The Ducks face their second test of the season with a moderate jump in skill level.
It was great to be back in Eugene last weekend for me personally. I got to visit the triumverate of Eugene breweries, eat at some of my favorite Eugene restaurants and do the great walk from campus to Autzen. As an added bonus, somehow my first apartment hasn't been demolished even among all the new developments that have sprung up. They even have vacancies!
As far as the Ducks are concerned, the team looked disastrous on defense, save for some heroic individual play by freshman linebacker Troy Dye and a couple of nice pass breakups by the secondary. Lapses are to be expected during Week 1, and lapses were to be found. When new defensive coordinator Brady Hoke (the much maligned former Michigan head coach) declared that (paraphrasing) they didn't even resemble a defense prior to the start of the season, it was a bit alarming. That alarm played out on the field, and it's going to take a better team effort to not be completely embarrassed by FBS teams.
It wasn't all doom and gloom, however. The offense looked good after a conservative start, and new QB Dakota Prukop seems to be an improvement over Vernon Adams. The offense didn't show much, most likely by design considering the FCS opponent, but when it did you could see flashes of the old fast and destructive Ducks team at work.
Oregon faces Virginia tonight, who actually lost to an FCS opponent in their first action. While they aren't the cream of the crop in the ACC, they should be better than this, and Oregon represents their first chance at revenge. It's likely as tough for an east coast team to travel to the west coast and get a victory as it is for the reverse to happen, but the Ducks will have to put together more of a complete game than they did against the Aggies if they want to head to Nebraska with a 2-0 record. The Ducks may be ranked #24 again this week, but they can't be caught looking ahead to their B1G opponent right now.
Virginia was one of the many opponents Marcus Mariota laid waste to, back in 2013. 59-10.
Game time is 7:30 PDT with national coverage on ESPN. Go Ducks!