Friday, October 15, 2021

Good Luck Ducks, Week 7: Getting Back on Track

Oregon hosts Cal after nearly two weeks to think about how their season exploded. 
The Stanford loss was rough, to put it mildly. The Ducks lost star running back CJ Verdell for the season after entering the game with yet another key injury (a broken leg for Bennett Williams) and missing their offensive coordinator and play-caller due to a health scare. The complete lack of cohesion showed, and they've really only resembled a top tier football team in one game this season. That being said, they had the game in their pockets with the clock winding down and completely handed it to the Cardinal.

After a timely bye, Oregon is back at home hosting California under the Autzen Stadium lights on a Friday. The Golden Bears have had a rough time of it of late. Coming off of an 8-5 season in 2019, Cal only played 4 games last "season" and has seen their lone win in 2021 come against an FCS team (Sacramento St.) They're led by Justin Wilcox, the former star Ducks defensive back who has coached at a number of schools in the past two decades. Former Ducks QB Bill Musgrave is their offensive coordinator! It's hard to really make sense of what kind of team the Bears are at this point, though, but it's clear that this should be another game where the Ducks outclass their opponent. Should. Should!

The Verdell-less Ducks will attempt to navigate this Friday night special without Kayvon Thibodeaux as well. To add insult to injury (and to further insult), Thiodeaux got hit with a targeting foul late in the game. I absolutely hate the way this rule is handled and I hope they make some significant changes to it after this season. I rarely say anything in praise of the NFL, but they handle dangerous hits so much better in that league. Furthermore, it'll be interesting to see what Anthony Brown has to offer this week. It's been a rough time watching the Ducks play this season and the quarterback's play is where everyone's eyes are focused. Let's hope that he has a big night tonight and can get his (and the team's) season back on track.

Series History: This has been a fairly even series (42-40-2 in favor of Cal) and in many years has been quite a contentious rivalry game. It's been a little bit since it had that kind of feeling, though, but Cal's lone 2020 win did come against the Ducks last season following an Oregon run of ten out of eleven.

Opponent Talk: "Cal football is in a bad place." Yikes.

Oregon took down a 4-1 Cal team in their last trip to Autzen (2019) in a low scoring affair.

Game time is 7:30 PM PDT on ESPN. Go Ducks!

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