Here are the players to watch when No. 20 Oregon plays San Jose State on Saturday in Autzen Stadium.
Josh Oliver / San José State TE #89 / Senior
Oregon dominated Portland State 62-14 last week. But both of the opposing team’s touchdowns came from tight end Charlie Taumoepeau, including one for 71 yards. It was the only blight on an otherwise clean performance from Oregon’s defense. San Jose State’s best receiver is a tight end, so will the Ducks learn and adjust? Or, could this possibly be a weakness in Oregon’s defense? Oliver leads San José State in receptions but has not recorded a touchdown catch. His 6-foot-5, 250-pound frame makes him a big target and hard for any safety to handle.
Nick Pickett / Oregon S #16 / Sophomore
At 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, Pickett might be Oregon’s best option for covering Oliver. He’s Oregon’s biggest safety and has started the first two games. But he is still listed with Brady Breeze and Mattrell McGraw as (ORs) for the starting position. Playing an NFL prospect in Oliver should help decide who gets more playing time.
Travis Dye / Oregon RB #26 / Freshman
Linebacker Troy Dye’s younger brother broke a 49-yard touchdown run against Portland State, and the freshman needs to capitalize on a quality performance to see more playing time. Tony Brooks-James and CJ Verdell appear to be the top two running backs, but four guys behind them are still competing for playing time. Travis should get more opportunities for carries, but so should everyone else when the Ducks pull away from San José State. He’ll need to maximize his reps if he wants to cement himself into the rotation.
Boogie Roberts / San José State DT #8/ Senior
The winner of a football game is often a team that can control the line of scrimmage. If San José State is going to pull off an upset, or even make this game close, a strong performance from Roberts is key. They don’t have a lot of talent up front, but he leads them in tackles for loss and sacks — just 2.5 and one, respectively. Roberts might need to match those numbers in this game alone, but that would go a long way in helping the Spartan defense.
Follow Jack Butler on Twitter @Butler917