What does Oregon get because of its difficulties after a 52-27 loss a week at home against Stanford? : A road game against a better version of the Cardinal.
The Ducks play at No. 11 Utah Saturday at Salt Lake City, Utah, and on paper have zero chance to win, or perhaps stay close. So much so that the 14-point spread appears to be an insult to Utah by about 10 points.
Oregon (3-7, 1-6 Pac-12) will roll into Utah (8-2, 5-2) with all the second-worst rushing defense at the Pac-12 at 255.4 yards allowed per game to face the hottest rushing attack in the conference.
«Same thing as last week, really,» Oregon defensive coordinator Brady Hoke said. «You’ve got to stop the run. There’s little doubt about it»
Oregon has not stopped the run . Not against UC Davis and Virginia in what seems like beams ago. Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey ran rampant a week, scoring three touchdowns as the Cardinal, owners of the worst offense in the conference, averaging 340 yards per game, place up 540 yards of total offense on the Ducks.
Utah, averaging 433.7 yards per game is better on offense than Stanford thanks to the amazing performances of running back Joe Williams. He»retired» for four games to start the season only to be spoken back into enjoying. Since his return, Williams has averaged 216 total yards and 156.5 yards rushing per game. He has gained 939 racing yards on 7.0 yards per carry.
«He is possibly the most volatile and the fastest of any of the backs we have had here up to a home run-type back that can extend the distance from anywhere on the field,» Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham told reporters this week.
To make matters worse for Oregon, Williams runs behind a veteran offensive line.
«They are physical upfront,» Hoke said. «Very senior-oriented offensive line with three men up there that have played a great deal of football»
The Ducks would be the opposite with one senior beginning on a young defense that has rotated through 14 defensive linemen this year.
«We had a fantastic week of practice, same thing we did the week before,» Hoke said. «Our men have come out and fought, and been physical every time we go on the area.»
That intensity has not translated into powerful performances on game titles. Saturday will probably be no different.
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