No. 2 Oregon at No. 5 Stanford Preview: Part 1

Stanford Offense__Brian Cantoni

(Photo Courtesy of Brian Cantoni)
If the Cardinal want to have any shot at a BCS Bowl, they need to slow down Oregon’s high-speed offense for four quarters.

by Andrew Skaggs

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We are just eight days away from the most important Pac-12 game of the season. Over the next two weeks I will preview the different in-game matchups between Oregon and Stanford. Today I will tackle the matchup between Oregon’s offense and Stanford’s defense.

The secret on Oregon’s offense has been out for a while now. They are extremely good. Led by Heisman candidate QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon ranks second nationally in rushing yards and scoring. The dual-threat, redshirt sophomore from Hawaii has thrown for 20 touchdowns and zero interceptions, to go along with 511 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns. Oregon overwhelms opponents with their speed and pace of play. Despite starting out sluggish often, the Ducks typically run away from teams in the second half. Oregon only managed 14 points last season against Stanford in their only loss.

On the defensive side of the ball, Stanford is really hitting their stride as of late. In their last two games against UCLA and Oregon St., the Cardinal have allowed just 10 and 12 points respectively. The key to this revival has been the Stanford pass rush. The Cardinal sacked Qregon St. QB Sean Mannion eight times last Saturday. This will be key once again against Oregon and the dual-threat abilities of Mariota. Stanford will have to do so without the service of DE Ben Gardner, who suffered a season-ending injury last game. Trent Murphy will need to continue his excellent play, which has seen him rack up 10 sacks on the season so far.

Author: James

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