PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The countdown is on for the “Granddaddy of Them All” where Oregon will face the Wisconsin Badgers in Pasadena, California on Wednesday.
Here are six things the No. 6 Ducks need to do in order to get the Rose Bowl win:
1. Slow down Jonathan Taylor
The Badgers have the nation’s best running back in Jonathan Taylor. Taylor, who was a Heisman finalist and was awarded the Doak Walker trophy, stands at 5’10 and weighs 215 pounds, rushed for 1,909 yards this season and 21 touchdowns. He is the Badgers’ main offensive weapon. The Ducks are going to have to slow him down, if he is able to do what he has done all season, then the Ducks could be in for a long game.
2. Justin Herbert needs to seal the deal
This will be Herbert’s last game as a Duck and it could be his most important. Herbert needs to come out and be the big-time player that he has at times shown that he is. If Herbert can play like he did against the Utes, the Ducks offense will have no problem making plays and keeping the Wisconsin defense on their heels. When Herbert is in command and playing well, this offense has no problem racking up points, Herbert needs to come out, sharp, efficient, and aggressive and put a stamp on his Oregon career.
3. Oregon’s offense: Take what Wisconsin gives you
With the way Wisconsin plays, they want to keep everything in front of them, they don’t want to give up the long ball big play so they allow teams to pick up some easy yards under the coverages. The Ducks do not need to do anything special, what they need to do is take what Wisconsin is going to give. The only thing the Ducks need to do is the same thing they have all year, get their athletes the ball in the open field and let them make a play. If the Badgers force the Ducks to chip away with four yards at a time, then so be it and the Ducks need to take full advantage of that.
4. Stay disciplined on defense
What teams have done defensively all season when playing the Badgers is sell out to the run. Since Jonathan Taylor is so great and the focal point of this Badgers offense, teams will do anything and everything to try and stop him. When defenses do that, guys get out of position and stop doing their assignments. This will open up opportunities for the Badgers QB Jack Coan to make plays with his feet like he did against the Buckeyes. Stopping Jonathan Taylor should be the priority for the Duck but, it can’t allow someone else on the offense to get going. Defensive guys must be disciplined and not get out of position, do their assignment, and trust the scheme that the coaches provide.
5. Win physicality battle
This is a matchup between two programs who have prided themselves on physicality, and it will likely be an old-school smash-mouth football game where both teams are going to bring the hard hits defensively and bring the crushing blocks offensively. The Ducks need to find a way to win the physicality battle much like they did against the Utah Utes in the conference championship game. They were more physical in all aspects of the game which led to the run game flourishing, the defense shutting down the Utes offense, and big plays being made on special teams.
6. Need takeaways
The Badgers offense is nothing flashy, what they do is grind out long drives that result in points on the board. The Ducks are going to need to find ways to get takeaways, they can not let the Badgers chew up time on the clock and grind out long drives and fatigue the Ducks defense. If they do, then the offense is going to have to find ways to consistently score, because by the fourth quarter the defense will be gassed and unable to make a huge impact on the game.