Head Coach: Chip Kelly (15-3)
Record: 5-0 (2-0)
Oregon comes into Pullman after a decisive victory over Stanford at home. The Ducks are poised for a national title run, currently sitting at 3rd in both major polls. Football Outsiders ranks UO #2 in their Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI -An explanation can be found here). So the statistics and the pollsters agree that these guys are good.
OFFENSE 56.6 PPG 7.1 YPP #19 S&P
Another week, another team that can run the ball effectively. Oregon comes in as the 12th ranking rushing offensive in the country by FO's S&P ratings. After missing the first game due to suspension, sophomore LaMichael James has been punishing opposing defenses, racking up 712 yards on 8.00 yards per carry. The other guys in the Duck rushing attack have not been too shabby either, as Oregon averages 6.57 YPC collectively.
Sophomore quarterback Darron Thomas leads the offense and he has played well in place of castoff Jeremiah Masoli. Thomas is completeing 57.8% of his passes and has thrown 13 touchdowns to only five interceptions. He is also a big threat in Oregon's spread option attack, rushing for 6.44 yards per carry.
In the receiving corps, Jeff Maehl is the most targeted man, having caught 21 passes for 304 yards and 4 TDs. Junior tight end David Paulson has actually been the big play man, averaging 21.33 yards per catch on the season. Look for Thomas to spead the ball out to multiple receivers, as their are four Duck wideouts with at least ten catches on the season.
There really is not a glaring weakness in this offense. They rank 26th nationally in performance on passing downs and 24th for standard downs. Oregon is an efficient machine with a big time playmaker in the backfield.
DEFENSE: 15.0 PPGA 4.6 YPPA #38 S&P
While this defense can and will give up yards, they manage to stop drives through takeaways. Oregon has already forced 15 turnovers on the season. They've also forced 15 fumbles and recovered ten. This unit is geared around selling out and making big plays, and so far it has worked well. An opposing offense absolutely has to avoid making mistakes against these guys to be successful, because they will capitalize.
Three defensive backs (John Boyett, Talmadge Jackson III, and Eddie Pleasant) are tied for the team lead in tackles with 26. Senior defensive Brandon Bair has been a nightmare for offenses, already posted 8.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. In total, the team has done a solid job of getting into the backfield, putting up over six TFL per game.
If there is a weakness on defense, it may be the pass. S&P ranks the Ducks at 47th in that category. However, much of that damage must be done on early downs, because when it gets to obvious passing downs Oregon ranks 18th in the country.
Oregon is in trouble if...The defense is unable to force turnovers, and the opposing offense is able to stay on the field and keep Oregon's juggernaut of an offense on the sidelines.