As Duck fans, we honestly despise Stanford and how they seem to always destroy our hopes since we believe the Ducks are flawless. Plus, for the past two seasons, Stanford’s defense has figured out how to dismantle the Ducks’ offense and prevent anything good from happening.
A major factor that contributed to these disappointing failures in the past was the strong presence of Stanford’s inside linebackers. Does Shayne Skov ring a bell? Most football fanatics and Duck fans are familiar with the famous inside linebacker and tackling master who graduated last year and is now in the NFL. The physicality that he possesses, along with the Cardinal defense, prevented Oregon from establishing a solid run game the past two seasons. This year, we can expect A.J. Tarpley and Blake Martinez, two talented Stanford linebackers, to attempt to fill the role that Shayne Skov left.
However, there is method to defeating Stanford’s physical defense. According to Dr. Lou Holtz, famous American football player, coach, and now sportscaster for ESPN, one aspect of Oregon is that “they can always run the ball. And they have a great quarterback in Marcus Mariota.” What Dr. Lou said is music not only to my ears, but also Duck fans’ ears. Oregon’s reputation has always revolved around their run game and the speedy players they have to utilize this method effectively. Plus, Oregon’s offensive line is starting to look better which will essentially allow them to open bigger gaps for running backs such as Royce Freeman.
What’s interesting about Oregon is the fact that when they score 30 points or more in a game, they’re undefeated. But, when they don’t, they’re 0-4. Plus, Stanford is the only team in the PAC-12 that Mariota has not yet defeated. We can expect that this year will be different because Oregon has a better offense than the past two years. Standouts such as Devon Allen, Royce Freeman, Charles Nelson, Pharaoh Brown and Dwayne Stanford have been performing fabulously on the field. Going into today’s game, Duck fans will be nervous. I’ll be honest and straight up say that I’m a nail biter when it comes to scary stats like these. Let us hope that when all is said and done, my nails won’t be gone.