Game of the Week: Stanford vs. Oregon
ESPN’s College Gameday will head to Eugene, Oregon this Saturday as the seventh-ranked Stanford Cardinal take on the twentieth-ranked Oregon Ducks. The game will be televised on ABC starting at 8 p.m. ET.
The crucial PAC-12 North battle is expected to be a close game as the Cardinal open up as 1.5 point favorites. Both teams are undefeated this year and hoping to compete with preseason favorite Washington for the PAC-12 North championship. Stanford running back Bryce Love will return to the backfield after sitting out the game against UC Davis last week due to an undisclosed injury. There is some concern with Love’s health as he pulled himself out of the game against USC.
On the other hand, the Ducks are led by quarterback Justin Herbert. Herbert will have a tough task against the Cardinal defense after struggling in a win over the San Jose State Spartans last week.
Stanford might have to change its game plan this week by looking to pass more often. The Cardinal have had lots of success in running the ball against the Ducks in the previous 2 matchups as they combined to win both of them by 67 points. However, the Ducks allowed 29 rushing yards last week. They should be much more prepared in containing Love than they have in previous matchups against the Cardinal.
The difference for Stanford this year is their ability to throw the ball. Quarterback K.J. Costello has been excellent since taking the starting job last year. He has thrown for 729 yards with seven touchdowns and three interceptions this year and has great trust in his top receiver, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside who has accumulated 324 yards and five touchdowns.
The Oregon offense lined up against the Stanford defense will be the most intriguing matchup on Saturday night. Herbert in an absolute superstar as he has helped propel Oregon to average 52 points per game. However, his career 1-2 record against ranked opponents isn’t great and his task this week will not be easy. Stanford is a physical team that has allowed just 7.7 points per game on the season, which is the best in college football. They also forced talented USC quarterback J.T. Daniels to complete less than 50 percent of his throws and picked him off twice. Oregon’s offense is very dynamic and will score points. However, Stanford has too many weapons to counteract the Ducks and will take advantage of Herbert’s mistakes.
The difference in this game is whether Herbert and the Ducks can put up enough points against a discipline Cardinal defense. It will not be difficult for the Cardinal to find the back of the end zone even if Love isn’t completely healthy given their passing attack. Therefore, Oregon must find ways to score if they want to compete. Oregon has had success scoring this year, but they haven’t faced any competition and its win last week was not very impressive. Stanford has seen quality opponents in San Diego State and USC and is well rested after facing UC Davis last week. I expect the Cardinal to wear down the Ducks and take over the game in the second half.
Prediction: Stanford 35, Oregon 17
Matthew White is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in business. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org