“North West”

Saturday Spotlight

(7) Stanford Cardinal at (20) Oregon Ducks

Stanford: So far, they’re off to a very strong start and in two of their first three victories, Bryce Love didn’t impact the football game as he’s supposed too. In their week one win, Bryce only had 29 yards rushing and just last week, he didn’t even play but they were still able to control things offensively and get the win. However, things do need to be tightened up for the Cardinal because they’ve continued to get off to sluggish starts, but found a way to come back and win the game and with their schedule only getting tougher, they know that this can’t happen against some teams that are more challenging from a competitive standpoint because they may not be able to dig themselves out of a hole. The defense has been the backbone of this team so far because of the inconsistencies of the offense and they’ve really struggled to run the football whether it’s been with or without Bryce. Whenever the best coaches in the sport are mentioned, David Shaw doesn’t get mentioned as one of the best head coaches. I truly feel he’s underrated and if any coach were to make that transition to the next level in the NFL, he’d be the guy and I see him having the same success if he were to make that jump. This is the beginning of a tough stretch for the Cardinal with a primetime battle against a division rival.

Oregon: They haven’t been as relevant as they were during the Chip Kelly tenure, but one thing has remained the same with them and that’s their offense which is still the best in the country. They average 51 points a game and they can generate offense at any time, that’s what’s so scary about them. After Willie Taggart left to take the job at Florida State, the Oregon Ducks named Mario Cristobal the interim head coach and three days later in December of 2017, he was named the new head coach. Let’s talk about the Ducks quarterback, the junior and his name is Justin Herbert. He stands at 6’6 inches tall, he moves the pocket and scramble to either side and make a very accurate throw on the run and he has a big arm and can fire the football down the field. He stands tall in the pocket and he can see the entire field and he spreads the football around to the open receiver and that’s what the good quarterbacks are able to do. They’re a pretty balanced offense if you look at the numbers. They average 289 yards passing per game and they don’t slouch on the ground as they average 214 yards rushing per contest. They can score 40 in every game, but they also give up some points and that’s where the struggles for Cristobal and his coaching staff. Okay, I could be exaggerating but still, if they can improve on that side of the football, they’ll be scary. Saturday night at Autzen Stadium should be a fun one.

Stanford Player To Watch: Kaden Smith– J.J. Arcega Whiteside has been on a tear this year and I’m sure Oregon will do everything they can to try and limit him. You limit one guy, that opens the field up for another and Kaden is that safety valve for K.J. Costello.

Oregon Player To Watch: La’Mar Winston Jr– Stanford will do any and everything to shut down the run and he’ll need to be in on all of this, including rushing Costello. He’s a guy that can also drop back and help out in pass coverage.

Final Analysis: I’m excited to be previewing this one and I’m glad to see this battle getting some primetime love. They’ve both had some easy tune-ups before this conference opener. Stanford needs to start fast. No more of these sluggish starts and climbing yourself out of the game like you have been. How healthy is Bryce Love? He hasn’t been his dominant self and if I’m the Ducks defense, I’d make him move early and often. This will be the best defense that Herbert has seen all season long.

Prediction: Stanford 35 Oregon 31