It’s game day Duck fans, is anyone as excited and anxious as I?
As I read through some of the news articles regarding today’s game I am finding so many different views and so many different opinions of what should be looked for in this Duck/Cardinal match-up.
In an article on ESPN’s Pac-12 blog, Five Things to Watch: Oregon-Stanford, the second thing writer Chantel Jennings discusses is whether or not we can get the “Stanford monkey off our back.” It is true that Marcus Mariota has never defeated the Cardinal in his career at UO as the starting QB, but with the way Mariota has been playing these last few weeks, do you think he can break the spell?
However, this is not a spell that can be broken by just one person and that is where Devon Allen, Royce Freeman and Dwayne Stanford come in. Although they are all young and fairly inexperienced, having all three of them available to do their job in similar and different ways will definitely come in the clutch against the Cardinal defense. As we have seen as the season has progressed, when the Ducks can spread the ball out and transition from the pass-game option to the run-game option and vice versa, it changes the dynamic of the game big time.
Jennings goes on to explain that there are two different reasons why the Ducks have been defeated by the Cardinal the past two years, citing coach Mark Helfrich. The 2012 explanation is that our Ducks did not play very well or very hard. This was interesting to me as I am not necessarily familiar with a Duck team that doesn’t play very hard and if that were the case, it is definitely not a concern with this years’ team going into today’s game.
For the 2013 match-up, Helfrich said that the Ducks lost to Stanford because, although they did play hard, they didn’t take full advantage of the chances that were presented to them to take over the game.
Now the question for the 2014 match-up is whether or not our Ducks will put two and two together. If they are going off of the general reasoning for losing the last two years, we will hopefully be seeing a Duck team that plays as hard as they can throughout the entire game and which takes advantage of every opportunity to dominate that presents itself.
If the Ducks we know and love show up 100% at Autzen Stadium this afternoon, effort is definitely the least of my concerns. Our boys are hungry for this win and have been working hard not only this past week but throughout the entire season. Every game prepares the team a little more for the next and as the season progresses one game at a time, the talent of the team progresses as well.
With our beloved QB on fire, covered by a strong O-line and our MVPs: Allen, Freeman and Stanford, I have a feeling this might be the best offensive team to face the Cardinal in these three years, not to mention our strong front seven on defense ready to come out and do whatever it takes to keep the Stanford boys from scoring.
Our Ducks are stronger and smarter than ever; this has to be the year we defeat the Cardinal! Who’s with me?
Top Photo by Craig Strobeck