The Payback Game: Do the Ducks Have DAT’s Back?

Kevin Cline

De’Anthony Thomas came out this week saying the Ducks would score “at least 40 points” against the Cardinal this coming Thursday.  On the surface, this seems ridiculous given the 17-14 OT loss Oregon suffered in last year’s match-up.  This year, both teams return many starters on both sides of the ball, which could indicate a similar result.

RB De'Anthony Thomas was productive in a limited role last season against the Cardinal. Expect an more of him this time around.

Kevin Cline

De’Anthony Thomas was productive in a limited role last season against the Cardinal.  Expect more of him this time around.

But in the words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast!”  Expect a much different outing from our beloved Ducks this time around.  DAT returns from injury with fresh legs bringing the team up to full health for the first time in about a month.  This is the same Ducks team that just dismantled UCLA in blowout fashion, winning 42-14.  In fact, this year the Ducks have covered the spread in every game except one, Washington State.  To jog your memory, the Cougars scored on a fumble recovery and had two late touchdowns against our third-team defense.

In this year’s game, look for a minimum two-touchdown WIN by Oregon.  The team will prevail due, in part, to three main reasons: Marcus Mariota’s maturation as a quarterback, significant production by multiple running backs and possibly the best defensive unit in the history of the program.  The injury to Stanford’s star defensive end Ben Gardner doesn’t hurt either.  Most Oregon fans are eager to forget last year’s game, getting a “W” this year in Palo Alto will help.  Additionally, the win should deliver unto those fans who are hoping for, and even praying for, another trip to the National Championship Game.  Oregon’s trip to The Farm will decide a whole lot going forward and is their last true hurdle of the regular season.  The Ducks may score 40 just because they can.

My prediction:  35 – 17

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