Saturday, November 8, 2008

Stanford (4-2, 5-4) @ Oregon (4-2, 6-3)


Oregon fell further back in the Pac-10 race with last week’s loss to California and it will be difficult to climb out of the hole they now find themselves in. They cannot lose to Stanford if they want their chances to stay alive. Clearly, Stanford isn’t thinking conference title by any means, but a win Saturday could make them bowl eligible, so expect the Cardinal will bring their best game to Autzen Stadium.

The strength of both teams is running the football. The Ducks have the number one run offense in the Pac-10 (sixth in the nation) and Stanford is right behind at number two. Making it even more interesting is that each defense is equally adept at stopping the run. Oregon possesses the second best rush defense in the conference, while the Cardinal are ranked third. The brick wall versus the speeding truck all game long.

If the two sides grind to a halt on the ground, the passing offense need to take over and things could get ugly. Both teams are nearly as ineffective through the air as they are effective on the ground. However, at the same time, neither defense can stop the pass. Cardinal quarterback Tavita Pritchard continues to turn the ball over at a brisk pace. If he keeps that up, he could give the Oregon ground attack field position that will be too tough to overcome.