As we eagerly await the opening game of the No. 14 Oregon Ducks’ football season against the Stanford Cardinal next Saturday, I can’t help but worry. The history between Oregon and Stanford has been filled with a white-knuckle mix of heartbreaking losses, troubling upsets and glorious revenge.
But the Cardinal lead the all-time series against the Ducks with 49 wins (Oregon has 33 wins, including last year’s 21-6 victory). Stanford has had some troubles recently, finishing the 2019 season with a dismal 4-8 overall record (3-6 Pac-12).
Somehow that’s not comforting.
I’ve always been leery of Stanford Head Coach David Shaw‘s ability to recruit and assemble a competitive team nearly every year. Despite Oregon’s strong defense, I believe the game will be won at the quarterback position.
Here’s what we know: Starting Cardinal quarterback Davis Mills has worked his way to the starting position last year, replacing an injured K.J. Costello. Despite Mills leading the Cardinal to just a single victory in their final six games, he broke the school record for single-game passing yards against Washington State (504 yards).
QB1 is a black belt in Choi Kwang Do
— Stanford Football (@StanfordFball) October 30, 2020
Now a senior, the five-star recruit from Georgia (and a black belt in Choi Kwang Do) may be in a position to make a statement in a shorter six-game regular season. On the other side of the ball, Oregon Head Coach Mario Cristobal has narrowed the field of likely starters to either Tyler Shough or Boston College grad transfer Anthony Brown.
Neither of them has a full season in the Pac-12 for the Ducks. And with a new offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, there could be a learning curve. One thing is for certain: the Cardinal aren’t going to be pushovers. Learning on the job will have to occur rather quickly against Shaw’s squad.
No matter who takes snaps for the Ducks this year, Stanford is going to be a big challenge to start the season.
What do you think Ducks fans?
San Diego, California
Top Photo By: Eugene Johnson
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