Saturday, November 22, 2014

Good Luck Ducks, Week 13: The Home Stretch

After another week off to heal some injuries, Oregon hits the field for their final home game of the season.

Emerging star tight end Pharaoh Brown suffered a devastating knee injury on the field at the end of the Utah game, but Oregon otherwise survived a tough and crazy game and came out on top in what was likely their last real test of the regular season schedule. Now, comes the hard part. Can Oregon stave off boredom and malaise in their final two games against the dregs of the conference before an expected tough Pac-12 Championship game in December?

Colorado has been wretched since they joined the conference, and have zero Pac-12 wins this season. However, they've managed to keep nearly all of their games close, which should be a red flag to the Ducks. On top of that, game time weather conditions are expected to be less than ideal. It never rains in Autzen Stadium, however, so it remains to be seen how that will be reconciled. I also usually never talk about the weather here, but I'm going to be attending this one. Ominous!

If all goes according to script, this feels like a game that will be decided early. In what is 99.99% certain to be Marcus Mariota's last game in Eugene, I think the starters will be rested much earlier than they have been in other situations this year. Mariota has played in almost every quarter of the season, which has certainly bolstered his stats (and his so-called Heisman credentials), but I think the smart play here is to keep him out of harm's way if it can be helped these last two weeks.

Last season's meeting with Colorado had a lot of strange shadows. And not a very close score.

Game time is 1:30 PST with national TV coverage on the Pac-12 Network. Go Ducks!

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