transferring to Central Catholic.
The junior safety led the Ducks with nine tackles during the game. Six of those nine were solo tackles.
The performance was almost cut short when Breeze was under review for targeting, halfway through the first quarter. Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley was being pulled down by another defender, when Breeze came crashing in. Breeze made contact with Huntley's helmet as Huntley fell to the ground. The referees determined that there would be no targeting call. A targeting would have disqualified Breeze from the game, and suspended him for the first half of the next game.
Perhaps the most special moment for Breeze was an interception in his own end zone with 35 seconds left in the first quarter.
After that, Breeze had another pass break-up. Breeze seemed to be involved in plays all over the field.
The former Panther was awarded the "Unrivaled Player of the Game" by ABC, during the game broadcast.
Senior quarterback Justin Herbert started fast, and then cooled off as the game progressed. Herbert finished 14-26 for 193 yards. Herbert also threw one touchdown. Herbert seemed to hurt the Utes with his legs though, as Oregon ran Herbert out of the read option in key moments. Herbert finished with 20 rushing yards on seven attempts.
When it came to the rushing attack though, running back CJ Verdell led the way. Verdell finished with 203 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Verdell did that on just 18 attempts. Verdell's 70-yard touchdown won the momentum back for the Ducks with 7:15 left in the final quarter. Verdell's score put Oregon up 30-15.
Oregon will await the result of Saturday's games for who it will play in the Rose Bowl.