No. 4 Oregon Ducks vs. Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (Preview and Predictions)
The No. 4 Oregon Ducks and Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles will face off in week three in a battle of unbeatens. Yes, one is an FBS and the other an FCS but it’s still something worth noting.
Oregon (2-0) has dealt with headlines of the losses of seniors Carson York and John Boyett to season ending injuries. Tennessee Tech (2-0) is hoping to play spoiler.
The Ducks will have the emotional ride of losing Boyett and York on their minds. There’s no doubt that their replacements (Avery Patterson and Ryan Clanton) will have a lot to play for. Will they be feeling pressure, or pride? Hard to say.
Oregon’s big test will be if they can avoid the trending poor second half performances. It’s safe to say the Ducks are heavy favorites and should be up big at half time, but how will the second and third units fare. I say this is the week the right to wrongs and have a solid second half by both units.
Look for backup QB Bryan Bennett to have huge numbers, better than week one, and bring faith back into Ducks fans that the second units are something to be confident in.
Tennessee Tech calls their offense, “The Fastest Sixty Minutes in College Football.” So what does that make Oregon’s offense? It makes it downright lethal, which is exactly what the Ducks will be on Saturday. Look for this to be the biggest blowout of the season for Oregon as they use it as one final tune-up before conference play begins next weekend. Marcus Mariota will have an Arkansas State type performance, De’Anthony Thomas will continue to score seemingly at will, and Kenjon Barner will put up another big day. The Oregon defense will step up to the challenge of losing All-American safety John Boyett and shut down wide receiver Da’Rick Rodgers, a transfer from Tennessee who led the SEC in receptions last season with 67.
Much like Oregon’s opening weekend, this game will be over by the time the second quarter rolls around, and Chip Kelly will once again give plenty of his guys the chance to play. By the fourth quarter, Kelly will start brining in the students to play. (Okay, maybe not to that extreme, but the point remains the same.) This should be an entertaining first half for Ducks fans to soak up some sun and enjoy another early season Oregon blowout.
It’s been a rough week for Oregon. Having lost senior stalwarts John Boyett and Carson York to season-ending knee injuries, the Ducks’ title outlook took a significant hit.
Of course, in Saturday’s game against Tennessee Tech, none of that matters. A week after playing Division II North Greenville University, the Golden Eagles waltz into Autzen Stadium for what just about everyone expects to be a brutal beating. That’s not to say Tennessee Tech is devoid of talent – wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers thrived at University of Tennessee before being kicked off the team for behavioral issues. Quarterback Tre Lamb and running back Adam Urbano add versatility to head coach Watson Brown’s high octane attack that netted the Golden Eagles a share of the Ohio Valley Conference championship in 2011.
Whatever “high octane” constitutes for Tennessee Tech certainly pales in comparison to what the Ducks put out on the field. Once again, expect a few De’Anthony Thomas circus touchdowns, continued growth from Marcus Mariota – be it by way of beautiful passes or maddening fumbles – and steady running from Kenjon Barner. It’s a fair assumption that Oregon will put up fifty-plus points in the first half, and that we’ll see Bryan Bennett, Byron Marshall, and plenty more second unit guys in the second half. This game will not be close, by any means, so it will be important to keep an eye on individual performances as players jockey for position with Pac-12 play on the horizon.