Colorado will be making the trip to Oregon this week to play the Ducks. With Oregon having a trip to Seattle and a game against rivals Washington, it will be imperative for Oregon to stay focused on Colorado.
Colorado vs Oregon: Keys
However, first things first. Oregon will have to stay focused because Colorado is capable of putting up points. In fact, this is probably the best offense this Oregon defense will have seen so far.
It will be huge for Oregon to come out and take care of the small things and protect the ball. In last week’s win against Cal, the offense was sloppy with the ball. Justin Herbert threw his first interception of the season when the offense was in the redzone, and Travis Dye had two fumbles.
They were ultimately able to get away with it last week, but they might not have the same fate this week if they turn it over.
Win Matchups on the Outside
This applies to both sides of the ball. Oregon needs to actually take some shots on the outside with the likes of Juwan Johnson. Giving some of the outside receivers a chance could result in some big plays against a secondary that’s been shredded this season.
However, this also applies to the defense. Now Thomas Graham Jr. and Deommodore Lenoir have had no problem winning matchups on the outside this season. With that being said, this is the best group of receivers they’ve seen this season.
Tony Brown is the leading receiver for the Buffaloes, but K.D. Nixon is capable. A huge part of this game though will be the health of Laviska Shenault Jr. Shenault has been banged up this season, but when he’s healthy, he’s the best offensive weapon in the Pac-12.
Colorado vs Oregon: Keys Continued
Keep the Running Game Momentum Going
The running game has been a huge concern so far this season. However, last week the offense was able to run for 4.8 yards per carry.
Verdell went down in the first half, which led to an increase in carries for Dye, but both were effective in terms of yardage, even though Dye had two fumbles.
While last week didn’t feature any explosive runs of over 25 yards, the increased production from the rest of the season was a welcome sight. As mentioned, Verdell went down in the first half last week. However, he is expected to play. That will be huge, but the distribution of carries will be interesting.
With Verdell coming off of being banged up, it’s fair to wonder if he will get the bulk of the carries. Expect Dye to get some carries, but it also wouldn’t be surprising to see some action from Darrian Felix, if he is healthy.
Regardless, the offense should be able to run the ball this week. The Buffaloes are giving up 157 yards per game on the ground. There’s no excuse to not be able to run the ball.
Contain the Quarterback
While the defense was able to get home for four sacks last week, the pass rush was sloppy. Too many times the pass rush lost contain, allowing Devon Modster to scramble and pick up yards.
Steven Montez can run as well as pass, which will make it even more important than it was last week to rush the passer in a disciplined manner.
Creating havoc is a good thing. Making the quarterback move off his spot is a good thing. Potentially making the quarterback take his eyes down is a good thing. However, if you are dealing with a quarterback who can run it can extend drives because defensive backs are generally going to have their backs turned when a quarterback starts scrambling.
Colorado is a team that needs to be taken seriously. The main reason for that is because they can put up some points.
Now, this Oregon defense is the real deal. They’ve faced some bad offenses, but doing what they’ve done so far this season is hard no matter who you’re playing.
While this is a type of team Oregon hasn’t faced this season, there’s no reason to lose. Yes, weird things happen in the Pac-12 in night games, especially games that are on Friday Night’s. However, Oregon has the talent advantage here and they’re playing at home when both teams are playing on a short week.
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