Oregon Ducks Football: 3 Keys to Beating Texas Tech

Alex Heining Editorials

Whew, this game’s going to be a scorcher, and not just on the thermostat.

Luckily, the Ducks are blazing hot after their 81-point victory over the Portland State Vikings, and now, they get the opportunity to take their talents on the road to Lubbock, Texas. While it might not look like a game we should have circled on the calendar, make no mistake: the Red Raiders are hungry for a win. Who better to beat than the team in Eugene that just led the entire country in points and yards through week 1? Regardless of talent, roster construction, coaching, or scheme, this game will be no cakewalk.

Having said that, there’s a lot to love about Oregon this week, and a ton of momentum to carry from an absolutely flawless week 1. Here are a few goals the Ducks would be inclined to achieve on their first road game of the year in order to avoid an early upset, and virtually losing the season before it gets started.

Troy Franklin - Oregon Ducks Football - FishDuck.com in Eugene, OR

Franklin picked up right where he left off from last season… (Photo by Craig Strobeck)

3: Grab Momentum Early

Hostile environments can be neutralized quickly by applying pressure through momentum. Road games are made to be a whole lot more difficult, and the first quarter will be the catalyst to determine whether or not the Ducks are poised to win this game and keep the season alive. Fortunately for offense, scoring should be no issue whatsoever.

Last week, Troy Franklin got busy the same way he did all last season, eclipsing 100 yards receiving and grabbing a pair of touchdowns (7 catches/106 yards/2 TDs). Standing as the benchmark stat line, Gary Bryant Jr. had a nearly identical set of numbers to complement Franklin perfectly (7 catches/100 yards/2 TDs). Expect to see more of the same in Texas, but with a little better distribution, as this new offense gets its feet wet (or burned, rather). Mix in some Tez Johnson and Terrance Ferguson through the passing game, and these Ducks might win this game getting nowhere near 348 yards of rushing offense this week.

Oregon Ducks Football - Interception vs Cal Football - FishDuck.com in Eugene, OR

This DB room is more than capable of coming away with numerous takeaways against Texas Tech (Photo By Eric Evans of Oregon Football Twitter)

Still, while we’d love to see this team strike quickly and dominate offensively, teams can rally against high-flying offenses often. That’s why turnovers are going to be the key to this game, and making a pass-heavy Raiders team uncomfortable.

Tyler Shough - Oregon Ducks Football - FishDuck.com in Eugene, OR

A familiar face leads the Red Raiders…(Photo by Tod Fierner)

2: Force Turnovers Through the Air

Tyler Shough, former starting quarterback for the Ducks, now heads the Red Raiders’ offense. As a transfer to the Texas program, Shough has shown some early flashes in this offense, and will not be an easy out when it comes to shutting down their offense.

Last week, Shough threw the ball 47 times,  and while that’s the makeup of this offense, it’s not going to work against this talented DB group. Oregon’s going to need to come away with an early takeaway to demoralize a high-flying offense like the Raiders have, and there may not be a better group in the country to get it done than Khyree JacksonDontae Manning, and Trikweze Bridges.

To really cement this team’s dominance and strike fear in future opponents, turnovers are going to have to start coming in bunches. There was defensive pressure certainly that should give us Duck fans some hope for the rest of the season, but zero sacks from this defensive front is not going to cut it moving forward.

Fortunately, both areas with lacking production can be solved this week. Let’s see the Ducks get a pair of interceptions against the Red Raiders, get Shough to start hitching his throws, and increase pressure from the pass rush as a result.

Bucky Irving - Oregon Ducks Football - FishDuck.com in Eugene, OR

Bucky Irving and the rest of the Ducks’ rushing attack compiled a whopping 300+ rushing yards vs PSU (Photo by Eugene Johnson)

1: Run, Run, and Run Some More

As a road game in the heat, we want this game over and done with as quickly as possible. The best way to do that in a 100-degree outing is to pummel your opponent on the ground, control the clock and the scoreboard. Texas Tech is fresh off a road loss to Wyoming, so they’ll be hungry for a W in their own house. Control the game with a sound rushing attack, and the Ducks should have no problem coming away with a win.

Overall, we’re riding high to start the year, but the Ducks cannot get comfortable in Texas. Fortunately, we’ll have the heat to keep us in check and on our A-game. Expect an early slugfest, and then a quick turn for the Oregon offense to annihilate an overheated, outmatched Texas Tech team.

The final score should hover around a lowly 45-27, in my best estimation. We’ll see if the Red Raiders can manage it.

Anyway, enough from me, Oregon fans. What do you think? What are the keys to victory in Lubbock this week? How confident are you in the Ducks pulling out a convincing win? Let us know what you think in the FishDuck Forum with decorum.

Go Ducks!

Alex Heining
Los Angeles, California
Top Photo By: Harry Caston

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