The No. 3 Ducks have been known to stumble in the past. And looking at the remainder of their schedule, there are likely only a few teams who can actually compete with Oregon in their remaining matchups. The Ducks’ three road contests of Washington, Utah, and Stanford will likely determine whether UO is a College Football Playoff contender or just a very good team. But before we get ahead of ourselves, it all starts at “The Farm.” this Saturday. Oregon should win but remember ASU 2019. This article will give you three things the Ducks need to do if they’re going to keep holding it down for the Pac-12.
Oregon fans weren’t exactly sure what to expect when Tyler Shough transferred out of the program earlier this year. However, Anthony Brown has stepped in at the quarterback position and has taken UO to heights they haven’t seen since the early Mark Helfrich era.
The No. 3 ranking is Oregon’s highest since 2014, a season in which the Ducks won thirteen games, the conference, a Rose Bowl, and only fell short to Ohio State in the National Championship.
Hopping back to 2021, Brown has already defeated the Buckeyes, a road victory on All-Madden Difficulty. He threw for 236 yards, two touchdowns, and added 65 yards on the ground in that outing.
It felt like the moment where he solidified himself on campus.
But his success has proven more than a one-hit-wonder. Thus far this year, he’s thrown for 764 yards, rushed for 163, and has combined for six total touchdowns.
He has the feel of someone calm at the moment but understands the significance of his position.
And it’s been apparent since game one.
In the opener against Fresno State, he dashed for a 28-yard touchdown run on fourth and two. Before that play, the game was tied at 24 apiece with three minutes left.
It’s easy to overlook greatness.
The bottom line, with him at quarterback, Oregon should be in a favorable position to take advantage of a Stanford defense that’s allowing 27.5 points per game.
Speaking of defense, if the Ducks would like to compete for a National Championship this year, they must continue their dominance on this side of the ball. Oddly, the Cardinal offense should prove a good measuring stick.
Ever since Tanner McKee took over at signal-caller for Stanford, the Cardinal offense has averaged 35.6 points per game. McKee has the feel of a future NFL prospect and should not be taken lightly.
The days of Stanford’s vaunted ground and pound rushing attack are long gone. Offensive Coordinator Tavita Pritchard prefers a pass-first offense which may be due to his lineage as a former Cardinal signal caller himself.
Last season, Stanford’s offense averaged 420.2 yards per game, throwing for 287.3 and rushing for 132.8.
For Oregon, this shouldn’t be a problem, however. They need to keep being themselves.
Players like Mykael Wright, Verone McKinley III, and Bennett Williams are better than the smart school’s dudes.
Even with injuries to Kayvon Thibodeaux and Noah Sewell, the Ducks should handle their own against the Cardinal.
Make the Ducks Great Again
Not a political catchphrase but a catchy way to say Oregon’s close.
For the first time in a long time, the Ducks have the feel of a team destined for the CFP.
That early-season victory in “The Shoe” cannot be overstated enough, but they must finish.
And this Stanford matchup has the feel of a trap game in its most organic form. The Cardinal are coming off a loss against the Bruins, in which after Head Coach David Shaw stated the following,
“Throw it on me. It’s my fault. Not going to rattle off what we did wrong because it was pretty obvious.”
Shaw also added, “ Didn’t run it, didn’t throw it, penalties, inexcusable.”
So you best believe Stanford will be prepared.
For UO, this shouldn’t matter. For a team as talented as Oregon, they should find a way to win this contest comfortably.
Elite teams like Alabama, Ohio State, and Clemson usually don’t leave games like this up for a chance. And UO must follow their lead.
And while a conference road matchup usually doesn’t prove easy, neither is making the CFP.
Doesn’t it feel good to be great?