Colorado vs. Oregon: Complete Game Preview

Kay Jennings@KayJenningsPDXContributor IIIOctober 25, 2012

Colorado vs. Oregon: Complete Game Preview

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    If the Oregon Ducks needed any inspiration for this week's matchup with the Colorado Buffaloes, dropping to No. 4 in the BCS rankings probably provided it.

    But, since every game is the Super Bowl, according to head coach Chip Kelly, one must assume that the Ducks will be ready for this one anyway.

    Colorado played USC at the Los Angeles Coliseum last Saturday, and its reward is a trip to Autzen Stadium this week. Talk about a brutal two-week stretch for the Buffs. The only interesting factor in this game will be Colorado coach Jon Embree's opinion as to who is tougher: USC or Oregon.

    Here's how this week shapes up.

Gameday Info

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    WHO: Colorado at Oregon - Game No. 8

    WHEN: Saturday, 12:00pm (PDT)

    WHERE: Eugene, Oregon

    STADIUM: Autzen Stadium (Field Turf) Capacity: 54,000 (Standing room only was 58,792 on Oct. 6, Washington game)

    SELLOUT: 87 consecutive, dating to 1999

    NATIONAL RANKING: Oregon—4th in BCS (2nd in USA Today and Harris human polls; 6th in average of computer polls).  Colorado—NR

    NATIONAL TV:  Pac-12 Networks with Kevin Calabro (pxp), Adam Archuleta (analyst) and Yogi Roth (reporter)

    LOCAL RADIO: Oregon IMG with Jerry Allen (pxp) and Mike Jorgensen (analyst).


Depth Chart For Oregon

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    WR:  Daryle Hawkins - 6'4", 202 lbs.

         Bralon Addison - 5'10", 189 lbs.

    LT:  Tyler Johnstone - 6'6", 292 lbs.

         Kyle Long - 6'7", 311 lbs.

    LG:  Ryan Clanton - 6'5", 305 lbs.

         Mana Greig - 5'11", 291 lbs.

    C:   Hroniss Grasu - 6'3", 294 lbs.

         Karrington Armstrong - 6'3", 290 lbs.

    RG:  Nick Cody - 6'5", 310 lbs.

         Hamani Stevens - 6'3", 298 lbs.

    RT:  Jake Fisher - 6'6", 294 lbs.

         Everett Benyard III - 6'7", 305 lbs.

    TE:  Colt Lyerla - 6'5", 246 lbs.

        or Koa Ka'ai - 6'4", 251 lbs.

    WR:  Josh Huff - 5'11", 205 lbs.

         Eric Dungy - 6'1", 183 lbs. or Dwayne Stanford - 6'5", 195 lbs.

    WR:  Keanon Lowe - 5'9", 181 lbs.

         Will Murphy - 6'2", 193 lbs.

    QB:  Marcus Mariota - 6'4", 211 lbs.

         Bryan Bennett - 6'3", 204 lbs.

    RB:  Kenjon Barner - 5'11", 192 lbs.

         De'Anthony Thomas - 5'9", 176 lbs.


    DE:  Dion Jordan - 6'7", 243 lbs.

         DeForest Buckner - 6'7", 265 lbs.

    DT:  Ricky Heimuli - 6'4", 305 lbs. (Note: While DT Isaac Remington's suspension from the team has been lifted, he is not listed on the official Game 8, 2-deep depth chart.)

         Arik Armstead - 6'8", 280 lbs.

    DT:  Wade Keliikipi - 6'3", 295 lbs.

         Ricky Heimuli - 6'4", 305 lbs.

    DE: Taylor Hart - 6'6", 292 lbs.

         Tony Washington - 6'3". 244 lbs. 

    MLB: Kiko Alonso - 6'4", 242 lbs.

         Rahim Cassell - 6'0", 215 lbs.

    WLB: Michael Clay - 5'11", 222 lbs.

         Derrick Malone - 6'2", 219 lbs.

    SLB: Boseko Lokombo - 6'3", 233 lbs.

         Tyson Coleman - 6'1", 222 lbs.

    CB:  Terrance Mitchell - 6'0", 189 lbs.

         Dior Mathis - 5'9", 182 lbs.

    FS:  Avery Patterson - 5'10", 185 lbs.

         Erick Dargan - 5'11", 205 lbs.

    SS:  Brian Jackson - 5'10", 205 lbs.

         Erick Dargan - 5'11", 205 lbs.

    CB:  Ifo Ekpre-Olomu - 5;10", 190 lbs.

         Troy Hill - 5'11", 180 lbs.


    PK:  Rob Beard - 6'0", 215 lbs.

         Alejandro Maldonado - 5'10", 185 lbs.

    KO:  Alejandro Maldonado - 5'10", 185 lbs.

         Rob Beard - 6'0", 215 lbs.

    P:   Jackson Rice - 6'3", 218 lbs.

         Alejandro Maldonado - 5'10", 185 lbs.

    KR:  De'Anthony Thomas - 5'9", 176 lbs.

         Josh Huff - 5'11", 205 lbs.

    PR:  De'Anthony Thomas - 5'9", 176 lbs.

         Ifo Ekpre-Olomu - 5'10", 190 lbs.

    LS:  Drew Howell (punts) - 6'2", 220 lbs.

         Jeff Palmer (PAT/FG) - 5'10", 190 lbs.

    HLD: Jackson Rice - 6'3", 218 lbs.

         Bryan Bennett - 6'3", 204 lbs.



Depth Chart For Colorado

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    WR: Tyler McCulloch - 6'5", 210 lbs.

         Dustin Ebner - 6'1", 185 lbs.

    WR:  Nelson Spruce - 6'2", 195 lbs.

         Gerald Thomas - 5'11", 175 lbs.

    LT:  David Bakhtiari - 6'4", 295 lbs.

         Ryan Dannewitz - 6'6", 300 lbs.

    LG:  Alexander Lewis - 6'6", 285 lbs.

         Jeromy Irwin - 6'5", 280 lbs.

    C:   Gus Handler - 6'3", 295 lbs.

         Daniel Munyer - 6'2", 295 lbs.

    RG:  Daniel Munyer - 6'2", 295 lbs.

         Jack Harris - 6'5", 305 lbs.

    RT:  Jack Harris - 6'5", 305 lbs.

         Stephane Nembot - 6'8", 305 lbs. (this is my new favorite name in college football)

    TE:  Nick Kasa - 6'6", 260 lbs.

         Kyle Slavin - 6'4", 245 lbs.

    QB:  Jordan Webb - 6'1", 205 lbs.

         Connor Wood - 6'3", 225 lbs.

    TB:  Christian Powell - 6'0", 235 lbs.

         Tony Jones - 5'7", 190 lbs.

    FB:  Alex Wood - 6'2", 245 lbs.

         Christian Powell - 6'0", 235 lbs.


    DE:  Will Pericak - 6'4", 285 lbs.

         Kirk Poston - 6'2", 250 lbs.AND Juda Parker - 6'3", 250 lbs.

    DT:  Samson Kavovalu - 6'3", 250 lbs.

         Nate Bonsu - 6'1", 280 lbs.

    NT:  Josh Tupou - 6'3", 325 lbs.

         Nate Bonsu - 6'1", 280 lbs.

    DE:  Chidera Uzo-Diribe - 6'3", 250 lbs.

         Juda Parker - 6'3", 250 lbs. AND Kirk Poston - 6'2", 250 lbs.

    LB:  Doug Rippy - 6'3", 245 lbs.

         Brady Daigh - 6'2", 250 lbs.

    LB:  Derrick Webb - 6'0", 230 lbs.

         Paul Vigo - 6'1", 200 lbs.

    OLB: Jon Major - 6"2", 235 lbs.

         Woodson Greer III - 6"3",  225 lbs.

    LCB: Kenneth Crawley - 6'1", 170 lbs.

         Jeffrey Hall - 5'11", 180 lbs.

    FS:  Parker Orms - 5'11", 195 lbs.

         Marques Mosley - 6'1", 180 lbs.

    SS:  Terrel Smith - 5'9", 190 lbs.

         Jered Bell - 6'0", 195 lbs.

    RCB: Greg Henderson - 5'11", 185 lbs.

         Josh Moten - 6'0", 195 lbs.


    P:   Darragh O'Neill - 6'2", 185 lbs.

         Zach Grossnickle - 6'2", 195 lbs.

    PK: Will Oliver - 5'11", 195 lbs.

         Justin Castor - 6'4", 200 lbs.

    PR:  Kenneth Crawley - 6'1", 170 lbs.

         Nelson Spruce - 6'2", 195 lbs.

    KR:  Jeffrey Hall - 5'11", 180 lbs.

         Marques Mosley - 6'1", 180 lbs.

    HLD: Justin Gorman - 6'0", 200 lbs.

         Zach Grossnickle - 6'2", 195 lbs.

    SN:  Ryan Iverson - 6'0", 220 lbs.

         Keegan LaMar - 6'1", 245 lbs.

What Happened to the Ducks Last Week

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    In what was expected to be the first real road test for Oregon at Arizona State, the Ducks instead rolled over the Sun Devils in a Thursday night game on ESPN. The final score was 43-21, but the Ducks were ahead 43-7 at halftime before emptying their bench and allowing 14 points in the fourth quarter.

    Redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota was supposed to be intimidated by the raucous, blackout crowd in Tempe and ASU's vaulted defense. Didn't happen. Mariota had his best game yet in his first season as Oregon's starting QB, achieving a touchdown trifecta, as he scored passing, running and receiving the ball.

    Unfortunately, Oregon's electrifying performance did not amuse the BCS computers. Although the Ducks finished No. 2 in both the human polls, they averaged No. 6 in the combined computer polls.

    Here's an interesting factoid about the current BCS standings from the Oregon Weekly Football Release: The Ducks' four wins over FBS opponents with winning records is the same number as BCS No. 2 Florida and one more than No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Kansas State (3).


What Happened to the Buffaloes Last Week

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    Although Colorado, at times, showed some fight last Saturday, it was thoroughly beaten by USC in a tough road game at the Coliseum, 50-6.

    Trojan QB Matt Barkley, needing just four touchdown passes to become the USC and Pac-12 Conference career leader (103), threw for six TDs instead and pretty much torched the Buffs all afternoon. Colorado head coach Jon Embree summed up Barkley's performance: "Great player, glad he's done, glad I don't have to see him in person anymore."

    Colorado is not ranked in any national polls.

What It Means to Both Teams

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    For Colorado, a victory at Autzen Stadium would have to rank as one of the top wins in school history. The Buffs are a 46-point underdog going into this one, and a win would be a stunning achievement.

    It does feel as if head coach Jon Embree is making progress in Boulder even if that process has been painstakingly slow. If the Buffs could find a way to win this one, it would signal a giant leap forward for their program.

    While Colorado is clawing for respectability since joining the Pac-12, Oregon is on another mission entirely. The Ducks want desperately to get back to the BCS National Championship game, and every week in conference play is a step closer to that goal.

    A loss to lowly Colorado would completely derail Oregon's postseason plans. If the Ducks hope to climb up the BCS ladder, every week is important because it is a chance to make a statement to poll voters.

Key Player For Oregon

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    Every week, we could name one of about 12 players as a potential impact player for that week, such is the nature of Oregon's team. Because the key offensive stars, Marcus Mariota, Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas, will most likely get their yards and points, I'm going with defensive end Dion Jordan as the key player this week.

    Although linebacker Kiko Alonso is listed as a starter on the official depth chart for this week, word is that he has some kind of wrist injury. If Alonso is unable to go at full strength on Saturday—and wouldn't it make some sense to save him for the Nov. 3 showdown with you-know-who?—Dion Jordan will need to pick up some of the tackling slack.

    Jordan's early play in several games this season has often set the tone for the entire game. I see his impact being more important than ever this week.

Key Player For Colorado

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    The Ducks will score points this weekend. That is as sure to happen as Nick Saban whining about something on Saturday.

    So that means that Jordan Webb and the Buffs will need to score some points too, making the junior QB the key player for Colorado. Webb will also need to maintain his poise in where-great-teams-come-to-die-Autzen Stadium.

    If Webb can stay cool and calm, and show leadership to his beleaguered team, especially in the first quarter, the Buffs have a chance to stay respectable. If Webb panics like so many other Pac-12 QBs have done against the Ducks this season (Keith Price, Matt Scott and Taylor Kelly, to name names), this game will be over before it begins.

Oregon Will Win If...

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    ...they don't miss the bus to the stadium. Seriously.

    I can't see a way that the Ducks lose this game. I suppose if Marcus Mariota, Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas fumble away the ball regularly, receivers drop every pass or the defense falls asleep in the middle of plays, it could happen.

    Or if the NCAA, after its millennium-long investigation, rules on Sunday that the Ducks must forfeit every game this season.

    Since Chip Kelly's arrival, the Ducks are 35-4 at Autzen, averaging 46.8 points per home game. You have to like their chances against Colorado.

    Barring any of the above things happening, the Ducks win this one. 

Colorado Will Win If...

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    ...there is a plague and a swarm of locusts on the University of Oregon campus this week.

    Or, if Jordan Webb has the game of his lifetime, and the Buffs can move the ball and keep the Oregon offense off the field. That would have to be accompanied by the Ducks snoozing through it until it's too late.

    Otherwise, it's not going to happen, folks.


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    Oregon fans may be looking past Colorado, but I doubt if the team or coaching staff is. This Oregon team is singularly motivated, and these players understand how their performance counts each and every time they take the field.

    The Ducks are on a mission and they aren't about to let the Buffs slow them down.

    PREDICTION: Oregon 53 - Colorado 7