The No. 2 Oregon Ducks looked human this past Saturday against the Washington State Cougars with 3 first half fumbles and allowing 38 points. Meanwhile, Oregon rushed for 383 yards and scored 62 points in a key Pac-12 win. Oregon (7-0, 4-0) continues to run their gauntlet of a schedule with No. 12 UCLA coming to Eugene this Saturday.
Oregon premiered at No. 3 in the initial BCS rankings behind No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Florida State, while Oregon holds the No. 2 position in both the Coaches’ and AP Poll.
“That’s their opinions, we have no control over that,” Mariota said. “We’ll just continue to take it one game at a time.”
Surely, the Ducks will have their chance to improve their position in the BCS Standings with four nationally televised games (No. 12 UCLA, No. 6 Stanford, No. 25 Oregon State, and the PAC-12 Championship Game).
No team understands style points like the Ducks. This year, the Ducks continue to set a record pace offensively. Oregon is second in the nation in points per game (57.6) and second in rushing yards per game (332.4). Even more impressive, the Oregon defense has drastically improved only allowing 17.3 points per game which is 12th best in the nation.
Voters and NFL scouts will keep a good eye on this week’s match-up versus No. 12 UCLA (5-1, 2-1). This game features two Heisman trophy candidates and potential first-round picks in the Ducks’ Marcus Mariota and the Bruins’ Brett Hundley. UCLA is looking to rebound after last week’s heart-breaking loss to conference foe Stanford.
The Ducks will take on the upset-minded Bruins at 7pm EST on ESPN in Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.
I like the second-day story by the PAC-12 blog team at ESPN. Kevin Gemmell gives the major recap of the storylines in the PAC-12 this past weekend. He talks of the statement Stanford made against a good UCLA team. Then, he talks of the trends of certain teams like USC, ASU, and Washington. He finishes it up with an outlook of each division.
The No. 2 Oregon Ducks (5-0, 2-0) travel to Seattle, Washington to square off with the No. 16 Washington Huskies (4-1, 1-1) in a PAC-12 showdown. The Ducks first five opponents have a combined record of 11-14 this season. The Huskies will be the first top-25 team the Ducks have faced this season. Fresh from a last-minute defeat to Stanford, Washington looks for a statement win against Oregon on Saturday.
However, distractions loom over this showdown. Earlier in the week, Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian made comments that Stanford players faked injuries to slow Washington’s tempo on offense last week. Stanford head coach David Shaw responded quickly. “We don’t fake injuries. We never have and we never will,” Shaw said Tuesday. “And I don’t care what Steve Sarkisian thinks that he saw.”
Since then, Sarkisian has moved his sole focus to the Ducks. “I saw what I saw,” Sarkisian quickly moved on to, “I’m done with the subject.”
“We all are aware this is a tremendous rivalry in college football and has been for a long time,” Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said. “We’re excited to be part of it. That’s what makes college football special.”
On paper, the match-up could bring forth a very interesting game. Oregon and Washington both have top-25 passing attacks and top-15 rushing attacks. Oregon averages 59.2 points per game while only giving up 11.8 points per game, both of which are rank second in the nation.
Sarkisian and the Huskies know that it is impossible to stop the Ducks. Sarkisian and his staff look to coral the up-tempo offense of the Ducks, and they hope the Washington home-field advantage could help. Sarkisian looks forward to the challenge, “I think our guys are going to be prepared for whatever this game presents us.”
The Huskies will look to rebound against the Ducks Saturday at 4;30pm in Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington on the FOX Sports 1 Network.
The No. 5 Stanford Cardinal (3-0, 1-0) are poised to return to Pasadena. However, their eyes are not simply set on a Rose Bowl appearance as the representative for the PAC-12. Head coach, David Shaw, and the Cardinal are setting their sights on the BCS National Championship played in Pasadena on January 6, 2014. It’s far from a stretch to believe that Stanford can accomplish that feat.
Stanford’s team is a mirror image of their hard-working coach David Shaw. Under Shaw, Stanford is 25-4, and only have two non-conference losses in Shaw’s tenure. Last year, Stanford captured its first PAC-12 championship in nearly 13 years. They have appeared to back-to-back BCS Bowl games (2012 Fiesta Bowl and 2013 Rose Bowl).
Shaw’s emphasis for the Cardinal is the aggressiveness of the offensive and defensive line. “That’s the beginning of football,” Shaw says. “Our players, every time they walk in, they’ll feel both lines. That’s where football is won. That’s where the game is established. That’s where dominance is established.”
The stats certainly suggest Shaw’s sentiment. This year, the Cardinal are giving up 20.3 ppg while scoring nearly 37.0 ppg. The Cardinal continue to be a balanced offense. Stanford averages 211.3 yards rushing per game while throwing for a little under 200 yards a game (187.7).
Although junior quarterback Kevin Hogan is only averaging 187.7 yards a game, he has only passed the ball 62 times. Additionally, Hogan has a top-ten QBR at 87.7 (a rating higher than AJ McCaron, Johhny Manziel, Aaron Murray and Tahj Boyd). Why pass the ball when the defense can’t stop the run? Stanford averages over 5.0 yards per rush, and they have run the ball 124 times. The Cardinal have four rushers who average over 5.0 yards a carry, including Hogan himself.
Stanford’s balanced attack has generate much success against PAC-12 opponents. Under Shaw, they are staggering 18-2 in PAC-12 conference play. Over the past few seasons, the PAC-12 North division title has been decided in an early November meeting with rival Oregon Ducks. The Cardinal’s likelihood of repeating as conference champs will be determined in the upcoming weeks as they have four top-25 games left on their schedule, including Oregon, Washington, and Notre Dame.
This weekend, Stanford Cardinal will travel to CenturyLink Field in Seattle, WA to face the Washington State Cougars on ESPN, kickoff scheduled for 10:00 pm.