GameDay: How do Oregon and Colorado Stack up?
It’s not often that the opposing team’s mascot summarizes how a game is likely to go. But, this might be the opportunity as the Ducks should stampede like a herd of Buffalo over Colorado. In addition, Oregon fans will say their final goodbye to Marcus Mariota in what is likely his final game at Autzen Stadium.
Here is how Oregon and Colorado stackup:
Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau is a work in progress, like the rest of the team. Liufau has thrown for 2,842 yards and 26 touchdowns this season which are formidable numbers. However the limp in his charge is shown by his 14 interceptions for a QBR of under 65. Michael Adkins II has the majority of Colorado’s carries this season (81) and has gained 398 yards — a 4.9 average. Like the Oregon running backs, Adkins shares time with two other running backs: Phillip Lindsay and Tony Jones. But unlike Oregon, sharing the work load hasn’t been successful. None of Colorado’s running backs average 40 yards or more per game. As a team, Colorado averages 29.8 points and 461.1 yards per game, ranked 10th and seventh best in the conference respectively.
Oregon, on the other hand, has an established offense that shows every sign of scoring quickly and often on Saturday. Mariota has thrown for 2,780 yards and 29 touchdowns, while being picked off just twice this season. He has also ran for 524 yards and 8 touchdowns, averaging 52.4 rushing yards per game — a greater number than any of Colorado’s running backs. But the stampede led by Mariota is never without support. Freshman running back Royce Freeman has become a beast of its own. Just look at the guy. He has rushed for 945 yards for 14 touchdowns, averaging 94.5 yards per game this season. Without center Hroniss Grasu, the Ducks should still have no problem pounding the ball down the field.
With Oregon’s offense, a task so great to deal with alone, Colorado’s performances this season doesn’t put a lot of confidence in their ability to slow down the Ducks. Colorado is second-to-last in points allowed in the Pac-12, giving up 38.6 points a game on average. Perhaps a bigger problem is that it has the worst rush defense in the conference, allowing over 200 yards per game. However, Colorado ranks fifth in the conference in pass defense, allowing 243.1 yards per game.
Oregon’s defense hasn’t been up-to-par of its No. 2 national ranking. But it could look like the No. 1 team defensively in the country come Saturday. The Ducks’ weakness defensively has come through the air this season but this week they’ll be matched against the most inefficient passing team in the conference. The ground game is, perhaps, where Oregon could show weakness. Oregon allows, on average, 162.7 rush yards per game which is just a fraction of a yard more than what Colorado averages in its ground attack.
Follow Andrew Bantly on Twitter @andrewbantly
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