Game prediction: Oregon limps into No. 11 Utah looking for something to cling to
What does Oregon get because of its troubles following a reduction last week at home against Stanford? : A road game against a much better variant of the Cardinal.
The Ducks play at No. 11 Utah Saturday in Salt Lake City, Utah, and on paper have zero chance to win, or even stay close. So much so that the 14-point spread seems to be an insult to Utah by about ten points.
Oregon (3-7, 1-6 Pac-12) will roll into Utah (8-2, 5-2) using the second-worst rushing defense in the Pac-12 in 255.4 yards allowed per game to confront the hottest racing attack in the seminar.
“Same thing as last week, actually,” Oregon defensive coordinator Brady Hoke said. “You have got to stop the run. There is no doubt about it”
Oregon has not stopped the run . Not even against UC Davis and Virginia in what seems like beams ago. Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey ran wild last week, scoring three touchdowns as the Cardinal, owners of the worst crime in the conference, averaging 340 yards per game, put up 540 yards of total offense on the Ducks.
Utah, averaging 433.7 yards per game is much better on offense than Stanford thanks to this amazing performances of running Joe Williams. He”retired” for four games to begin the season just to be spoken back into enjoying. Since his return, Williams has averaged 216 total yards and 156.5 yards rushing per game. He has gained 939 racing yards on 7.0 yards per carry.
“He’s possibly the most volatile and also the fastest of any of the backs we have had here as far as a home run-type back that could go the distance away from anywhere on the field,” Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham told reporters this week.
To make things worse for Oregon, Williams runs behind a veteran offensive line.
“They’re physical upfront,” Hoke said. “Quite senior-oriented offensive line with three men up there that have played a lot of football”
The Ducks would be the contrary with one senior starting on a young defense that’s rotated through 14 defensive linemen this season.
“We had a good week of training , same thing we all did the week before,” Hoke said. “Our guys have come out and struggled , and been physical each time we go to the field.”
That intensity hasn’t translated into strong performances on game days. Saturday will probably be no different.