What does Oregon get because of its troubles following a 52-27 reduction last week at home against Stanford? : A road game against a much better variant of the Cardinal.
The Ducks play at No. 11 Utah Saturday in Salt Lake City, Utah, and on paper have no chance to win, or even stay close. So much so the 14-point spread appears to be an insult to Utah by about ten points.
Oregon (3-7, 1-6 Pac-12) will roll into Utah (8-2, 5-2) with the second-worst rushing defense at the Pac-12 in 255.4 yards allowed per game to face the hottest rushing attack in the seminar.
“Same thing as last week, really,” Oregon defensive coordinator Brady Hoke said. “You’ve got to stop the run. There’s little doubt about it”
Oregon hasn’t stopped the run all season. Not against UC Davis and Virginia in what seems like ions ago. Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey ran rampant a week, scoring three touchdowns as the Cardinal, owners of the worst crime in the conference, averaging 340 yards per game, place up 540 yards of total offense on the Ducks.
Utah, averaging 433.7 yards per game is much better on offense than Stanford thanks to this wonderful performances of running back Joe Williams. He”retired” for four games to start the season only to be spoken back into playing. Since his return, Williams has averaged 216 total yards and 156.5 yards rushing per game. He has gained 939 racing yards on 7.0 yards per carry.
“He’s possibly the most volatile and also the quickest of any of the backs we’ve had here up to a house run-type back which could go the distance away from anywhere on the field,” Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham told reporters this week.
To make things worse for Oregon, Williams runs behind a veteran offensive line.
“They’re physical upfront,” Hoke said. “Quite senior-oriented offensive line with three men up there that have played a great deal of football”
The Ducks would be the opposite with one senior beginning on a young defense that’s rotated through 14 defensive linemen this season.
“We had a good week of practiceprecisely the same thing we did the week before,” Hoke said. “Our guys have come out and struggled , and been physical each time we go to the field.”
That intensity hasn’t translated into powerful performances on game titles. Saturday will likely be no different.
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