Game of the Week: Stanford vs. Oregon
Stanford vs. Oregon
A game that will go a long way in determining the PAC-10 champion, this game features the likely first QB taken in next April’s draft, one of the best backs in the nation, and two teams that are expected to put up a whole lot of points. This game will not lack in entertainment.
Andrew Luck: The majority of scouts see Andrew Luck (if he declares) as the top QB in the 2011 draft. He possesses very good mechanics, high football IQ and good decision making, especially when compared to Locker and Mallett. This game represents to Luck a chance to prove that he deserves being the #1 rated QB, facing what will be Stanford’s stiffest competition of the year. Locker and Mallett struggled in each of their team’s biggest game of the year; let’s see if Luck can prevent it from happening to him.
Luck’s detractors point to a lack of arm strength, speed/mobility issues when forced to move outside the pocket and that his accuracy, ball placement and decision making skills are no better than that of Locker’s or Mallett’s. I will be watching his velocity on balls like the deep out, whether he can place the ball in a position that allows his receivers to run after the catch, and if there is any mobility or pocket presence issues to his game.
Owen Marecic: One of the only 2-way players left in college football, Marecic plays LB and FB for the Cardinal but will drafted as a FB. My concentration will be solely on him as a fullback, watching if he hits the right hole when asked to lead block, whether he picks up the proper blitzers and lastly, his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.
LaMichael James: Considered one of the top backs in the country, James will go up against a Stanford team that has yet to give up 100 yards on the ground in a single game this year. It is well known that James has the speed to get to the corner on almost any defense and he is extremely elusive, but I want to see how complete of a back he is. Most important to NFL scouts will be his ability run between the tackles, his quickness in and out of his cuts and whether he can maintain balance through contact.
Kenny Rowe: Known as an undersized lineman with an explosive first step, Rowe appears to be too small to be an every down player at the next level. I will be watching to see how explosive he really is off the edge, whether he is a dynamic pass rusher or just a speed rusher, and whether he has any ability to anchor and hold up against the run.
No doubt this game will be a shootout with lots of points scored on both sides. Luck and the Cardinal will attempt to establish the run against the small but quick defensive line of the Ducks to setup their play action, which Luck is very adept at. Oregon’s defense gave up almost 400 yards through the air vs. ASU last week, so expect the Cardinal to be able to move the ball against the Ducks. However, it will be interesting to see if the Oregon defensive line will be able to get pressure on Luck and force him into some bad throws. Even against the Irish last week, who did not put up an incredible amount pressure, Luck was picked off twice and made some questionable passes.
Oregon, on the other hand, will use a balanced spread attack against Stanford with QB Darron Thomas at the helm. Thomas distributes the ball well to Oregon’s many weapons and possesses the ability to run when needed. LaMichael James will get the majority of carries and should be around 100 yards but don’t expect him to get much more than that. The Cardinal play very disciplined defense and have done a nice job of limiting the big plays of their opponents. However, their defense lacks athleticism which is not advantageous against a team with the number of athletes that Oregon has on its roster
In front of a ruckus crowd in Eugene, the Ducks athleticism proves to be just too much for Stanford in the end, Oregon 42 – Stanford 35.