The anticipation for this week has lasted, it would seem, almost a lifetime.
From the moment Alejandro Maldonado sent a kick wide of the posts to give the USC Trojans a victory over the Oregon Ducks last year to quell Oregon’s hopes of a BCS National Championship berth, Ducks fans have been counting down the moments until their team could get revenge against the hated Men of Troy.
And, after a long wait that has seen the Ducks jump out to an 8-0 record and No. 2 position in the AP, Coaches, and Harris Poll, Oregon will finally get their long-awaited shot at the Trojans when they travel to Los Angeles this Saturday where they will look to prove to the nation that they are for real.
More than ever the Ducks need a victory over the Trojans to assert their case for being considered the number two college football program in the nation. While the Ducks are ranked second in all three human polls, Oregon remains behind Alabama, Kansas State, and Notre Dame in the BCS Standings due to their lower standing in the computers.
A win over the Trojans would begin to change that. With upcoming games against three ranked opponents, the Ducks will jump Kansas State and Notre Dame if they win out. Though their season started over eight weeks ago now, the Ducks find themselves on the verge of what is going to be an epic BCS National Championship race.
Saturday’s contest against USC has become even more important despite the Trojans not being able to overcome Stanford and Arizona.
With more than bragging rights and revenge on the line, here is what the Ducks have to do to take down the Trojans in Los Angeles.
Play Within Means
More than anything the Ducks need to play the same football they have played all year. They cannot go into this contest trying to exert more energy than they have in the past; doing so would be out-of-character and would likely cause them to be prone to making mistakes.
Oregon’s coaches and players must keep level heads throughout the contest and not become caught up in the fan frenzy that has already ensued this week. If the Ducks execute the same game they have all year, they will come away with a win.
Remember Arizona State
While USC and Arizona State are surely two different teams, the road experience the Ducks gained in Tempe will be crucial in the Ducks’ adjustment to yet another raucous venue on Saturday. Especially pertaining to the offensive players, the Ducks must remember what it was like to play in a loud road environment and remember that they can walk out of the stadium with their heads held high if they don’t let the crowd get to them.
Remembering Tempe will help them adjust to Los Angeles.
Take Away the Pass
Easier said than done, the Ducks have to limit Matt Barkley, Robert Woods, and Marqise Lee. Everybody has seen the Trojan air attack in action and it is absolutely amazing and scary at the same time. If you take away the air from the Trojans and force them to run the ball, things could become a lot easier for the Ducks.
As good of a back as Silas Redd is, the Ducks defensive front should be able to stop the USC run game if the Trojans are forced to put the ball on the ground.