Oregon's Cyrus Habibi-Likio says he took down rogue fan to get game back on track

EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon running back Cyrus Habibi-Likio showed a little remorse for making arguably the most celebrated tackle of the No. 13 Ducks' 17-7 victory over Cal on Saturday night.

Late in the third quarter, with the Golden Bears leading 7-3, a fan ran onto the field during a timeout and overstayed his welcome by eluding a handful of security guards as he weaved his way from the west end zone to the east end zone and back.

But on his way back to the west end zone, the fan was tackled from behind by Habibi-Liko, who broke from the Ducks' huddle around the 35 and sprinted about 20 yards to catch the fan.

Habibi-Likio's tackle elicited cheers from the announced crowd of 54,766, and security guards pounced on the fan shortly after.

Habibi-Likio's reasoning for the takedown? To get a game slipping away from his team back on track.

"We were down and he was kind of taking a while -- prayers out to him, I hope he's not hurt," Habibi-Likio told reporters after Saturday's game. "I had no intention of hurting him, we just need to get the game going.

"This is the Pac-12 North, and this is a Pac-12 game, we gotta get going or the result would have been different."

The 6-foot-1, 222-pound Habibi-Likio said he wasn't planning on tackling the fan until he saw Cal coach Justin Wilcox motioning in frustration for someone to catch him and get him off the field.

"I've heard a lot of commentary about it; I really don't have all the details about it so I don't even know if it was a tackle," Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said about Habibi-Likio's heroic efforts. "I'll let you guys fill me in.

"[Tackling field-rushing fans] is definitely not a part of practice."

Habibi-Likio, who had been dealing with back spasms earlier this season, said he "feels bad" about tackling the fan, and offered up a sweet hang-out session to patch things up.

"If he has Instagram or Twitter, you can follow me and message me and we can go get ice cream," Habibi-Likio said.

The Pac-12 doesn't have a policy to reprimand student-athletes for tackling rogue fans during games.

The cheers for the sophomore running back were pretty loud when he caught the fan, but they were deafening when he scored the go-ahead, 1-yard touchdown a little while later.

"He runs tough, and he runs hard, and he has great eyes and great vision," Cristobal said. "I thought he did an excellent job today."

Habibi-Likio was in because starting running back CJ Verdell left the game earlier with a twisted ankle. Cristobal said that he didn't know the extent of Verdell's injury was but didn't think that it was serious enough to hold him out for the rest of the game, noting that X-rays came back negative.

The news was not as good for senior defensive lineman Gus Cumberlander, who went down late in the fourth quarter with a left knee injury. Cumberlander was carted off the field with an air cast on his knee after suffering what appeared to be a non-contact injury. Cristobal said Cumberlander's injury "might be a little bit more significant," but he didn't know the severity.

A handful of players ran over to kneel around Cumberlander before he was put on the cart. While he had only 1.5 sacks entering Saturday's game, his four last season were most among returning Oregon players in 2019.