PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon is looking to keep up the momentum after clinching a spot in the PAC-12 Championship Game with a matchup against Arizona State this weekend.
Here are some key elements to keep an eye on as the Ducks take the field:
1. ASU Pass defense
The Sun Devils pass defense ranks amongst the worst in the country, coming in at 114th. The Devils, on average, give up about 269 yards a game and also give up 7.4 yards per attempt. With the talent that the Ducks have, expect them to take full advantage of the struggling Sun Devils pass defense. More importantly, this is prime to be another big-time game from wide receiver Juwan Johnson.
2. Can’t let Eno Benjamin get in his grove
We know what Benjamin can do, and while the all-American running back isn’t having the jaw-dropping season that he did last year, he certainly is still more than capable of having a huge game. He is still a very polished running back who is going to break 1,000 yards this season. The Ducks defense has been dominant all season long, but they can’t slip up this game against a running back who is still a big-time playmaker.
3. Offensive line needs to show up
The Sun Devils bring a ton of pressure and make it tough for teams to run the ball. The Ducks offensive line has to be prepared for the interesting and exotic blitz packages that they bring. It all starts up front, if the Ducks offensive line can dominate then they will be able to get the ground game going.
4. Contain Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels
The freshman is a spectacular athlete, he can beat you with his arm and his legs. The Ducks have faced their fair share of running quarterbacks this season and have done a great job of containing them. That great play needs to continue for the Ducks defense in order for them to contain a great athlete like Daniels.
5. Herbert needs to get the ball out quick
Since Arizona State is going to consistently put on the pressure, as a quarterback, Oregon’s Justin Herbert is going to need to be quick and decisive when throwing the ball. When the Sun Devils bring pressure, it’s all about a numbers game. They will bring more players than the offensive line can handle. So Herbert is going to need to have a quicker internal clock than he usually would and help his offensive line out.
6. Utilize the screen game
With the amount of pressure the Sun Devils are going to bring, this is going to open up a ton of opportunity for the Ducks running backs to pick up some big-time yards. Utilizing the speed and ability to catch out of the backfield from Travis Dye could result in some big-time touchdowns. The more big plays from the screens the Ducks get, the less likely the Sun Devils are to send pressure.
Follow KOIN 6 for the latest news and weather