For eight weeks the Oregon Ducks have barely broke a sweat overwhelming opponents with speed and then forcing teams to take huge risks on offense leading to costly turnovers by the Ducks defense. Since most of their games had been decided by the half, Heisman front-runner Marcus Mariota has spent the second half watching from the bench.
So far, victories for the Oregon Ducks have been easy to come by, but beating the Stanford Cardinals on Thursday night at the Farm will not be so easy. The Ducks have yet to play a team that will punch them in the mouth and make life uncomfortable for Mariota.
Although, the Stanford-way may never ever win a beauty contest, their formula of ball control, behemoth offensive linemen and a dominant defense has caused problems for the fastest team on turf and Thursday night may be no different.
The Ducks have a combined record of 36-4 over three years. The teams that have beat the Ducks had a dominant offensive and defensive line; well, Stanford has both. If the Cardinals control the line of scrimmage as they have in the past running back Tyler Gaffney will force nine in the box leaving the Ducks susceptible to the play action pass to Ty Montgomery, whose always one tackle away from taking it to the house.
On defense the Cardinals offset the Ducks speedsters by playing disciplined fundamental assignment football, it may not be pretty but it has proven to get the job done. Despite being undermanned the Cardinals defense led by All-American linebackers Shayne Skov and Trent Murphy are no slouches, they will certainly put Mariota’s Heisman contention and the Oregon Ducks championship hopes to the test. The Cardinals feasted on Beavers last week, is Duck next on the menu?
Ecclesiastes 9:11 says the race does not always go to the swift, we will soon see if that scripture was right. Stay tuned…I know I will – A. Denmark