13 November 2010
Being number one is not easy. Staying number one is even more difficult. With one slip-up, Oregon’s hopes of playing for a national championship slim. They have held onto their top spot, and don’t have the looks of a team slowing down, but California awaits.
A tough task is on the horizon. A Closer Look at the Golden Bears
So far this season, Oregon has had a tremendous advantage in at least one category over their opponent, whether that is a better running game, a better passing game, or a faster defense. California, though 5-4 on the season and 3-3 in conference, has a dynamic running attack, a strong-armed quarterback in Brock Mansion, and an athletic defense.
The Golden Bears statistics aren’t on Oregon’s level, but few teams in the country can say they come close to the Ducks offensively. They have 18 rushing touchdowns to Oregon’s 35 and 14 passing touchdowns to Oregon’s 23. But that differential doesn’t mean anything. California will undoubtedly be the Ducks toughest test yet.
Junior Shane Vereen has 12 of those touchdowns on the ground, compiling 886 yards and just over five yards per carry in reaching that impressive total. He is very quick, and is like Ducks running back LaMichael James in that he knows how to find open space and make the most of it.
Vereen is also a receiving threat out of the backfield, with three touchdowns through the air, and the rest of the Golden Bears receiving core is also explosive. Their unit has a knack for making big plays, having broken free for touchdowns of 62, 48, and 45 yards. Marvin Jones notched longest of the three as their most dangerous threat, racking up 675 yards to date, but Keenan Allen leads the group with five touchdowns. They are very versatile, with five options worth keeping a keen eye on.
To boot, they like to run a Wildcat-style offense with Vereen taking a majority of those snaps. Keeping him in check would make a win much easier for Oregon to obtain, but that will be a tall order.
A Closer Look at the Ducks
Being the best team in the country Oregon doesn’t have many faults. Their offense is as fast-paced as ever, with the elusive James, a dual-threat quarterback in Darron Thomas, and a plethora of receivers ready to move the ball downfield and into the endzone as quick as possible. Their first half against Washington aside, the Ducks haven’t been slowed up, but that could change against the Golden Bears defense.
Cameron Jordan, California’s defensive end, is coming off the best game of his career, having forced a fumble, recorded 12 tackles, and accumulated 1 ½ sacks against Washington State last week. Oregon has the offensive line to keep him from duplicating such a tremendous performance, but he and his friends on defense are certainly going to try to fluster Thomas and close James’ lanes. Whether they can in front of a home-crowd itching for an upset remains to be seen.
The last Oregon quarterback to win in Berkeley was Joey Harrington in 2001. Can Darron Thomas end the drought and lead the Ducks to victory in 2010?
Oregon 41 - California 35
|< Prev||Next >|