Saturday, November 19th // Salt Lake City, UT // 11:00am PST
Why we could BEAT Utah:
Utah’s normally stingy defense has, at times, been extremely porous against both the run and the pass this season, most notably against USC, Arizona, and UCLA. They are capable of giving up a lot of points, but of course, Oregon this season always seems to find a way to give up more. If Oregon can find a way to avoid 3 and outs, consistently putting up numbers on the scoreboard, they COULD have a chance at stealing this game in a shootout.
Because miracles happen. This isn’t an awful match-up for the Ducks, but if they’re able to keep Utah from putting up three touchdowns in the first quarter and can break some huge plays then there is a chance. It will require the offensive line’s best performance of the year and an explosive running game, it’s hard to imagine with how poorly our offensive line has been playing but it’s possible.
The Ducks will need a season’s best performance from the offensive line to make that happen. I have faith the Ducks will keep their 20+ point streak alive, but to win they will have to more than double that output. And as always Oregon will need to win the turnover battle by +2 to get the win.
One word: DEFENSE. Or, in Oregon’s case, the complete lack of it. Utah isn’t an offensive juggernaut by any standard, but guess who wasn’t either? Stanford. That’s right, the team that hadn’t scored more than 34 points in a game all season, rolled right into Autzen and put up an easy 52 on the scoreboard. This one has all the makings of a repeat of an ugly and embarrassing Stanford game.
The Utes defense had 22 tackles for loss and 11 sacks against Arizona State. That’s a whole season’s worth of sacks for Oregon. In one game. That translated to Arizona State getting 41 yards on 47 carries. If Utah’s defense plays like that again last year’s 62-20 drubbing will look like a pleasant memory.
Let’s assume Oregon can move the ball and score points on offense. Let’s also assume the Ducks defense plays its best game of the year. Even if those things happen Oregon still needs to cut out the ridiculous decision making that leads to a poor special team’s day and/or massive penalty yardage.
Utah 53, Oregon 27. Grab a case of Busch Light, a fifth of tequila, and I’ll see you on Twitter at 11am Saturday morning as we count each touchdown as another nail in the coffin of the Helfrich era at Oregon. Go Ducks.
42-24, Utah wins. I didn’t think I could break the streak of picking the Ducks to win, but I also didn’t think I would see a lot of stuff that’s happened this year.
Oregon loses. 45-24.