Beating Ohio State is something not many programs have been able to do over the past couple of decades — just ask Michigan.
But Oregon football has a chance to do just that this September as the Ducks travel to Columbus for one of the biggest non-conference games of the season. Unfortunately, the Ducks have no experience of beating the Buckeyes. In fact, they are 0-9 all-time against Ohio State.
The last time these two teams met was back in the 2015 national title game when Ohio State pounded Oregon 42-20 to win it all. Before that, they met in Pasadena in 2010 when Chip Kelly and Jim Tressel were still the head coaches and Ohio State came away with a 26-17 victory in the Rose Bowl.
The 2010 loss was the first time the two teams had met since 1987 when Ohio State won 24-14 in Columbus and before that it was 1983 when the Buckeyes dominated 31-6 at home.
Only one time in the history of this matchup has the game taken place in Eugene and that won’t change for another decade-plus but this year’s Oregon football team may be the one that ends the winless streak against Ohio State.
Mario Cristobal has loaded the roster with talent while Ohio State will be forced with finding its next quarterback after Justin Fields. The Buckeyes lost a lot of talent to the NFL, but the Ducks are also looking for their QB1 with the departure of Tyler Shough to Texas Tech (after an up-and-down season in 2020) and Anthony Brown’s return. Robby Ashford looks like the trending pick right now but Jay Butterfield and Ty Thompson shouldn’t be overlooked.
But is this the year the Ducks finally end that winless streak against Ohio State?
Will Oregon football actually “upset” the Buckeyes?
Ohio State is likely going to be a top-five team in the country to start the season and they could very well head into this matchup in Week 2 as the No. 3 or No. 2 team in all of college football. Oregon, on the other hand, will likely be somewhere in the 8-12 range, making this a potential top-10 matchup.
Ohio State has some holes such as quarterback and in various spots on defense but the skill positions on offense are loaded. That’s going to be a true test for Oregon’s talented defense.
Plus, this game will be played in Columbus which makes it all the more difficult for Oregon.
Fortunately, this is a noon kickoff so the atmosphere of an 8 p.m. ET primetime kickoff will be lacking at Ohio Stadium. There’s usually an extra buzz and momentum for the home team when a game is played under the lights in front of thousands of rowdy fans who’ve been tailgating all day long. Oregon won’t have to worry about that aspect.
I think Oregon could end up having a better defense than Ohio State this season, but I’m not completely sure Cristobal is going to go with a young gun like Ashford at quarterback and Brown might not have what it takes to beat the Buckeyes in Columbus.
If Oregon wants to beat Ohio State this season, Ashford will need to be the starter and the Buckeyes’ quarterback will need to struggle against the Ducks’ defense.
Will it happen? I would say no, but all losing streaks eventually come to an end.
If there’s any year Oregon could beat Ohio State, it’s 2021.