Oregon Football: How Stanford Gave Ducks the Blueprint to Victory

Joe PenkalaCorrespondent ISeptember 17, 2012

EUGENE, OR - SEPTEMBER 15:  Puddles the mascot of the Oregon Ducks does push up after a touchdown against of the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles on September 15, 2012 at the Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Coming into the 2012 college football season, the hype for the USC football team had reached an all-time high.

Media outlets around the nation were expecting the Trojans to march through their schedule and only be challenged by the Ducks in early November.

This past weekend, the Trojans headed on the road to Stanford and were stunned, 21-14. While the loss was a tough blow to the Trojans' season, it did lay the blueprint on how to handle USC going forward.

During the game, the Cardinal did a great job of putting pressure on Matt Barkley, while forcing USC into long third-down conversions.

Stanford also showed some offensive balance and was able to control the line of scrimmage with the run game.

For Oregon, these are both two things that it can do as well.

On defense, the secondary is young, but the front seven has great speed and ability to pressure the quarterback. Last year, the Ducks lost Dion Jordan early in the USC game, so they were unable to get the speed rush that he usually provides. 

When looking at the offense, Oregon has had the Trojans' number as of late. If not for the sloppy start to last year's game, the Ducks would have had similar success in 2011. 

The Ducks have the ability to hand the ball to Kenjon Barner, De'Anthony Thomas or even have Marcus Mariota keep it and take off. 

Anyway you look at it, the Trojans' loss to Stanford may not be the reason the Ducks win or lose against USC, but it will give head coach Chip Kelly plenty to look at. As history has shown with Kelly, he has the ability to expose a team's weakness and attack it.

For now, the Ducks and Trojans will continue through their conference schedule. Even with the loss to Stanford, this still is shaping up to be a classic matchup. 

Joe Penkala is a B/R National Featured Columnist who covers college football. You can contact him @joepenkala.