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Oregon, Season's First Real Test

So the Bruin defense is now ranked number 2 in the nation. They are leading the Pac-10 in virtually every category. Again if just go by statistic, this is truly a stunning turnaround for which DC DeWayne Walker deserves enormous praise.

However, as we have pointed out a number of times already, this defense of ours haven't played a legit offense yet. That is all going to change next weekend, when our guys will get to take on the first true test of this season - Oregon Ducks. So let's not waste any time in looking at our next game for the season as right now it is clear we can't take away much from our last two scrimmage wins against worthless opponents like Stanford and Zona.

Ducks have one of the best offense in the nation. And here is our first look:

Category National Rank Actual
Rushing Offense 16 196.00
Passing Offense 14 273.20
Total Offense 4 469.20
Scoring Offense 9 37.00

So we are going to next weekend just how legit the Bruin defense, which has been feasting on mediocre/awful opponents in its first five game of the season. The key to taming the Oregon offense will begain with shutting down their running game. That is exactly what Cal did last night holding Jonathan Stewart led Ducks running game to 86 yards. In fact the two other games in which the Ducks came close to losing (at Fresno State and Oklahoma), the opponents held their running game to under 200 yards. So if Davis, Hickman, Harwell, Brown, and the Bruin front-7 keep their high level of play and shut down the Ducks running game next Saturday, the Bruins will have a great chance next Saturday. Meanwhile on offense Bruins will have to run the ball effectively. It's the Ducks rushing defense which is vulnerable part of their D. Here are the numbers:

Category National Rank Actual
Rushing Defense 104 178.00
Pass Efficiency Defense 30 106.94
Total Defense 63 332.00
Scoring Defense 83 25.00

Their defense is decent but certainly not world beaters as Cal exposed them infront of the whole nation yesterday. Our offense statistically matches up pretty well. At least in terms of scoring offense and total offense, numbers suggest with our awesome defense, we should be able to handle Oregon.

It was disconcerting to see our running game bog down against Zona's defense. Not encouraging at all. I liked the play calling a lot in the first half against Arizona, we reverted to the same old tendencies of conservative - playing-not-to-lose - football in the second half. If the coaches want to pull out a win next Saturday they will have to take some chances against a presumably angry Ducks team. They will have to show some of the same playcalling in the first half like they did yesterday. Throw on first downs. Have Cowan roll out. And call the running plays when we have them on their heels. Ducks are a good team but not a great one. We have beaten them in the past and we can certainly do it again.

Again we have heard a lot of hype about this defense, then it should be able to pull out at least 2 road wins out of our games against Oregon, ND, Cal, and ASU. ASU should be a gimme at this point. The question is can we win 1 out of the other 3. If this is truly a top-10 defense (actually ranked number 2 in the nation) then it should not be too much to ask for. We will find out in our first true test of this season on Saturday.