Oregon Football Week 6 Preview | Odds
Before taking a week off for a bye, the No. 9 Oregon Ducks treated us to a second straight vintage performance. At Arizona, the offense delivered just as it did in 2010.
Oregon dropped 56 points on the hosting Wildcats and totaled 516 yards. LaMichael James exploded for 288 rushing yards and two scores; Kenjon Barber and quarterback Darron Thomas each ran for two more majors.
But the Ducks’ defensive woes continued. Nick Foles threw for 398 yards and three touchdowns. Oregon’s opponent this week, California, has the ninth-ranked run defense in the nation.
Since the Golden Bears could theoretically keep the Ducks’ ground game in check, an improved defensive effort to keep Cal off the board is imperative for Oregon this week.
It’s hard to ignore how weak Oregon’s defensive numbers look so far this season.
The 208 passing yards allowed per game aren’t bad at all, especially when Oregon’s opponents have had to play catchup, but Foles’ explosion in Week 4 was eye-opening. That Oregon is also allowing more than 180 rushing yards per game is especially concerning.
In California, Oregon will arguably face its most well-rounded offense yet. Zach Maynard has passed the ball pretty well, throwing for 1,073 yards, 10 touchdowns and three interceptions; Isi Sofele has 375 yard and four scores on 78 carries, good for a 4.8-yard rushing average.
Either guy could be the focal point against Oregon on Thursday night.
If the Ducks’ “D” can’t hold Cal back and the Golden Bears keep up their solid run defense, it may be time to take the leash off Darron Thomas and air it out. Cal is 79th in the nation against the pass.
When pushed into action, Thomas has the ability to step up; he has 12 touchdown passes versus one interception this season and has completed a respectable 61.1 per cent of his passes.
It’s possible that Cal’s “D” isn’t as good as it appears; Washington is arguably the only decent offense the Golden Bears have faced this season and Huskies still managed 409 yards of offense. So Oregon may in fact romp at home.
But the Golden Bears have at least shown enough that the Ducks better not look past them.