Thursday, October 2, 2014

Good Luck Ducks, Week 6: Thirsty Thursday

After a bye week, Oregon returns to the field hungry. And thirsty.

After surviving a scare up in Eastern Washington, Oregon returns to action tonight in a weeknight late game against the Arizona Wildcats. The bye week couldn't have come at a better time, as the Ducks were less than impressive against an unrelenting Cougar air attack a couple of Saturdays ago. Marcus Mariota continued his unblemished, almost robotic season, but his offensive line let him down in the worst way. As anxious as I can get watching Mariota scramble for yards (and he's probably the best and fastest at this), I really do not like watching him get sacked over and over again by a lesser opponent. That was not fun to watch.

The Ducks had a little extra time to regroup and face Arizona tonight, a team that is also an undefeated 4-0. Their seasons could not be more dissimilar, however. Aside from a first week blowout win over UNLV, the Cats have been involved in nailbiter after nailbiter, the latest culminating in a Hail Mary victory over California -- the most nailbiting of all ways to win. I probably would have found a way to chew a whole finger off. Arizona also squeaked out wins over Nevada and something called Texas-San Antonio along the way, so it's hard to know a lot about them while analyzing their few games.

This feels like a "return to form" game for Oregon. In front of a nighttime home crowd on national TV with the students finally back in school in full force, I'd be very surprised if this isn't an emotionally charged game with a lot of points for the guys in... well, apparently they'll be wearing pink (and black). As long as the makeshift O-line can sneeze on the defense long enough for Mariota to do something with the ball without getting his brains beat around, the Ducks should win this one comfortably. It's not as if they should be lacking in motivation, either. Arizona pummeled the Ducks in embarrassing fashion last year in a game I'd like to pretend never happened.

In happier times, Oregon soundly defeated the Wildcats on their last trip to Eugene, earning a rare shutout (49-0).

Game time is 7:30 PDT with national coverage on ESPN. Go Ducks!

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