Coming off a big win against Ohio State, it would be understandable if Oregon had a bit of a letdown against Stony Brook. That was evident early when Oregon held a slim 10-7 lead. However, the Ducks turned in up several notches, as expected, and ran away with the game 48-7. At 3-0, they take on the dreadful Arizona Wildcats on September 25 at 10:30 PM Eastern Time, 7:30 PM Pacific Time.
Just how bad are the Wildcats? You could take a look back to last season and forecast a pitiful team this season. They lost all five games and lost by 63 points to Arizona State to end the season. That resulted in the firing of Kevin Sumlin.
How much did a change of coach help the Wildcats? After an 0-2 start to BYU and San Diego State, Arizona had a great shot of ending their 14-game losing streak against Northern Arizona of the Big Sky Conference. After all, the Wildcats hadn’t lost to NAU since 1932. That changed this week. Shockingly, the Wildcats fell by the score of 21-19. This is a school that the University of Arizona pays to come to Tuscon to play. The 15-game losing streak is the longest in the nation.
Looking at Oregon’s competition this week (and I use that term lightly), Arizona has a combined 782 passing yards with five touchdowns and four interceptions from quarterbacks Gunner Cruz, Will Plummer, and Jordan McCloud. On the ground, Drake Anderson has 115 yards on 4.6 per carry, but Arizona has averaged a pitiful 2.9 yards per carry as a team. Stanley Berryhill II has been a productive receiver with 28 receptions, but Arizona averages under 10 yards per completion. Against weak competition, the team has only four sacks and one interception in three games.
Oregon will be able to move the ball at will, and in fact, backup quarterback Ty Thompson could end up seeing more action than starting quarterback Anthony Brown. In last week’s win, Thompson threw for 159 yards and a score, Thompson went 6-for-9 for 82 yards and two touchdowns, and even third-stringer Jay Butterfield saw some action. This will likely be much of the same.
No player on Oregon has at least ten receptions, but 15 players have at least one, showing the kind of depth that the Northern Arizona defense has no chance to defend. When not gaining chunks in the air, the Ducks will pound the ball successfully with CJ Verdell and Travis Dye, who have combined for 383 yards and over 5.5 yards per carry.
Defensively, the Ducks will be able to wreak havoc upfront. They have recorded seven sacks, intercepted four passes, and forced six fumbles in their three wins. There is an excellent chance that Oregon puts up over 50 points and hits the century mark in scoring over the current two-game stretch. Don’t be surprised if the Ducks approach 600 yards in total offense.
The conference play will open with a win and serve as a warm-up for more difficult conference foes in the upcoming weeks against Stanford, California, and at #24 UCLA.