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Preview: Stanford vs Oregon

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The two teams are both having down years.

Oregon v Stanford Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Remember when the Oregon vs Stanford matchup decided the conference champion? Remember when Oregon reached the national championship? Remember when Stanford reached the Rose Bowl? Seems like just yesterday, but this year is different. Neither team has the playoff in sight nor the possibility of becoming conference champion. For once in a long time, this game will just be a regular game. No big television networks will be covering the game, and outside the PAC-12, college football fans won’t be affected by the game’s outcome. However despite not getting national attention, the matchup will still be competitive.

Sitting at 3-6, Oregon must win this game to keep bowl hopes alive. Oregon’s season has been filled with a few close losses but also a few blow outs. Nebraska, Colorado, and Cal all sneaked past the Ducks while Washington, Washington State, and USC embarrassed them. In most games, Royce Freeman has been a surprising disappointment. He came into the season with Heisman hopes, but after getting injured against Nebraska, Oregon’s star returned a completely different player. In the last four games, Freeman has not ran for more than fifty yards, and his average yards per carry has been terrible. Stanford will contain a struggling Royce Freeman. Secondly, Oregon has a similar quarterback situation to Stanford. They’ve switched between quarterbacks all year, but it seems like Justin Herbert has officially taken the job. As a freshman, Herbert has done surprisingly well. He rarely throws interceptions and has a good completion percentage. Facing a strong Stanford secondary, Herbert needs to keep his composure and avoid turnovers. Overall, Oregon’s offense is not the scoring machine they once were, but they still can put points on the board.

Defensively, well, there’s no positive way to describe the Oregon defense. Out of 128 FBS teams, Oregon ranks 126th in total defense. Ouch. PAC-12 teams consistently score over thirty points against the Ducks, and Washington even scored seventy. Stanford could very well have their best offensive showing in Eugene. After two straight wins, the Stanford offense has momentum, and the Cardinal are starting to figure things out offensively. McLovin’ will run all over the weak Oregon defense, which will allow Chryst to get comfortable in the pocket. The Stanford offense should exploit the Ducks on Saturday and have their best game yet.

Oregon has been competitive in a lot of games this year. They have played a very difficult schedule and are better than their record shows. Oregon’s offense is a possible threat as they scored 54 points against ASU; however, the Cardinal defense is much better than the Sun Devils’. Still, be wary of the Ducks on offense. On defense, the Ducks struggle, but Stanford’s offense has struggled as well. Stanford, however, has improved offensively in the last two games, but I can’t imagine the Cardinal score 40+ points, allowing the game to be in reach for the Ducks. Ultimately, Stanford will control the game but have little breathing room in a tough road environment. Stanford prevails 31-24.

Stanford vs Oregon airs 1 PT on PAC-12 Networks. Be sure to tune in.