Saturday, September 26, 2015

Good Luck Ducks, Week 4: Bring on the Pac

Ready or not, here comes conference play.

First, from the Cards on Cards Dept. of Corrections: I mistakenly mentioned last week that Georgia State was an FCS team. They are not. They actually play in the Sun Belt Conference, one of the lowest regarded conferences at college football's top level (FBS). This is why there was actually a Vegas spread on the game (something like 44 points) which Oregon unfortunately did not beat. Georgia State only had one conference win to their name in school history, but they're mostly brand new to this thing so we'll give them a pass. The Ducks are coming off a fairly uninspiring performance, where the defense let up for several tough to watch stretches. Backup QB Jeff Lockie acquitted himself well enough on the field, but it wasn't difficult to see why he he was challenged for (and ultimately lost) the starting job when Vernon Adams Jr. arrived on campus.

Both the Ducks and their conference opening opponent Utah are being fairly coy about which quarterback will start tonight. It would make sense for Oregon to give Adams another week of rest for his broken finger, but Utah gave the Ducks a scare last year when Marcus Mariota was on their side, and this year the Utes seem even tougher. Utah comes in with a 3-0 record and a #18 ranking (to Oregon's 2-1, #13) and a big chip on their collective shoulder after Joe Walker returned a loose ball dropped into the end zone by a celebrating receiver the full length of the field back for a touchdown on what should have given the Utes a two score lead early in last season's meeting. From there, the previously stifled Ducks picked apart the opponent until the score resembled many of their other lopsided victories that year.

No matter which players take which snaps, this figures to be a fairly low scoring game, with Utah's defense already getting accolades while Oregon's looks to atone for mistakes made against weaker competition.

After a lot of confusion, Joe Walker's scramble towards the other end zone turned the tide in last season's meeting between the Utes and the Ducks.

Game time is 5:30 PDT with national coverage on FOX. Go Ducks!

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