Oregon Ducks vs Stanford Cardinal: Road Team Plays The Spoiler Role This Year


For many seasons the Ducks had to wonder if Stanford would ruin their chances for a national title or an Rose Bowl berth. Now it’s Oregon’s turn to play the spoiler. Oregon has a real chance to contend for the Pac-12 North title. As in previous meetings the winner went on to win the Pac-12 North

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The Oregon Ducks have more to worry about then just facing a passing offense, last week they held Jared Goff and Cal to 28 points. This week they face Stanford’s vaunted physical running attack, which is led by running back Christian McCaffery who is having a breakout year. The son of former NFL player Ed McCaffery is a Heisman Trophy candidate. The 6-1, 201 Sophomore has rushed for 1,207 yards, 198 carries and six touchdowns. He also has caught 28 passes, for 325 yards and two touchdowns. McCaffery had his best game against Washington when he carried the ball 23 times for 109 yards and a touchdown. He showed he is just as good of a threat at receiver, when he caught five passes for 112 and a touchdown in the same game.

The Oregon Ducks will have to find a way to slow him down, something no team has really been able to do all season. Oregon has always seemed to struggle with Stanford’s physical offense. Last season was different in their 45-16 drubbing of Stanford as Oregon had the best player in the country in Marcus Mariota. Stanford also had a very young team. Go back two years to 2013 when Stanford was ranked 5th and Oregon was ranked 3rd. Stanford manhandled Oregon all game before the Oregon Ducks made an insane fourth quarter comeback  scoring 20 points. Blocking a field goal returing it for a touchdown and recovering an onside kick, when they lost 26-20. Which ended their bid for a national title and saw Stanford play in the Rose Bowl.

Go back even further to 2012, when Stanford was ranked then 14th and Oregon was ranked second in the BCS and first in the AP poll. The Cardinals hit a field goal in overtime to end another chance for the Oregon Ducks to play in the National title game 17-14. So Oregon and fans have to be excited for a chance to return the favor. It has to be one of the best rivalries in the Pac-12 Conference that has developed in the last seven to eight years that has been super competitive.

Return to 2015, many experts are picking the 7th ranked Cardinals to beat the Ducks. Who are unranked this season after struggling to find consistency behind center. They might finally have as Vernon Adams looks to be back at 100 percent. With Adams back, the Ducks have won three straight, many credit his return with sparking the offense to playing like it should. It is the first time since 2009 that both teams aren’t ranked when playing each other.

To win Oregon will have to rely on workhouse Royce Freeman to carry the load. Freeman has carried the Ducks all season as they struggled to find a quarterback, a defense and their identity. He has carried the ball 194 times, for 1,287 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Ducks have gotten a boost from Wide Receiver Darren Carrington who returned from suspension, over the past three games. In his return he has 14 catches, for 344 yards and three touchdowns. Despite missing half the season he is second on team in yards only behind Bralon Addison.

The Oregon Ducks have the offensive firepower to beat the Cardinals. Stanford has always had a great defense and the ability to control the clock. Hopefully the Ducks can get started early to put pressure on the Cardinals defense with their fast pace offense. Stanford has the edge in the series 46-31-1. Although in the last six years the series is tied 3-3.

Next: Pac-12 Preview: Oregon Heads To The Farm To Take on Stanford

Oregon ( 6-3, 4-2 Pac-12) travels to Stanford ( 8-1, 7-0 Pac-12), game time starts at 4:30 pm on Fox.