Corey Buchanan

2013 Pac-12 Pick’em: Week Ten

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Pac-12 football is back and we at EDN Sports will do a weekly Pac-12 Pick’em. Each week we’ll give you our picks and track how we’ve done so far.

Season Pick’em Standings:

  • Alex Shoemaker: 53-11 (5-0 last week)
  • Ryan Beltram: 50-14 (5-0)
  • Isaac Rosenthal: 50-14 (4-1)
  • Corey Buchanan: 49-15 (4-1)
  • Franklin Bains: 48-16 (4-1)
  • David Saez: 47-17 (3-2)

Thursday

Arizona State (5-2, 3-1) at Washington State (4-4, 2-3) 7:30 p.m. (ESPN 35)

Both teams have a lot riding on this game. With a win the Sun Devils maintain ts one-game lead over Pac-12 South foe UCLA. For the Cougars, a win moves them closer to bowl eligibility – needing six wins to reach that mark. ASU has dominated this series of late, winners of eight of the last nine. But this Cougs offense might just have enough fire power to keep it close.

X-factorConnor Halliday. Halliday and Mike Leach can start to breath deeply. After taking a 24-17 lead against Oregon State, the Cougs saw the full power of the Beaver State’s secondaries and threw 7 interceptions over the course of the next 5 quarters. Now they get a Thursday date with the Sun Devils and can put some distance between themselves and Steven Nelson, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Terrance Mitchell. That’s not to say that Halliday can’t throw picks to the Sun Devil defense, just that it’s not as likely as it would be against the Beavs and Ducks (first and second, respectively, in the conference in interceptions).

Alex: Arizona State  Isaac: Arizona State   Corey: Arizona State   Franklin: Washington State   David: Arizona State   RyanArizona State

Friday

USC (5-3, 2-2) at Oregon State (6-2, 4-1) 6 p.m. (ESPN2 36)

Friday’s showdown between the Trojans and Beavs is the best game of the week in the Pac-12 by most analysts. Oregon State looks to bounce back from a hard-fought loss to No. 5 Stanford on Saturday, while USC is 2-1 since the firing of then head coach Lane Kiffin and only a four-point loss away from being undefeated in that stretch. While neither one of these teams is out of the running for a conference title, it’d take a great stretch of luck in November. A win on Friday is a must.

X-factorOSU O-Line vs. USC D Front. Oregon State’s offensive line hasn’t exactly impressed through nine weeks. The holes haven’t been there for Storm Woods and so while the rushing game has gone away, the passing game has flourished. That’s not to say, however, that Sean Mannion hasn’t been running for his life at times. He has been. And USC has the athletes throughout the forest of its front 7 to get in Mannion’s head. For OSU to win, they’ll need their own forest to step up and protect.

Alex: USC  Isaac: Oregon State   Corey: Oregon State   Franklin: Oregon State   DavidOregon State   RyanOregon State

Saturday

Arizona (5-2, 2-2) at California (1-7, 0-5) 12:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Network 420)

The Golden Bears and Arizona Wildcats have had one of the most competitive matchups in the league for years. At 14-14-2 all-time and 2-2 over the past four meetings, it wouldn’t be crazy to expect a close game. However, this may be the worst Cal team in a decade while the Wildcats are winners of their last two games and have an outside shot of winning the Pac-12 South. This could be close early, but Rich Rodrigues’ high powered running attack should tear apart the Bears’ defense.

X-factorB.J. Denker. The senior QB has the same amount of rushing and passing TDs (8) this year, and is starting to come into his own as the Wildcats field general. Against the Cal rushing defense though, his job early will be just to hand off to the conference’s best RB in Ka’Deem Carey. If the conference’s worst team by a margin makes a push for its first FBS win this season though, Denker has the ability to tuck and run and will use it.

Alex: Arizona  Isaac: Arizona   Corey: Arizona   Franklin: Arizona   DavidArizona   RyanArizona

Colorado (3-4, 0-4) at No. 20 UCLA (5-2, 2-2) 4:30 (Fox Sports 1 408)

On paper, the top-25 Bruins should have every advantage against a still rebuilding Buffaloes squad still looking for its fist conference win. However, with the Bruins looking to keep up energy after two loses to Stanford and Oregon its hard to say just what mindset the team will be in. This has textbook upset alert written all over it.

X-factorBrett Hundley. The last two weeks haven’t exactly been kind to the sophomore quarterback. Stanford (219) and then Oregon (136) held him to his lowest total yardage output of his career. Before the Stanford game, he had never been held to less than 250 yards in a game, and in 10 of 19 career games, he recorded over 300 yards. Colorado has nothing to lose this week, but they also don’t have the athletes to compete with UCLA’s skill position players.

Alex: UCLA  Isaac: UCLA   Corey: UCLA   Franklin: UCLA   DavidUCLA   RyanUCLA

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Oregon Ducks Defense Steps up in 42-14 Win Over UCLA

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The Oregon Ducks (8-0, 5-0) defeated the UCLA Bruins (5-2, 2-2) 42-14 Saturday night at Autzen Stadium. The end result would suggest that it was a lopsided affair, however, at least the first three quarters provided a good amount of uneasiness for the Duck football faithful. Oregon played its best football in quarter four and ended up scoring 28 unanswered points.

Despite not starting at running back, Byron Marshall was instrumental in Oregon’s victory, rushing for 133 yards on 19 carries. Starter, De’Anthony Thomas made his first appearance since the beginning of the California game and was met with a number of rude awakenings early on. Thomas was body-slammed, leveled helmet to helmet and thrown like a rag doll in the first half. He finished the game with 31 yards on 10 carries and didn’t play in the second half. As you might expect, Helfrich did not reveal why the speedster did not play after halftime.

Oregon vs UCLA
The Oregon Ducks offensive line had a strong second half against the UCLA Bruins defensive line | (Alex Shoemaker/Eugene Daily News)

Unlike last week, this game was dominated by Oregon’s stout defense. UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley only through for 54 yards and was intercepted twice by Boseko Lokombo and Avery Patterson. Hundley and the Bruins may have scored two first half touchdowns, but neither drive was more than 40 yards. The first touchdown came after a fumble by Keanon Lowe on the second play from scrimmage of the game and the second came after UCLA blocked a Alejandro Maldonado punt.

“Arguably this could be the best defense in Oregon history,” said Lokombo.

Despite not starting for the second week in a row, Lokombo came up big, sacking Hundley once and delivering two tackles for losses along with his interception. Patterson was seemingly all over the field and contributed three tackles for losses.

“I love the players in that locker room. The things we do in practice is why we play our best,” said Patterson.

The UCLA offense was held scoreless and only tallied 94 yards in the second half.

De'Anthony Thomas
De’Anthony Thomas strikes a Heisman pose in a 42-14 victory over UCLA in Autzen Stadium | (Alex Shoemaker/Eugene Daily News)

Allioti commented on the coaching staff’s ‘halftime adjustments.’

“People think we do something fancy or unbelievable during halftime, but really, the magic is in the kids,” he said.

He also talked about how his players were determined not to give up any points in the second half. ‘The Ducks D’ was true to their word.

“I love it when they talk dirty to me,” Aliotti said jokingly.

However, UCLA was able to run the ball effectively at times. Hundley delivered the most scintillating run of the game. After almost getting sacked, the UCLA quarterback cut his way past multiple Oregon defenders and gained 30 yards. Unfortunately for the Bruins, he threw a pass to Lokombo the next play. UCLA finished with 219 yards on the ground, including 99 from running back Paul Perkins. Bruin starting running back Jordon James did not play due to an ankle injury.

Marcus Mariota through a few balls at the legs of receivers early, but had a strong second half and continued his historic interception-less streak. Mariota finished the game with 230 yards and one touchdown. However, his nine-game streak of scoring a touchdown on the ground and through the air ended.

As he is used to by now, Thomas Tyner served as cleanup crew. Despite not playing until the fourth quarter, Tyner ended up with 77 yards on 14 carries. Bralon Addison had a relatively ho-hum game but was still able to contribute, catching six passes for 66 yards and scoring the Ducks’ only receiving touchdown. Josh Huff added 76 yards on six catches.

“We just had to strap our boots up, continue to fight and continue to burn,” Addison said, regarding the adversity Oregon faced.

Lokombo has noticed how many Pac-12 schools, like UCLA, have tried to copy some of the things Oregon does as a program.

“A lot of people are going to try to emulate us, but we’re the top dog,” he said.

Until the Stanford game, Lokombo couldn’t be more right.

2013 Pac-12 Pick’em: Week Nine

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Pac-12 football is back and we at EDN Sports will do a weekly Pac-12 Pick’em. Each week we’ll give you our picks and track how we’ve done so far.

Season Pick’em Standings:

  • Alex Shoemaker: 48-11 (4-3 last week)
  • Isaac Rosenthal: 46-13 (6-1)
  • Corey Buchanan: 45-14 (3-4)
  • David Saez: 44-15 (3-4)
  • Franklin Bains: 44-15 (3-4)
  • Ryan Beltram: 45-14 (4-3)

Utah (4-3, 1-3) at USC (4-3, 1-2), 1 p.m., Pac-12 Network (Comcast 420)

USC and Utah meet as equals in an odd way. USC has improved from a pitiful start that forced Lane Kiffin’s exit, but seem to at least have found their way. Utah, however, stands among its conference opponents after a couple mediocre years to start their membership in the Pac-12, having toppled Stanford two weeks ago. Look for this one to come down to which team can establish the run.

X-factor: Travis Wilson’s Status. Wilson indicated he will try to play Saturday against the up-and-down Trojans, and he’s the biggest key to any game the Utes play this season. But especially now, as they take to the road against an angry USC team, Wilson will need to hit Dres Anderson and the other above average skill players to stay together against the streaky Trojans. The Utes front lines are underrated and they’ll test Silas Redd and Tre Madden, especially with USC missing the talents of Marqise Lee.

Alex: USC  Isaac: Utah   Corey: USC   Franklin: Utah   DavidUtah   RyanUSC

No. 12 UCLA (5-1, 2-1) at No. 3 Oregon (7-0, 4-0), 4 p.m., ESPN (Comcast 35)

Oregon’s first big test will come a week after UCLA’s initial exam. Where the Bruins failed theirs, the Ducks are in prime position to excel. The Bruin defense might have a tougher task than the offense here, as stopping the Ducks — the Cardinal proved last year — takes a task of bringing the Oregon offense back down to earth. Brett Hundley and Marcus Mariota will impress occasionally, but the defenses should pitch an impressive battle in this one.

X-factorDerrick Malone vs. UCLA Running Game. UCLA needs a strong push with its running offense to get the wheels spinning against the Oregon defense. If they can hold the ball and keep it moving without opening up chances against the Duck secondary — eager after some success in the INT category last week — they’ll have a chance to stay in the game, but the Ducks are just too good to be slowed down, even by the best linebacker in the country.

Alex: Oregon  Isaac: Oregon   Corey: Oregon   Franklin: Oregon   DavidOregon   RyanOregon

Arizona (4-2, 1-2) at Colorado (3-3, 0-3), 5 p.m., Pac-12 Network (Comcast 420)

Arizona is impossible to predict this year, which makes their game against the confusing Buffs all more confusing. B.J. Denker is a solid enough option threat, but that’s about it as USC proved his downfield threat pretty moot. Arizona has the athletes to put Colorado away, but Colorado has the excitement factor that might bring this one down to the wire.

X-factor: Ka’Deem Carey. The last time Carey played this team, he ran for a career high and 366 yards. This is a different Colorado team than it was a year ago, but it’s still one that’s giving up yards in bunches to FBS teams and that’s not going to work well against the nation-leading back (161 yards per game). Colorado has a couple good young linebackers, but they’ll be run over by the Arizona run game.

Alex: Arizona  Isaac: Arizona   Corey: Colorado   Franklin: Arizona   DavidArizona   RyanArizona

No. 6 Stanford (6-1, 4-1) at No. 25 Oregon State (6-1, 4-0), 7:30 p.m., ESPN (Comcast 35)

A top-10 opponent, strolling into Corvallis to improve on their national championship hopes, while an angry Beaver squad is licking its chops. Stop me if you’ve heard this one. It’s a popular pick for everyone’s upset bids this weekend, and for good reason. The Beavers can score in bunches, but have some sneaking suspicions on defense and that ominous FCS loss hanging over them. Don’t be surprised if Brandin Cooks starts knocking on the door of 1,500 season receiving yards as he enters the weekend with a ridiculous 1,176.

X-factorEd Reynolds vs. Sean Mannion. Let’s state some things that are facts: Oregon State’s near-league-worst rushing is not going to be effective against Stanford’s near-league-best rush defense. The Cardinal’s rushing attack is going to be very effective against the Beavs’ tacklers. Kevin Hogan is not a good quarterback. This game will come down to how many times (not if) Mannion can connect with his All-American split end Cooks. If Reynolds can keep the ball in front of him, Stanford can choke out the confusing Beavers.

Alex: Stanford  Isaac: Stanford   Corey: Stanford   Franklin: Stanford   DavidOregon State   RyanStanford

California (1-6, 0-4) at Washington (4-3, 1-3), 8 p.m., Fox Sports 1 (Comcast 408)

One of these things is not like the other. Despite the fact that Washington is looking a four-week losing streak straight in the face, the chances of them blinking against the winless-against-the-FBS Cal Golden Bears is not likely. Washington still has the athletes, still has the prestige, but now they have the anger and something to prove that should give them the edge over conference-worst Cal. (Psst, Sonny Dykes, you can’t draft Andrew Wiggins after the season in college football.)

X-factorBishop Sankey. Sankey did not have a very good week last week as the Huskies got pounded for their third loss in a row — the second-straight by at least 21 and third of the season. After scoring the first points of the game, putting the Huskies up 7-0, Sankey added just 13 more rushing yards and one catch for 26 yards. Washington needs a big statement against a bad Cal team to avoid continuing to swirl the drain in the direction of a seven-win season. That starts with a big day for Sankey.

Alex: Washington  Isaac: Washington   Corey: Washington   Franklin: Washington   DavidWashington   RyanWashington

Oregon Ducks Manhandle Huskies, 45-24, to Make it 10 Straight

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The Oregon Ducks defeated the Washington Huskies 45-24 at Husky Field in front of a ruckus crowd in Seattle, Washington. Though the score was close at times through three quarters, the Ducks pulled away in the fourth. Oregon’s offense just wouldn’t let up, accumulating 631 yards including 366 through the air. The Ducks have now completed a decade of supremacy over their rivals to the north.

“To go into a hostile environment, make some adjustments and execute the adjustments. It’s a sign of a mature team,” Oregon Ducks head coach Mark Helfrich said.

Oregon Ducks vs Washington Huskies
Marcus Mariota snaps the ball | (Alex Shoemaker/Eugene Daily News)

Quarterback Marcus Mariota added, “I just told our guys, relax we’ll be fine. Take it one play at a time and we’ll be successful.”

Mariota delivered another jaw-dropping performance, throwing darts with precision all around the field. He finished the game with 466 total yards including 97 on the ground and four total touchdowns. Bralon Addison also continued his outstanding play on his birthday. The explosive receiver tallied 157 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Running back Byron Marshall added his fifth 100-yard rushing game of the season, running for 106 yards on 19 carries.

[gn_quote style=”1″]“This is actually the first time I’ve ever playing football on my birthday. To get a team win, it was great,” said Addison.[/gn_quote]

The game started out a little wacky to say the least. And Keanon Lowe’s drop of a would-be easy touchdown catch was only the beginning of the madness. On the Ducks’ first touchdown drive, the referee’s reviewed three plays in a row. First, the refs ruled a touchback on a Josh Huff fumble just outside the end zone. But after review, the fumble was overturned and the ball was placed at the 1-yard line. Then, a Mariota touchdown run was reversed and once again placed at the one-yard line. Finally, the referee’s got it right the first time after legitimizing a Marshall touchdown run after another stint in the booth.

The Huskies retort was a successful one, scoring a touchdown via a reception in the end zone by tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. The first quarter ended 7-7 and remarkably ended in a 115-115 tie in yards gained. However, the second quarter was won handily by Oregon. Addison scored a pivotal four-yard touchdown and Marshall added another touchdown, this time from 15-yards out. The Ducks out-gained the Huskies 166-46 in quarter two.

Josh Huff
Josh Huff was carried off of the field after this play, but returned to the game later on | (Alex Shoemaker/Eugene Daily News)

Unfortunately, Huff suffered an injury to his lower right leg on a WR screen and was forced to visit the Huskies health facility. But, the Ducks were able to contain both quarterback Keith Price (80 passing yards) and running back Bishop Sankey (54 yards) in the first half. The Ducks led 21-7 at the break

But Sankey broke free in a big way in quarter three. The star running back scored on a 60-yard run and a 25-yard run. Oregon Defensive Coordinator Nick Aliotti commented on Sankey’s breakout quarter.

“People don’t want to hear this but sometimes player A is better than player B in space, and that goes for our guys as well,” Aliotti said. Sankey finished the game with 174 yards on the ground.

On the other side, Huff played through his injury and remarkably caught a 65-yard touchdown pass. The two squads also exchanged field goals in the third quarter.

“I was told to sit out the second half, but I wasn’t having it. I wanted to be in this game and compete with my teammates,” Huff said.

Despite the injury, Huff surpassed the 100-yard mark for the fourth time this season. The receiver had four catches for 106 yards on the night.

Jake Fisher, Johhny Mundt
Oregon’s o-line struggled throughout the day against the Huskies, particularly right tackle Jake Fisher who was flagged multiple times for various false start, holding and personal foul penalties | (Alex Shoemaker/Eugene Daily News)

In the fourth quarter, Mariota scored his first touchdown run of the game on a 5-yard QB draw to the right side of the field. The run solidified the continuation of his career long streak (19 games) of both running and throwing for at least one touchdown in a game. Later, he through another touchdown pass to Addison from three yards out.

In the end, although the Huskies put forth a valiant effort, it just wasn’t enough. Oregon’s defense was able to contain the dynamic Husky offense for most of the game. Oregon only allowed 376 yards of total offense, forced two turnovers and sacked Price four times.

Addison attributed the Ducks success to preparation and a lack of satisfaction from Helfrich and the UO coaching staff. Allioti gave the UO defense a C + grade. Helfrich added that the team could still improve its execution.

“He doesn’t let us feel complacent, feel like we’ve arrived,” Addison said of Helfrich.

It’s hard to imagine an even better Ducks team.

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2013 Pac-12 Pick’em: Week Seven

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Pac-12 football is back and we at EDN Sports will do a weekly Pac-12 Pick’em. Each week we’ll give you our picks and track how we’ve done so far.

Season Pick’em Standings:

  • Alex Shoemaker: 40-6 (4-1 last week)
  • Corey Buchanan: 38-8 (2-3)
  • David Saez: 37-9 (3-2)
  • Franklin Bains: 37-9 (4-1)
  • Isaac Rosenthal: 37-9 (4-1)
  • Ryan Beltram: 37-9 (4-1)

Thursday 
Arizona (3-1, 0-1) at USC (3-2, 0-2) 7:30 p.m. Fox Sports 1 (Comcast 408)

The USC Trojans welcome in new head coach Ed Orgeron in a must-win game against Pac-12 South foe Arizona. With Lane Kiffin now slumming on the beaches of Southern California, what differences will there be with the Trojan offensive attack? The defensive guru Orgeron isn’t likely to implement anything completely foreign from Kiffin’s operation, but with a new play caller running the offense we might not see a screen pass on every play.

X-factor: Kadeem Carey vs USC Run Defense. The Wildcats struggle to throw the football. It’s pretty simple. Arizona ranks 121st in the country with just over 111 yards per game. However, on the ground they dominate with Carey and the running abilities of quarterback B.J. Denker. If the Wildcats are able to run the football and aren’t forced to go to the air, they’ll have a chance to pull off the upset.

Alex: USC  Isaac: Arizona   Corey: Arizona   Franklin: USC   DavidArizona   RyanArizona

Saturday

No. 2 Oregon (5-0, 2-0) at No. 16 Washington (4-1, 1-1) 1 p.m. Fox Sports 1 (Comcast 408)

Not only the game of the week in the Pac-12, but the border war between the Oregon Ducks is the best game for week seven in the entire country. These two rivals will square off Saturday afternoon in a game that could be crucial for the Pac-12 North race. Both ranked in the top-25, Washington has a legitimate chance to break the Ducks’ current nine-game winning streak in the rivalry. Check HERE for predictions by EDN’s experts.

X-factor: Oregon Offense vs. Washington Crowd. While the Ducks have road wins against Virginia and Colorado, neither opponent has posed nearly the challenge that Washington does this weekend. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota hasn’t faced a more hostile crowd in his collegiate career, and you can take it to the bank that Husky fans will be geared up for the game.

Alex: Oregon  Isaac: Oregon   Corey: Oregon   Franklin: Oregon   DavidOregon   RyanOregon

No. 5 Stanford (5-0, 3-0) at Utah (3-2, 0-2) 3 p.m. Pac-12 Network (Comcast 420)

Both of these teams are coming off of close games the week before. Stanford a a three-point win over the Huskies and Utah a tough loss at home to the UCLA Bruins. While the Cardinal are favored by double digits, road games after close wins can be very dangerous.

X-factor: Will Stanford have a letdown week? After a, physical, draining, nail-biter against the Washington Huskies last week how will the Stanford Cardinal come out and perform? Will the Cardinal be up for an inferior opponent and give a 100% effort? While coaches and players can regurgitate “Win the day” or whatever mantra they may choose to use, no one really knows if this team is recovered enough for another football game.

Alex: Stanford  Isaac: Stanford   Corey: Stanford   Franklin: Stanford   David: Stanford   RyanStanford

Colorado (2-2, 0-2) at Arizona State (3-2, 1-1) 7 p.m. Pac-12 Network (Comcast 420)

Offenses should take center stage as the Buffs take to the road once more after taking tough defeats the last two weeks against Oregon and Oregon State. The Sun Devils are going to be angry as well, dropping a tough late game to Notre Dame last week. ASU is among the conference’s best in scoring offense this fall, but nowhere to be found in the defenses — an odd spot for usually defensively solid Arizona State. So this should be a pretty even offensive matchup, and whoever develops a stronger running presence will have an advantage.

X-factor: Colorado Run Game vs. Will Sutton. Paul Richardson proved last week that he can pick up yards no matter who the opposing defense is, cresting 600 season receiving yards against Oregon. If Christian Powell and the other Buff rushers can get going, Colorado might be a popular, and wise, upset pick.

Alex: ASU  Isaac: ASU   Corey: ASU   Franklin: ASU   DavidASU   RyanASU

California (1-4, 0-2) at No. 11 UCLA (4-0, 1-0) 7:30 p.m. ESPN2 (Comcast 36)

The UC showdown this year probably couldn’t be more lopsided. Jared Goff leads a talented Bears offense, but Cal — without an FBS win to their name — takes to the Rose Bowl to face a UCLA team on top of the world. Anthony Barr and the UCLA defense is more than enough to keep the Bruins ahead, as Brett Hundley and co. should be able to follow Oregon’s blueprints to run straight through Cal’s line.

X-factor: Jared Goff. The true freshman quarterback is really Cal’s only opportunity to stay close as Barr should keep Brendan Bigelow and the Bear running game neutralized fairly easily. Goff finding Harper and Treggs for big chunks of the field will give Cal a puncher’s chance.

Alex: UCLA  Isaac: UCLA   Corey: UCLA   Franklin: UCLA   DavidUCLA   RyanUCLA

Oregon State (4-1, 2-0) at Washington State (4-2, 2-1) 7:30 ESPNU (Comcast 411)

It’s probably a must-win for both teams as the Beavers take north to Pullman. Mike Leach’s team could come within one game of bowl eligibility with a win here, but they’re up against Mike Riley’s squad, who’ve been an electric bunch since dropping the opener to Eastern Washington. Don’t count on a lot of running from either team, as the OSU rushing game has been struggling for weeks and Wazzu prefers to air it out anyway.

X-factor: Connor Halliday vs. OSU Secondary. Oregon State’s defense has gotten eaten up through the air in several contests this year. Their biggest challenge this year will come in the Cougar offense that hasn’t struggled to reach its targets early and often in the fall. If the Beavers hope to stop the aerial attack, the proven method of success is attacking Halliday. The Coug cabal of receivers is too successful and speedy to slow down, and it will take opportunistic takeaways to give Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks the advantage in a shootout.

Alex: Washington State  Isaac: Washington State   Corey: Oregon State   Franklin: Washington State   DavidOregon State   RyanOregon State

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Predictions: Oregon Ducks Football at Washington Huskies

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Before kickoff between the Washington Huskies and the Oregon Ducks football team, the EDN Sports team gives their analysis and predictions.

Kickoff: Saturday, October 12th @ 1:00 p.m. PST (Fox Sports 1, 408 Comcast)
Husky Stadium (Seattle, Washington)
Spread: Oregon -10.5 (Vegas Insider)

Here is last week’s


OREGON-LOGOAlex ShoemakerSports Editor

Through six weeks of college football the Oregon Ducks and Washington Huskies have had two of the most dominant offenses in college football. Each led by star quarterbacks, Marcus Mariota for Oregon and Keith Price for Washington, Saturday’s showdown will be one of the most exciting games in the Pac-12 this season.

“I think as a unit, we’ve all gotten better with Marcus,” Oregon wide receiver Bralon Addison said. “Marcus does some amazing things with his legs and has the arm to complement those legs. It’s almost like he’s playing a video game out there.”

While these two rivals look similar on paper, it goes beyond their two signal callers. For instance, both have game-changing tight ends. Washington with Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Oregon with Colt Ly- I mean Johnny Mundt.

While Mundt isn’t as proven as his predecessor he’s been a stable replacement and has shown flashes of brilliance. In limited action the true freshman has seven catches for 162 yards (23.1 YPC) and two touchdowns.

Per usual the Ducks will need to continue to play a clean game. Oregon is 13th in the country with just five turnovers on the year, all of them coming by way of backups. Mariota’s 14-0 TD-INT ratio is remarkable and he’ll need another strong performance not only for the Ducks to come away victorious but to also stay strong atop the Heisman watch lists.

Look for a close game all the may midway through the fourth quarter when the Ducks wear down an already worn-out Husky team. After a heartbreaking loss to Stanford last week, there won’t be enough gas in the tank to pull out the upset.

Score Prediction: Oregon Ducks 37, Washington Huskies 28
Game MVP: Johnny Mundt


OREGON-LOGOCorey BuchananDucks Beat Writer

Alas we’ve made it to the meat of the season. After annihilating opponents at historic levels, the Ducks face a legitimate threat this Saturday.

Last week the Huskies faltered against Stanford, but other than a few plays, they outplayed the Cardinal and were able to move the ball consistently on one of the most highly regarded defenses in the nation. And before that, they made quick work of their first four opponents.

Washington has come along way under head coach Steve Sarkisian and once maligned quarterback Keith Price. This is probably the deepest, most experienced and best overall UW squad since the days of Marques Tuiasosopo and Rick Neuheisel.

Unfortunately, they picked the wrong year to be this good. After Saturday, they will post their second loss in a row and fall completely out of contention to reach a BCS game or even the Pac-12 title game.

It’s going to take a team that can control the tempo and most importantly, dominate the Ducks at the line of scrimmage to have a chance to come out on top. Washington does not fit either criterion. Washington’s high-octane offense will only allow Mariota and the Oregon offense to stay in rhythm. Plus if Arizona and Stanford can move the chains on the ground against the Huskies, Oregon should be able to do the same and then some.

It’s hard to say exactly how effective the Ducks defense will be in containing Price and the Husky offense considering they haven’t faced elite offenses. But, I think that facing Oregon’s offense every day in practice will give them more than enough preparation to sniff out Sarkisian’s game-plan and disrupt Washington’s execution

Get ready, because Saturday will mark a decade of dominance over Husky football.

Score PredictionOregon Ducks 38, Washington Huskies 27
Game MVPBralon Addison


OREGON-LOGOIsaac RosenthalDucks Beat Writer

It’s been a long, long time since the Huskies beat the Ducks. The stars of Oregon’s dynamic offense were in elementary school and Chip Kelly was a few years from moving out west. Since then it’s been nine straight Oregon wins with a lot of uneven final scores.

But could this be the year for Washington? They have a new stadium that will surely be rocking. Oregon has a first year head coach and will be missing at least Colt Lyerla on offense, and there is some question as to whether or not De’Anthony Thomas will play. Add College Gameday to the mix, and consider that the Huskies will be by far the toughest competition the Ducks have faced this year. Will that all add up for first year head coach Mark Helfrich?

Washington certainly thinks so. The Huskies went blow for blow with Stanford on the road last week, eventually falling by three points. Keith Price has been taking care of the ball, throwing for 11 touchdowns to just three interceptions so far on the year, and Bishop Sankey has been a workhorse back, averaging over 25 touches per game, finishing all but one game over 100 yards (and earning 77 yards on four carries the only time he failed to reach the century mark).

All that being said, Oregon’s defense is as good as it’s been in a very long time, and the new brand of up-tempo Husky football isn’t exactly uncharted territory for the Ducks.

Oregon pulls away in the second half and makes it a decade of dominance over the Huskies.

Score Prediction: Oregon Ducks 53, Washington Huskies 35
Game MVP: Marcus Mariota


OREGON-LOGOFranklin BainsSports Writer

It’s a good old fashioned Pac-12 battle coming up on Saturday as Oregon will see the best Washington team it’s seen since the Ducks started lining up nine straight wins against their bitter rival. And while Oregon has been laying waste to its lower-tier opponents, the Huskies have looked good in wins over Boise State and Illinois, falling in the last minutes against Stanford last week. If Oregon wants a tenth straight win, it’ll have to come from an outstanding effort as Washington matches up really well this fall.

Steve Sarkisian’s team is actually modeled a bit on the Chip Kelly and Mike Bellotti squads of the past. They’re led by Keith Price and Bishop Sankey who are among the best at their position, really nationally, and they have a big tight end in Austin Sefarian-Jenkins.

But Washington’s defense this year is what’s made the Huskies look incredibly scary, and that’s what makes this game very even. Because this is the first team Oregon has faced this year that is talented on both the offense and defense, there’s a lot to learn about this Duck squad.

Number one is, how does Marcus Mariota live up to a big game where he might not score at will? The last time the Ducks were not able to move the ball was against Stanford, and the Ducks’ receiving corps is arguably improved from that outing. Oregon’s offense will be highly pressured, and if De’Anthony Thomas is out or limited, Oregon’s ball falls on Mariota’s shoulders. How does he respond to the pressure on the road? Likely, with his trademark poise, but you just never know.

Number two, will an experienced and talented defensive line start to get pressure when it really matters? Job #1 for the d-line is obviously to take chances away from Sankey and make him fight for his yards. But the ends, and Tony Washington, will have to put heat on Price and make him fight for his yards. Oregon’s got an opportunistic secondary, but it’ll need Price to be back on his heels and frequently fearing big hits for the big moments that will turn this game.

If Oregon wins these battles, they’ll have the advantage, but obviously that’s not so easily done. Oregon has the advantage at most positions, but Washington’s going to come in angry and have a rowdy bunch at the new Husky Stadium. Oregon’s going to win, probably by a wider advantage than the game will feel by the end.

Score PredictionOregon Ducks 42, Washington Huskies 31
Game MVP: Taylor Hart

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With the Oregon Ducks, It’s About Finding Room for Improvement

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The Colorado Buffaloes threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Oregon Ducks on Saturday, but it seems that no one has more weapons to fling at opponents than the Ducks these days. This game marks the fifth straight example of why this Oregon team could arguably be the best in the nation and could eventually become the greatest Oregon team of all-time.

Mark Helfrich
Mark Helfrich | (David Zalubowski/AP Photo)

But there is still some fine-tuning that must be done for Oregon to reach its apex. Any other team in the country would be ecstatic after a 41- point road win over a conference opponent, but Mark Helfrich wasn’t completely satisfied with his team’s performance.

[gn_quote style=”1″]“We’re 5-0, that’s our best statistic, and we haven’t played remotely to what we can in any phase in any game, so that’s encouraging,” Helfrich said.[/gn_quote]

And he’s right, but as usual, the good significantly outweighed the bad Saturday and the season as a whole up to this point.

The Ducks have scored 55 points for the most consecutive games in a row (5) since the Oklahoma Sooners in 2008(6). They accumulated over 750 yards of total offense for the second time this season, which is the second most in school history behind the Nicholls game. Marcus Mariota has thrown the most passes without being intercepted (202) in the history of Duck football and broke the school record by accumulating seven total touchdowns. Heck, Ayele Forde almost broke through the 100-yard mark.

Led by Heisman front-runner Mariota and premiere playmakers Bralon Addison and Josh Huff, Oregon proved yet again why it has a nationally elite passing attack. Addison had two touchdowns including one where he stutter-stepped and blew by a Buffalo corner on a simple go-route and another after he waltzed into the in-zone on a crossing route, set up by an effective play-fake. Huff also reached the end zone after he turned a curl route into a 26-yard touchdown while dragging a Colorado defender who got a hold of Huff’s uniform into the end zone. And on a two-point conversion, Oregon’s zone-read resulted in a befuddled Buffalo defense and Pac-12 Network camera crew who didn’t know Mariota kept the ball rather than handing it off until the Duck QB coyly handed it to a referee after walking into the end zone. Time and time again the Ducks showcased their brilliance and utter superiority.

But there is still work to be done.

The Ducks have yet to play near-flawless football this season and Saturday was no exception. Early on, the glaring chink in the armor of Oregon’s arsenal was pass defense. Though Colorado’s biggest pass play came off of a hand-off reverse and was thrown by a receiver, and the Ducks caught two interceptions, the Buffs were able to get the better of Oregon’s secondary early on. First Avery Patterson was tricked by Paul Richardson on and out and go which turned into a 31-yard gain. Later in the first half, Richardson dropped a sure touchdown pass, after a great deep ball by Colorado QB Connor Wood. And though they only finished with 94 rushing yards, at times Colorado was able to pound the ball effectively on the Ducks front seven. The Buffaloes had over 230 yards of total offense and 8.4 yards per play in the first quarter.

Marcus Mariota
Marcus Mariota | (David Zalubowski/AP Photo)

Richardson had a productive day that could have been a career day. Though he became the first receiver this season to eclipse the 100-yard mark against Oregon by catching five balls for 134 yards, it could have easily been a 200-yard day for the receiver if it weren’t for a few drops. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu acknowledged Oregon’s defensive struggles after the game.

[gn_quote style=”1″]“There are no excuses. They came out with an added edge. Towards the end of the first quarter we flipped that around quick,” Ekpre-Olomu said.[/gn_quote]

The Ducks D more than righted the ship after the break and only allowed 56 yards. Forde’s second half rushing total was actually 26 yards more than Colorado’s total second-half yardage. But the first quarter defensive lapses could provide Oregon with a little extra motivation to improve.

Even the mighty Mariota who accounted for seven touchdowns on the day, wasn’t immune from mistakes. In the first quarter he led a wide-open Addison a little too far. The star QB also coughed the ball up once after being sacked. And though he has put up jaw-dropping statistics and created countless big plays for the Ducks offense, his accuracy has been a little off at times this year. Mariota has missed at least four or five throws in each game and has only completed 56% of his passes, which is a relatively average percentage.

I may be splitting hairs, but for a team with perfection on its mind, perfection on the field has to be the goal.

The sky must be the limit.

Next week’s game against Washington will provide a more precise measuring stick to see exactly how good this Duck team is. It will be the most telling hint yet.

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Predictions: Oregon Ducks Football at Colorado Buffaloes

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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)

Here is last week’s


OREGON-LOGOAlex ShoemakerSports Editor

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


OREGON-LOGOCorey BuchananDucks Beat Writer

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


OREGON-LOGOFranklin BainsSports Writer

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 MVPJosh Huff

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2013 Pac-12 Pick’em: Week Six

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Pac-12 football is back and we at EDN Sports will do a weekly Pac-12 Pick’em. Each week we’ll give you our picks and track how we’ve done so far.

Season Pick’em Standings:

  • Corey Buchanan: 36-5 (5-0 last week)
  • Alex Shoemaker: 36-5 (5-0)
  • David Saez: 34-7 (5-0)
  • Franklin Bains: 33-8 (4-1)
  • Isaac Rosenthal: 33-8 (5-0)
  • Ryan Beltram: 33-8 (5-0)

Thursday

No. 12 UCLA (3-0, 0-0) at Utah (3-1, 0-1) 7 p.m. Fox Sports 1 (Comcast 408)

A matchup of two of the top teams in the Pac-12 south division should be pretty even. Both teams have above average rushing games and really good passing games led by smart QBs and athletes catching the ball. Dres Anderson is a sleeper pick for first-team all-conference at wideout and should be a lock for the second-team if he keeps making big plays for the Utes. On the other side, Shaq Evans leads a deadly efficient Bruin squad of skill players, but Jordan James has received notice as he ranks No. 5 in the nation and No. 3 in the conference in rushing yards per game.

X-factor: Brett Hundley vs. Travis Wilson. Hundley’s among the conference’s elite among QBs, but Wilson hasn’t been too bad himself. Though Wilson is thought of as more of a pocket threat, he had a breakout game against the Beavers choosing he can tuck and run if he sees a crease. In a battle of good quarterbacks, you tend to favor the team with better skill players — which would be UCLA — but don’t count out Wilson in a duel.

Alex: UCLA  Isaac: UCLA   Corey: UCLA   Franklin: UCLA   DavidUCLA   RyanUCLA

Saturday

Washington State (3-2, 1-1) at California (1-3, 0-1) 1 p.m. Fox Sports 1 (Comcast 408)

From a battle of the best in the south, we take to probably the worst of the north. Make no mistake, Cal and Washington State aren’t terrible; however, they just lost by a combined score of 110-33 on Saturday and 13 of their points came in the last minute. The Cougs and Bears are led by a pair of trigger-happy quarterbacks who fit the mold of their coach’s brains. Both Connor Halliday and Jared Goff are among the conference leaders in passing yards per game, but both got benched on Saturday as their teams got walloped. Cal’s defense is not very good, but Wazzu’s is on the rise, so that might just be the difference.

X-factor: Cal Front 7 vs. Teondray Caldwell/Marcus Mason. Wazzu’s running game, by Mike Leach‘s design, is not performing anywhere near the rest of the conference. Though Cal’s defensive line got gashed in the Oregon game, they have a lot of tenacity and will come to play angry after that display. Cal knows that to hang with WSU, it will have to  take the running game completely out of the picture, force the shaky QB play to take more chances and drive the barely positive running game into the negative with tackles for loss. That all starts up front.

Alex: Washington State  Isaac: Washington State   Corey: Cal   Franklin: Washington State   DavidWashington State   RyanWashington State

No. 2 Oregon (4-0, 1-0) at Colorado (2-1, 0-1) 3 p.m. Pac-12 Network (Comcast 420)

In Colorado’s two years in the league, the Buffaloes have started with 45-2 and 70-14 beatdowns at the hands of Oregon. The first one featured a Ducks team that missed starting QB Darron Thomas and RB LaMichael James — and the only Buffalo points scored were on a bad punt return from troubled CB Cliff Harris. To be clear this is neither of those Colorado teams, but they’re still in the middle of a rebuilding process. Paul Richardson and Connor Wood should test the Oregon secondary, but Colorado’s defense won’t leave enough breathing room for a Colorado offense that only mustered 14 against Oregon State.

X-factor: Don’t Get Hurt. We’d like to see a good Colorado team as much as the next sports team, but it’s just not the case for this year. The first half will be another test of how quickly the Ducks can put points up on the board, but it’s another case of get in, get out and move on.

Alex: Oregon  Isaac: Oregon   Corey: Oregon   Franklin: Oregon   DavidOregon   RyanOregon

No. 22 Arizona State (3-1) vs. Notre Dame (3-2) at AT&T Stadium, 4:30 p.m. NBC

Arizona State and Notre Dame battle on a neutral site this week in the first of three games the Pac-12 gets with the Catholic football power school. The teams have matched up twice, a home and home in 1998-1999 that went to the Irish both years. Taylor Kelly‘s squad has had a bit of a bumpy road, but the Sun Devils remain ranked in the top 25, mostly thanks to the sheer force of Marion Grice. He’s ASU’s main weapon and expect Kelly to go to him early and often against an unpredictable ND team.

X-factor: Grice vs. the world. The senior halfback does a little bit of everything for Sparty — sitting at 11th in the nation for all-purpose yards and tied for 20th for points responsible for. Being that it’s Notre Dame, the defense is probably a bit overrated, so the shifty Grice will test every edge of the Irish, trying to add to his 12 touchdowns on the season.

Alex: Arizona State  Isaac: Arizona State   Corey: Arizona State   Franklin: Arizona State   DavidArizona State   RyanArizona State

No. 15 Washington (4-0, 1-0) at No. 5 Stanford (4-0, 2-0) 7:30 p.m. ESPN (Comcast 35)

Keith Price and co. take to the road in one of the first forks in the road of this Pac-12 season. Stanford had some question marks early but put most of them to bed with a complete effort against Washington State in Seattle last Saturday. Price and Stanford’s Kevin Hogan are two of the conference’s most efficient quarterbacks and the two defenses are suddenly a pair of the conference’s best. Expect an exciting finish much like last year and an unexpected turning point, much like last year.

X-factor: Austin Sefarian-Jenkins. ASJ remains the key for Washington to pull off an interesting upset pick. The teams match up remarkably well, as Justin Wilcox has the Husky defense playing about as well as anyone, and neither squad lacks for offensive weapons. But if ASJ can get back to firing on all cylinders, Stanford might not have an answer for the matchup problem. The team that springs a leak first is the game here in what should be a low-scoring affair that Washington’s TE could have a lot to say in.

Alex: Stanford  Isaac: Stanford   CoreyWashington   Franklin: Stanford   DavidWashington   RyanStanford

Predictions: Oregon Ducks Football vs Cal Golden Bears

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Before kickoff between the Cal Golden Bears and the Oregon Ducks football team, the EDN Sports team gives their analysis and predictions.

Kickoff: Saturday, September 28th @ 7:30 p.m. PST
Autzen Stadium (Eugene, Oregon)
Spread: Oregon -36.5 (Vegas Insider)

Here is last week’s


OREGON-LOGOAlex Shoemaker – Sports Editor

Outside of 2009 and 2012, name one game between the Ducks and Bears over the last decade that Oregon wasn’t challenged in. You can’t. No team, aside from Stanford and USC, has given the Ducks as many fits as Cal has.

Oregon is 5-4 in the series since 2004, but four consecutive wins have slanted the series in the Ducks’ favor. However, Oregon may have its best team during this stretch and Cal its worst.

Everything about this game shouts blowout. Oregon has Cal beat at every position on the field and should run away with an easy win, but there’s something there that just doesn’t seem right. I’m not suggesting Cal will pull the upset, but like last year’s game don’t be surprised if it’s close for at least a half.

Oregon and Cal will exchange blows before Marcus Mariota, De’Anthony Thomas, Josh Huff and the lethal quack attack turn on the afterburners and turn a close game into a blowout in a hurry.

The Ducks’ running back by committee could reach career highs. This might be the game we see four 100 yard rushers. I’m looking at you, Mariota, DAT, Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner.

Score PredictionOregon Ducks 66, Cal Golden Bears 13
Game MVP: De’Anthony Thomas


OREGON-LOGOCorey Buchanan – Ducks Beat Writer

Quarterback Jared Goff is one of three Pac-12 quarterbacks in the top-five in passing yards in the nation and is number one in total offensive. Though Goff has had an impressive year so far, his numbers have been inflated by Cal’s pass-happy strategy. Still he deserves a lot of credit for keeping Cal competitive despite being torched on the other side of the ball.

To put it mildly, Cal’s defense is a work in progress. The Bears rank fifth to last in the FBS in points allowed and it will be nearly impossible for this unit to stop the Ducks number two-ranked offense.

However, this game will mark the first true test for Oregon’s pass defense. Cal prefers to spread the ball around the field rather than rely exclusively on one or two options. Consequently we will learn a lot about Ducks safeties and linebacker’s ability to cover slot receivers, tight ends and running backs.

But that isn’t to say that corners Terrance Mitchell and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu won’t have their hands full on Saturday as well. Cal receivers Chris Harper and Bryce Treggs are both in the top-40 in receiving yards in the nation.

However, I think the Golden Bears offense will meet their maker this week. This Duck defense is too physical upfront and too fast and experienced out-wide to allow Goff and co. too march up and down the field.

In 2010 Cal stifled Oregon’s offense more than almost any team in recent memory, but they just don’t have the personnel this year.

Score PredictionOregon Ducks 63Cal Golden Bears 17
Game MVP: Marcus Mariota


OREGON-LOGOIsaac RosenthalDucks Beat Writer

Oregon gets back to business against a California Golden Bears team that has stumbled out of the gates in 2013 to the tune of a 1-2 start with losses to Ohio State and Northwestern and a win over FCS Portland State.

The Bears haven’t had much to celebrate on the season but they have a passing game fueled by freshman quarterback Jared Goff that is amassing 438 yards per game through the air -that’s good enough for second in the nation. The Ducks defense though is as underrated as ever and shouldn’t have a problem containing the Bears, though Cal’s ability to move the ball through the air means there’s a big difference between a 3rd and 10 and a 3rd and 5.

At the end of the day though the story remains very much the same. Oregon has too much offensive firepower for the Bears to stop. Cal has given up 33.7 points a game this year, which is closer to what the Ducks have been averaging in the first half.

Make no mistake, California will present the biggest test the Ducks have had this year simply because they have more of a familiarity with the Ducks frenetic offense, but Oregon should still roll.

Score PredictionOregon Ducks 56Cal Golden Bears 9
Game MVP: De’Anthony Thomas


OREGON-LOGOFranklin Bains – Sports Writer

Do you know how to make me cringe instantly? Just say the phrase “the Cal game.” In 2010, Jeff Tedford‘s Bears almost derailed the Ducks national title hopes. In 2011, they essentially broke LaMichael James and in 2012, they broke Kenjon Barner, Marcus Mariota and Avery Patterson in a five-minute period. In short, I have to go back to 2009 to see an Oregon win over Cal that didn’t make me question the laws of the universe.

So, just because Cal nearly lost to Portland State and got torched by Northwestern, I’m still not that confident that something weird’s not going to happen.

In this iteration, prepare for Jared Goff‘s and Byron Marshall’s numbers to be highly inflated. Last year, Cal tore a new one in Oregon’s depleted D-line to the tune of 134 yards for Isi Sofele. The senior back, joined by fellow senior C.J. Anderson and a pair of young guns, picked up 236 total Cal rushing yards, thanks to injuries to Isaac Remington, Dion Jordan and Wade Keliikipi. Inexplicably, the Bears went to the air, which gave Oregon an advantage.

This year, the D-line is the crown jewel of a tough Oregon defense, and so the already talented Goff will have to be ready to have the game on his shoulders. If Cal wants to stay close, they’ll have to score each time they touch the ball and facing a tenacious defensive line, Goff might actually need a career night to move the ball effectively.

On the other hand, Portland State’s success against Cal was all on the shoulders of DJ Adams. I can barely count on one hand the Oregon backs who are better than DJ Adams. So it should be a pretty good offensive first half; Cal will likely take to the air early and often and score most of their points before the halftime fog horn. Both teams will make some trademark “the Cal game” mistakes, and everyone will leave the stadium with a bitter taste in their mouth.

But Oregon will blow by Cal’s weak link — their own D-line — and literally run away with another game. The 2013 Ducks are too good at rushing and the 2013 Bears too bad at stopping the run for any other result.

Score PredictionOregon Ducks 55, California Golden Bears 13
Game MVPByron Marshall

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