Oregon football’s ground game came up with 189 yards against Fresno State, with the bulk of that coming from quarterback Anthony Brown. Much of it was on a long run for a touchdown that ended up being the game-winner against Fresno State.
The Ducks will need CJ Verdell and Travis Dye to step in and to step up. Not only will it help keep things honest, but could help pave the way to an Oregon win against a solid Ohio State defensive line.
Of course, Oregon’s defensive front is no slouch with Justin Flowe and Kayvon Thibodeaux wreaking havoc last week on two early series against Fresno State that turned into points for the Ducks.
Last week, Ohio State traveled to Minnesota and won 45-31, but the team definitely looked beatable. Minnesota used their run game early and often racking up over 200 yards on the ground with Mohamed Ibrahim doing most of the work on his own with 163 yards on 30 carries and two touchdowns. Ibrahim saw his season end with a lower leg injury he suffered late in the game with the Buckeyes.
The Ducks need to do what Ibrahim was able to do before his injury.
Oregon football must dominate on the ground
Oregon comes into the game with two experienced players in Verdell and Dye. Verdell is more an inside runner where Dye is more change of pace. Both can catch the ball out of the backfield and both should have opportunities against the Buckeyes on Saturday.
One key loss to start the season is Sean Dollars, who may have been a big difference-maker in the game this week versus Ohio State. If the run game can get some early yards, it will also open up the passing game for Brown. Of course, it also helps to have a signal-caller who can use his feet.
Oregon and Ohio State kickoff from the Horseshoe in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 9 a.m. PST on FOX.