Week 10 Game Matchup: Oregon Ducks VS. Stanford Cardinal

By Dave Consolazio and Sam Saig, November 4, 2009 5:18 pm

Oregon Ducks (7-1) vs. Stanford Cardinal (5-3)
Saturday, November 7, 12:30 PM PST
Las Vegas Favorite: Oregon -6.5
*AllPac10 Game of the Week*

Sam’s Take (39- 15):

The two most prolific rushing attacks in the Pac-10 square off in Palo Alto this Saturday, but the offensive philosophies of these teams couldn’t be more different. Chip Kelly’s club likes to confuse and humiliate opposing defenses, while Jim Harbaugh’s squad just likes to run them over. If styles make fights, we should have a good one on Saturday.

Are the Ducks still flying high after their epic thrashing of the Trojans? If so, Stanford will make them pay just as they did the Washington Huskies, but personally, I don’t get the feeling that Chip Kelly will let that happen. Why? Because of the way Oregon practices. The Ducks play fast and furious even when they are going up against the scout team, and that kind of preparation usually allows a team to become letdown-proof. Don’t get me wrong, Stanford is a VERY good football team, but a strong argument could be made that the Ducks are the BEST football team in America right now.

Here is what we know: Oregon is tremendous on offense (#8 nationally in rush offense, #9 scoring offense) AND defense (#20 nationally in total defense) AND special teams (#3 nationally on kickoff returns). Stanford on the other hand is tremendous on offense (#20 nationally in total offense), AND special teams (#1 nationally on kickoff returns), but mediocre on defense (#67 nationally in total defense).

Quite simply, I believe the difference in the game will be the Stanford defense. Oregon should be able to score at will on a Cardinal D that lacks lateral speed, while the Ducks D should be able to put up a very good fight against RB Toby Gerhart, QB Andrew Luck and the rest of the potent Stanford attack.

Bottom line: I believe the dream season (since Sept. 3rd of course) will continue for the Ducks, as they come away with a big road win on the Farm.

Prediction: Oregon 35 – Stanford 23

Oregon Player to Keep an Eye On: LB Casey Matthews - Gap control is the name of the game when facing Stanford’s power running game, and Matthews will be a key to containing #7 in red.

Stanford Player to Keep an Eye On: FB Owen Marecic - I believe Marecic is the most underrated player in the Pac-10. Seriously. He is as good a lead blocker as you will find in college football, and he is also capable of catching the ball out of the backfield.

Dave’s Take (42 – 12):

No disrespect to the Stanford Cardinals (who have one of the best and hardest working teams in the Pac-10), but this game starts and ends with the Oregon Ducks.

After what we saw last week, it looks to me that if Oregon is at their best, there isn’t a team in the nation that can beat them. Yes, I said it, any team in the nation. USC didn’t have a single turnover in the game (until an interception on the very last play of the game), and still got completely manhandled. USC! Oregon was so strong and fast on both sides of the ball that they looked untouchable.

Stanford could be a very dangerous trap for this team. Toby Gerhart is one of the best backs in the conference and is the most powerful. Andrew Luck has incredible poise for a redshirt freshman, and the passing attack has been working this year to compliment Gerhart’s rushing attack. If Oregon partied a little too hard this week and let themselves start to believe that they are the best and they are the Pac-10 champs, they could be in for a very rude awakening this week.

But I don’t see that happening. The team already had an extremely humbling experience this season (@Boise State), and I think Chip Kelly will get the message to his players that nothing short of their best effort will be acceptable this week. With the way the defense is swarming and Jeremiah Masoli and LaMichael James are clicking on offense, I can’t go against this team.

Prediction: Oregon 38 – Stanford 24

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