The Oregon Ducks have found a way to get past one hurdle that has been a problem as the season winds down. The month of November has not been kind to Mark Helfrich and his team over the last few years beginning with losses to Stanford followed by a loss the following week – last season at Arizona.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota, healthy this season, looks to end the trend of November problems in 2014 and the Oregon Ducks are off to a good start after a beat down of Stanford at Autzen Stadium this past weekend. Now the team takes the show on the road to Utah to take on the Utes and one of the toughest Defenses in the Pac-12 Conference. Mariota knows Utah will be ready, “Atmosphere going to be unbelieveable. We’re going to have to be prepared for htat. Up front deensively they are very good. They do play a lot of man free. They are a very aggressive defense that likes to bring pressure.”
Utah, ranked 6-2(3-2 Pac-12) enters the weekend ranked seventeenth in the country according to the latest numbers from the College Football Playoff Committee. The team ranks forty-second in Rushing yards and Oregon will be facing a one-thousand yard rusher in Donte Booker on Saturday(Booker needs just 10 yards to reach one-thousand yards on the season). Of course, Oregon counters with their own running game and Freshman Royce Freeman who has eight hundred forty six yards so far in 2014 and with a good day could also break the one-thousand yard mark.
When it comes to comparing quarterbacks Oregon Ducks Junior Marcus Mariota is having quite the season leading the NCAA in touchdowns and pass completion percentage. He also continues to climb the Oregon Ducks record books every time he sees the field. Mariota has thrown for over twenty-five hundred yards this season to go with twenty-six touchdowns and just two interceptions.
One area where the Oregon QB is not concerned is playing at Utah at a higher elevation. Mariota says the Ducks need to play their game, “Throughout my eyars hear played a few games where it’s been cold, we’re expecting that. We just have to play within our abilities.”
One area of non-concern this season seems to be the Offensive Line. In what could have turned the season into a disaster the team found a way to plug the holes just in time to play their best football of the season following the home loss to Arizona earlier this season. The running game has found holes, and a Running Back has found a new way to contribute….at Wide Receiver.
Oregon Ducks Running Back/Wide Receiver Bralon Addison a few weeks ago played a stellar game at Wideout against Cal catching four passes for one-hundred thirty three yards and a touchdown. Last season against Cal in Eugene he ran over the Golden Bears. Add to this the talent of Charles Nelson playing all over the field the last few games and the Offensive talent on this team has started to stand out and step up in a big way.
The Oregon Ducks are firing on all cylinders following the game against Stanford and will look to hit Rice-Eccles Stadium with a Quarterback hitting his stride this season in Marcus Mariota. Mark Helfrich and Company need just one more wih this season to get back to Santa Clara and Levi’s Stadium for the Pac-12 Championship game, but ultimately to get to a chance at a National Championship they would need to get there anyway.
Oregon and Utah take the field on Saturday night at 7pm Pacific Time on ESPN.
For a different take on the Oregon Ducks, visit AutzenZoo.com