It could be a special season for the Oregon Ducks. It certainly has that feeling and for good reason — the Ducks are 8-0 with one of the scariest offenses in the nation. People thought that this team might suffer without Chip Kelly at head coach, but the exact opposite has happened.
One upset loss can nearly cost a team a chance at a conference and national title, but the Stanford Cardinal were lucky that their loss to the Utah Utes about a month ago came at a time when teams in the Top 10 were dropping like flies. The Cardinal still has a chance to contend for a Pac-12 title and national title — and this game is the big test.
Oregon could not get any more potent on the offensive side of things. Sure they rank just 20th in passing yards per game — yes, I said ‘just’ because that is the weakest part of the offense right now. By weak, I mean that the offense is so good that a top passing game is the least successful on the offense. Quarterback Marcus Mariota is a strong contender for the Heisman this season and his 2,281 yards and 20 passing touchdowns to go along with his 511 yards and nine scores on the ground are nearly untouchable. The rushing offense ranks second in the country because of Mariota’s ability to run as well as Byron Marshall‘s 879 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Stanford could be the last remaining team that has a chance to knock off Oregon and if the Cardinal can do that, they have the inside track to a Pac-12 North title with a favorable schedule remaining. Stanford is led by quarterback Kevin Hogan who has struggled at times this season, but ultimately has been a great leader for the Cardinal. Hogan has 1,493 yards and 13 touchdowns on the year to go along with just five interceptions. Ty Montgomery has been the leading receiver for the Cardinal as well as an electric return man. Montgomery has 39 catches for 619 yards and five touchdowns. The run game ranks 36th in the nation behind Tyler Gaffney who has 886 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground this season.
Defensively, the Cardinal are usually one of the top units in college football. They rank 19th in points allowed per game and also 19th in yards allowed per game. Oregon is on the same level defensively as the Cardinal, ranking seventh in the nation in points allowed per game and 23rd in yards allowed.
Oregon will travel to Stanford to take on the Cardinal at 9 p.m. EST on Thursday, Nov. 7. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN.
PREDICTION: Oregon 40, Stanford 37