2. Run defense
This honestly hinges on if Kayvon Thibodeaux is good to go for Saturday or not, but right now, Oregon has the advantage with the better run defense — at least right now.
If Thibodeaux is good to go against the Buckeyes, this point stands even more.
Up front, the Ducks have a strong defensive line and it’s only getting better. It plugged holes all afternoon long against Ronnie Rivers and Fresno State’s potent run game. In fact, the Bulldogs had just 75 yards and a touchdown on 2.5 yards per touch. That’s something that Oregon needs to have against the strong backfield of Ohio State.
The Buckeyes had 201 yards rushing in the opener and that should be lower against the Ducks’ strong front, led by Thibodeaux, Justin Flowe, and Noah Sewell.
Conversely, the Buckeyes surrendered 203 rushing yards to the Golden Gophers, and while Minnesota’s Mohamed Ibrahim (now out for the season with an injury) is one of the best running backs in the country, CJ Verdell and Travis Dye are nothing to sneeze at.
If Oregon can limit big runs and pick up 150-200 yards rushing of its own, the Ducks will have a decent shot in Columbus.