Keys to the game: Oregon Ducks vs Stanford Cardinal

Sports

The Ducks will look to avenge last year's devastating OT loss against Stanford with Saturday's game

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – In this year’s conference opener, the Ducks are looking to avenge the devastating overtime loss they suffered at the hands of Stanford last season.

Here are some keys for the Ducks to come out with a redeeming win:

1. Control the line of scrimmage

Last season when these two teams faced off, the Ducks completely dominated the line of scrimmage — opening plenty of holes for the running backs, giving Justin Herbert time to sit in the pocket and deliver some beautiful passes.

This year should be no different. The Ducks need to control the line and refuse to allow Stanford to control the tempo of the game, something they do well.

2. Herbert must play a complete game

Herbert is projected to be the No. 1 overall draft pick this year, so he needs to show what he’s made of against a team that has an elite defense — for an entire game.

It seems like at times, whether it be a coaching decision or Herbert’s game, there is a fall-off against top-tier teams and defenses. If he can put together a full game with 2 halves, expect the Ducks to blow the gate open. 

3. Don’t beat yourself

It’s no secret that the Ducks completely melted down against Stanford last season. Between a fumble, a botched snap and what looked to be poor execution and time management, the Ducks looked like a deer in the headlights.

This season, they look to be a whole different beast.

The Ducks have the potential to run away with this game big time, but they cannot allow themselves to falter as they did in 2018. With leadership on both sides of the ball, they have a chance to make a statement and show this team is not the same as last year.  

4. Take advantage of Stanford’s injuries

Against UCF last week, Stanford took some big-time losses on the offensive line. Senior quarterback K.J. Costello took some major hits and it was apparent he was seriously banged up after the loss.

With the way the Ducks defense has been playing this season, they should take full advantage of the banged-up Stanford O-line and remember to keep up the pressure on attacks.

5. Key in on TE Colby Parkison 

This slumped Stanford team we’ve seen over the last few games hasn’t been the powerhouse we’ve grown accustomed to seeing. However, they still consistently have great athletes playing key positions, such as junior TE Colby Parkinson.

Parkinson has been a go-to guy for Stanford this season, standing at 6-foot-7 and weighing in at 250, he’s caught 17 passes for 178 yards so far. The Ducks need to limit Stanford’s ability to get Parkinson the ball because he could be a real threat to this Ducks defense. 

6. Don’t let K.J. Costello get comfortable 

Costello lit the Ducks defense up last season for three touchdowns and over 300 passing yards. The Ducks can’t let Costello get comfortable and feel like he can take over the game the same way he did last season — they need to bring pressure. Linebackers Troy Dye and Mase Funa have the potential to be the ones causing fits for Costello.  

Overall — the Ducks need to be ready to hold their own going into Saturday’s matchup. Even though the Cardinal has looked iffy in recent weeks — Oregon will need to be ready with their A-game.

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