A Defining Moment
While the Oregon Ducks have already dispelled the threat of the USC Trojans (at least for the time being), they may face an even tougher test when they play host to the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday night in Autzen Stadium.
Matchup: Stanford at Oregon
Venue: Autzen Stadium (Eugene, Oregon)
Game Time, TV: 5:00pm PST, ABC/ESPN
Date: Saturday, November 17, 2012
Team Records: Oregon (10-0), Stanford (8-2)
Standings: Oregon (T-1st in PAC-12), Colorado (T-th in Pac-12)
The contest between these two Pac-12 North heavyweights marks the third straight year that the game will be featured on ESPN’s College Gameday, signifying the importance of this matchup in the big college football picture as well.
While Andrew Luck may be on to greener pastures, the Cardinal are still just as potent as they have been in recent history. And, with a defense that ranks towards the top of college football, Stanford is priming themselves for a big upset that would send the Ducks’ BCS National Championship hopes out the door. Oregon, for the third straight year, will be looking to dispel any hopes that Stanford has of claiming a Pac-12 Title.
While the Cardinal have lost two games this season, Stanford could easily be 11-0 even without a standout quarterback that they had for the past few years. They come into this matchup ranked 13th in the polls and can have a straight shot at the Pac-12 Championship should they beat the Ducks on Saturday.
For the Ducks, this game means they will face their toughest test of the season on defense. Oregon, after coming away from their game against California with yet another list of injuries, will look to bounce back on defense with most of their starters back in the rotation.
What to Watch: Stanford
The main thing for the Cardinal will be to see whether or not they can match Oregon’s speed on the edges. There is no doubt that Stanford is very good at limiting the amount of yards opposing offenses are able to gain up the middle of the field. When teams are able to spread the ball, as Oregon will, the Cardinal have had a tough time against containing all of their speed.
Should Stanford find a way to finally contain Oregon’s speed on the edges, the Cardinal may come away with one of their biggest wins in program history.
What to Watch: Oregon
Marcus Mariota will once again be responsible for putting this game on his shoulders as the Ducks take on the Cardinal. While Oregon’s rushing attack will be limited by a stout Stanford defense, Mariota should have the space and time to get the ball to his talented receivers.
If Mariota does stumble under pressure, something he has not done once this year, the Ducks could be in for a much closer game than they hope for.
Key Matchup: Oregon DL vs. Stepfan Taylor
One of the big factors in determining the outcome of this game will be Oregon’s defensive line and how they hold up against Stepfan Taylor and the Stanford rushing attack. As was seen with Cal last week, Oregon’s line had a tough time limiting the Cal running game, mainly due to the fact that much of Oregon’s defense was depleted.
It will be very interesting to see whether or not the Ducks’ line can immediately get back into true form and stop Stanford’s attack on all fronts.
Though the Cardinal will look to slow down the Ducks on offense and stay in this game for a little bit, the Ducks will pull away late in the game on their way to yet another big win.
Oregon 48 Stanford 14