What does Oregon get for its troubles following a loss a week at home against Stanford? : A road game against a much better variant of the Cardinal.
The Ducks play at No. 11 Utah Saturday at Salt Lake City, Utah, and on paper have no chance to win, or even remain close. So much so that the 14-point spread seems 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) using all the second-worst rushing defense at the Pac-12 at 255.4 yards allowed per game to confront the hottest racing attack in the seminar.
“Same thing as last week, really,” Oregon defensive coordinator Brady Hoke said. “You have got to stop the run. There’s no doubt about it”
Oregon hasn’t stopped the run . Not against UC Davis and Virginia in what appears like beams ago. Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey ran rampant last week, scoring three touchdowns as the Cardinal, owners of the worst offense in the conference, averaging 340 yards per game, put up 540 yards of total offense on the Ducks.
Utah, averaging 433.7 yards per game is better on offense than Stanford thanks to this amazing performances of running Joe Williams. He”retired” for four games to start the season only to be talked 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 the fastest of some of the backs we have had here as far as a home run-type back which can extend the distance away from anywhere on the field,” Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham told colleagues this week.
To make matters worse for Oregon, Williams runs behind a veteran offensive line.
“They are physical upfront,” Hoke said. “Very senior-oriented offensive line together with three men up there that have played a lot of football.”
The Ducks would be the contrary with one senior starting on a young defense that has rotated through 14 defensive linemen this year.
“We had a good week of training precisely the same thing we did the week before,” Hoke said. “Our guys have come out and struggled and been physical every time we go to the field.”
That intensity has not translated into powerful performances on game titles. Saturday will probably be no different.
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