Game prediction: Oregon limps into No. 11 Utah looking for something to cling to
What does Oregon get for its difficulties after a reduction last week at home against Stanford? : A road game against a better variant of this Cardinal.
The Ducks play in No. 11 Utah Saturday in Salt Lake City, Utah, and on paper have no chance to win, or perhaps 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 conference.
“Same thing as last week, really,” Oregon defensive coordinator Brady Hoke said. “You have got to stop the run. There is no doubt about it.”
Oregon has not stopped the run all season. Not against UC Davis and Virginia in what seems like beams ago. Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey ran rampant last week, scoring three touchdowns as the Cardinal, owners of the worst crime in the conference, averaging 340 yards per game, put up 540 yards of total offense on the Ducks.
Utah, averaging 433.7 metres per game is much better on offense than Stanford thanks to the amazing performances of running Joe Williams. He”retired” for four games to begin the season just to be talked back into enjoying. Since his return, Williams has averaged 216 total yards and 156.5 yards rushing per game. He’s gained 939 racing yards on 7.0 yards per carry.
“He’s maybe the most volatile and the fastest of any of the backs we’ve had here up to a house run-type back that can go the distance 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’re bodily upfront,” Hoke said. “Very senior-oriented offensive line together with three guys up there that have played a lot of football.”
The Ducks are the opposite with one senior starting on a young defense that has rotated through 14 defensive linemen this year.
“We had a good week of training , same thing we did the week before,” Hoke said. “Our guys have come out and foughtand been physical each time we go on the field.”
That intensity hasn’t translated into powerful performances on game titles. Saturday will probably be no different.
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