The college football season begins for the Oregon Ducks on Saturday night inside Autzen Stadium and there are several things I will be watching for. Following the offseason news that Wide Receiver Bralon Addison is out, at least for now, what will Oregon do at that position. Another question is the health of Quarterback Marcus Mariota and the third – in talking with South Dakota Coach Joe Glenn this week he said his biggest concern was the Coyote Defense. Will it be able to stand up to the Oregon Offense for sixty minutes?
With Wide Receiver Bralon Addison Out, Who Will Step Up for Oregon?
Last season was great season to be an Oregon Ducks Wide Receiver. Josh Huff made catch after catch, the biggest against Oregon State to end the season. For everyone there, that will be what is remembered from the 2013 season. Bralon Addison also picked up some solid experience and became what appeared to be the go to guy for Quarterback Marcus Mariota, until he went down in the Spring with an ACL injury. Addison could return at some point this season, but in the meantime Oregon will look to the backup position to lead the team.
Keanon Lowe and Dwayne Stanford head the group entering the South Dakota game. Although the numbers don’t really relate to ‘star’ quality new comber and dual athlete Devon Allen, who made a name for himself at the NCAA Championships earlier this summer is also in the mix for this season. Without last seasons starters in the lineup and Lowe having just under five hundred yards of offense last season, we’ll see how quickly these guys can gel.
How Fragile Is Quarterback Marcus Mariota?
The 2013 season started out on very much a positive note. Oregon Quarterback Marcus Mariota started a crazy streak of games without an interception, until the team ran into Arizona and got run over by the Wildcats Defense. To start the game the Oregon QB threw his first pick of the year that bounced off an Oregon Receiver and into the hands of an Arizona Defender. Not the best way to give up a pick. Nonetheless that game was the start of a two game losing streak for Oregon down the stretch and is now a streak of two years of similar results that Oregon would like to put behind them.
In the Spring game Mariota was on fire going nine for ten for two touchdowns in about twenty minutes of work. Mariota will start the game, but it is not known how long he will play against South Dakota. It will be interesting to see how he comes off an Alamo Bowl finish in 2013 entering the season as one of the leading candidates for the Heisman Trophy.
South Dakota Defensive Trouble Could Make It An Easy Day for Oregon
The game of momentum in college football can be a dangerous one, and if South Dakota is given the opportunity and makes the right plays on Saturday it could be in their favor. The team from South Dakota has had a countdown clock in their locker room counting down to the Oregon game all summer. They have passed by when they have gone to workouts and practice this summer. They will be up for this game, at least at the start. I am not sure if they will be able to play sixty minutes with an Oregon team that has playmakers at every position, but college football must be played on the field, and any given day the tables can turn. If the South Dakota Defense can play together it could be theirs for the taking.
Pac-12 Prediction: There Will Be At Least One Pac-12 Team Upset on Saturday
Oregon and South Dakota kickoff at 7:30pm Pacific time on Pac-12 Networks and AutzenZoo will have Live Streaming Coverage of the game starting at 6:30pm Pacific time right here on AutzenZoo.com