Ducks Still Dangerous: Oregon v Stanford Preview

It’s Oregon v Stanford.

While all the other Power 5 conferences have long held to a couple traditional rivalries that have stood the test of time in terms of national significance, the Pac 12’s marquee matchup has floated between the Canadian and Mexican borders for generations depending on simply who’s good that particular year.

Now we have Oregon v Stanford.

The Cardinal and Ducks have won every conference championship since 2009. At 7-0 in conference play, Stanford is vying to make it seven straight years of the Pac 12’s premier rivalry owning the conference. Though the Cardinal are a significant favorite (-10), this year’s game should provide the usual entertainment factor while the importance on the Stanford said is evident for both the Pac 12 and the College Football Playoff.

Don’t completely destroy the stereotype of Stanford muscle clashing with Oregon speed. Tweak it just a bit though. This Stanford team can muscle you and run by you. In eight consecutive wins, the Cardinal are outscoring opponents by 20.3 points per game. The offense is averaging 441 yards per game and 37.1 points per outing.

Kevin Hogan is finishing off an illustrious career playing his most efficient football (66.2%, 16 TD, 6 INT). Old-timers Michael Rector (18 receptions, 4 TD) and Devon Cajuste (16-2) are still the favored downfield targets. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Cajuste is ready this week after concussion like symptoms suffered vs Colorado. Tight end Austin Hooper has blossomed into one of the nation’s best at his position and leads the team in receiving yards and TD’s (5).

Watching Oregon’s porous, yet still speedy defense chase Christian McCaffrey should be a treat. McCaffrey leads the nation in all-purpose yardage (241.6 ypg). According to ESPN.com, he is just the 5th Pac 12 player since 1978 to average over 200 yards per game and the first Cardinal since Glyn Milburn in 1990.

Oregon might be 6-3, but the Ducks are starting to resemble themselves.

Vernon Adams is finally healthy and showing off his playmaking skills (59%, 14 TD, 5 INT). Oregon’s absence from the national scene has made many forget how good Royce Freeman (1287 rush yards, 6.6 ypc, 11 TD). In recent weeks, the Ducks have shifted backfield duty to three impressive youngsters in freshmen Taj Griffin (7.6 ypc) and Tony Brooks-James (8.2) and sophomore Kani Benoit (7.7).

Bralon Addison is back from missing all of 2014 and leading the Ducks with 42 receptions. No Oregon target comes close to Addison’s overall production, although it’s good to see Darren Carrington back in the lineup. Carrington stepped on the field for the first time three weeks ago and has immediately made a huge impact with games of 125, 107 and 112 yards receiving. He is averaging a robust 24.2 yards per catch.

Enjoy the rest of our MarkRogersTV breakdown with Donald King right here from Last Word on Sports.

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Mark brings a passionate view and analytical eye to college football discussion. A 3-time Associated Press Mississippi Sportscaster of the year, Mark owns 23 years of anchor, reporting, producing and management experience in local and network television at ESPN, WCBI and WNCO. During that time, Mark covered several SEC championship games, bowl games, College World Series and a Final Four. Mark’s interview subjects range from Peyton Manning, Jerry Rice, Brett Favre, Archie Griffin to Vince Gill and Robin Roberts. Mark currently displays his skills on his Youtube Channel, MarkRogersTV which houses over 1600 college football videos with opinion and analysis, and also interviews with current coaches including Tommy Tuberville and Sonny Dykes.

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