Before kickoff between the Colorado Buffaloes and the Oregon Ducks football team, the EDN Sports team gives their analysis and predictions.
Kickoff: Saturday, October 5th @ 4:00 p.m. MST (Pac-12 Network, 420 Comcast)
Folsom Field (Boulder, Colorado)
Spread: Oregon -39.0 (Vegas Insider)
On paper this game should be no different than the last two between these Pac-12 foes – the Ducks have won by an average of 49.5 points per (115-16). But what looks good on paper isn’t always reality.
While Ducks coaches and players can chant “Win the Day” and talk about not overlooking an opponent all they want, the reality is Oregon plays its bitter rival and possibly its stiffest competition the following week in the Washington Huskies. The Ducks might not be looking all the way ahead, but they’re definitely peeking.
With star running back De’Anthony Thomas out for the game with a sprained ankle, Oregon’s high-octane offense may not be the well oiled machine it typically is.
The Ducks have struggled coming slow out of the gates thus far – excluding the Cal game – and adding in the high altitude and a pissed off Buffs team looking to make a turnaround, this game will be closer than most Ducks fans would like to see.
Look for Buffs star wide receiver Paul Richardson to challenge the Ducks’ stout secondary early on before Nick Aliotti finds a way to right the ship and force some turnovers. I expect at least three interceptions from the Oregon DBs.
Score Prediction: Oregon Ducks 50, Colorado Buffaloes 17
Game MVP: Marcus Mariota
The Ducks will look to recover from last Saturday’s rainstorm in a state that is all too familiar with rain. Though the Colorado Buffaloes have already produced a better season than last year, they are far from even a mild threat to the Ducks.
Rodo’s best player is wide receiver Paul Richardson who sprinted through the first two games, totaling over 200 yards against Colorado State and Central Arkansas. However, Robinson and the Buffalo passing attack fell flat last week against the Beavers. Though the Beav’s defense is obviously a completely different animal than the Ducks D, struggling against a defense that nearly gave up 50 points to a non-FBS team and a Pac-12 bottom-dweller is bad sign. This week they face possibly Oregon’s most well rounded defense since the beginning of the golden era. And if Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and/or Terrance Mitchell are able to shut down Robinson, the Buffs have few other options. Colorado ranks 105th in the nation in rushing, averaging a meager 3.3 per touch. As for the rest of the passing game, Colorado hasn’t been able to find a reliable second option. Robinson has nearly 100 more yards receiving than the rest of the team combined.
Similarly, the defensive side of the ball looks bleak to say the least for the Buffs. Not only are the Ducks far more talented and well seasoned than Colorado, but after a frustrating outing last week, Marcus Mariota and co. will be chomping at the bit to take advantage of regular football conditions. De’Anthony Thomas may be absent from the lineup, but they won’t need him this week.
Score Prediction: Oregon Ducks 63, Colorado Buffaloes 10
Game MVP: Marcus Mariota
I can’t sugar coat it enough, this game is going to be terrible for the Buffaloes. A week after their hopes of a turnaround season were shot down in Corvallis, the Buffaloes returns home for the premier team of the Pac-12 whose offense is firing on all cylinders. This is not an Oregon team without concerns; De’Anthony Thomas is out, Colt Lyerla has yet to perform up to his high standards and Marcus Mariota‘s got a sub-60 completion percentage.
Ah, the sky’s falling again in Eugene.
But regardless of the issues raised above, the Oregon offense can still move the ball on just about anyone, and that very much includes the new-look Buffs. With Thomas’ absence for another week, Byron Marshall will look to repeat his outstanding first quarter against Cal. Against Colorado’s undersized defensive line — led by senior defensive end (and Hendricks award nominee) Chidera Uzo-Diribe — Oregon shouldn’t miss Thomas too much, and Marshall could become the first Duck this year to break 400 rushing yards on the season.
But once they get up there in that rarified air over Folsom Field, though, look for Josh Huff to put up some big numbers after a frustrating night in the torrential downpour at Autzen Stadium and just absolutely wreck the underachieving Buffalo secondary.
Paul Richardson will pick up some yards for the Buffaloes. He was held to 70 against the Beavs and should surpass the century mark by game’s end. 113 yards in this game would give him 600 on the season, and I think he’ll get that at the least, but it won’t be enough as Brian Jackson, Terrance Mitchell and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu will probably catch a few of Connor Wood‘s errant passes.
Oregon should score plenty early, reach the 40-point mark before halftime and put in Jeff Lockie midway through the third quarter.
Score Prediction: Oregon Ducks 59, Colorado Buffaloes 16
Game MVP: Josh Huff