Our Oregon Ducks football program is coming off a handful of convincing wins over the past few weeks. Since Stanford always is a tough out against the Ducks, it’s nice to knock them off with ease for once.
Now, with sights set on Arizona for this weekend, are the Wildcats the usual pushover team they’ve been in the past few seasons?
No. They’ve had some decent showings this year and are going to be a competitive team tomorrow looking to upset Oregon early (let’s not forget what happened last time the Ducks played in Tucson in 2018…). So, our Ducks should do what they’ve done to the last four teams they’ve played this season. Pound the rock on offense, hit some big plays down the field, finish in the redzone, and mop up on defense with outstanding play in the secondary.
On top of these core strengths, there’s a lot to be excited about for how our Ducks can takedown the Wildcats in their home stadium this weekend. Here are a few position groups and factors to look out for in a big game against the ‘Cats on the road.
Keys to Watch for When Our Oregon Ducks Matchup Against the Wildcats Tomorrow
Christian Gonzalez and the DBs
I don’t know what everyone else saw last week, but one thing is clear to me about this defense: we’re shutting down the passing game from the outside in. I liked what I saw from the defensive line finally breaking through and making some huge plays, but good gravy. Gonzalez has not only stepped up as an outstanding boundary corner, but one of our top players on the entire team.
Outside of a handful of plays, the secondary as a whole has been crushing this season. Really shows what getting that recruiting star power combined with good coaching can do.
Finally, the Ducks are Getting Pressure
Dorlus is almost singlehandedly leading our defensive line to better, more consistent pressure in the passing game. It’s great to see some newer faces stepping up.
Jeffrey Bassa and DJ Johnson had a strong outing against the Cardinal, and I expect to see more of the same against Arizona. The Wildcats don’t have a particularly dominant offensive front, so we should see the defensive line get a boost of confidence early in this game.
Dominate in the trenches, and I see Oregon winning this game handily. However, that also includes the offensive trenches.
Rushing Attack Continues to Establish Their Identity
The running game is getting a lot more consistent, and it’s not by way of what we may have thought to start this season. Bo Nix is a legit rushing threat. In the past few games, I believe our Ducks have gotten the mid and deep passing game going enough to force defenses to respect what Nix is capable of down the field. As a result, rushing lanes are opening up with ease.
On the 27 rushing attempts for 190 yards from our three primary running backs against Stanford, the Ducks saw an average of seven yards per carry. Top that off with 141 from Nix (thanks to that RIDICULOUS 80-yard run!), and we’ve got an elite rushing attack that can compete with any team in the nation. Let’s see more of that tomorrow.
Don’t Look Ahead
Something every team can fall victim to at any level is treating an opponent lightly. We can’t afford to do that on a four-game win streak. UCLA, Washington, and Utah are ranked opponents all in the weeks ahead, but I’m confident that Dan Lanning will have Our Beloved Ducks come out swinging right from the get-go. We won’t treat any game the rest of the year lightly under his guidance, and the energy needs to keep flowing the way it has in weeks past.
Let’s hit the ground running and blaze our way into conference play. I love the momentum we’ve seen building this year, and it looks like Lanning is the answer we’ve been looking for.
Overall, taking control of the PAC-12 again starts NOW. Let’s set the tone for the month ahead. Go Ducks!
Points to Ponder: Is this potentially a trap game for Oregon? Will Dorlus lead the way in sacks and pressures again, or will someone else takeover? Who leads Oregon in rushing yards this weekend? Which game are you most excited about left on the regular season schedule?
Los Angeles, California
Top Photo By: Craig Strobeck
(Side Note: I’ll be traveling to see my local top-dog Mater Dei Monarchs matchup against the St. John Bosco’s Braves. Should be an outstanding matchup between some of the best talent in the nation.
If there are any updates on recruits you’re curious about on Domani Jackson’s former team and other potential PAC-12ers of the future, be on the lookout for the thread I’ll add this evening! “Gameday for Mater Dei”)
Alex Heining is an Oregon alumni from the graduate class of 2021. After studying sports business and media studies, he has moved into the field of digital marketing as a copywriter and content manager in the Los Angeles area. Still, he loves his Ducks and goes to local high school games all over the Los Angeles and Orange County area to check out new recruits of the future (and a SoFi game or two with the pros). On any given Saturday, expect to find him doing martial arts, playing the guitar, or screaming at the tv over a missed holding penalty.
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