Stanford vs. Oregon: Ducks Will Run Away with Pac-12 Showdown

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistNovember 16, 2012

BERKELEY, CA - NOVEMBER 10:  Quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 of the Oregon Ducks scrambles with the ball against the California Golden Bears in the second quarter of an NCAA College football game at California Memorial Stadium on November 10, 2012 in Berkeley, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The No. 2 Oregon Ducks (10-0) might lose a game this season, but it won't be at home to the No. 13 Stanford Cardinal (8-2).

As good as Stanford's defense is, Oregon's offense is better.

If Stanford focuses on not being beat over the top and drops multiple defenders back into coverage, the Ducks' RB tandem of Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas will have more than enough room to run all over the field.

If Stanford focuses on taking away Oregon's option and screen plays—meaning that the defense is cheating to the outside—Marcus Mariota will use play action to go right down the middle of the field, something he's becoming increasingly adept at.

Over their past two games, Mariota has gone down the middle of the field to WR Josh Huff and TE Colt Lyerla on 15 occasions for 205 yards and seven touchdowns.

While Oregon's defense leaves plenty to be desired, Stanford QB Kevin Hogan is making only his second career start. 

He'll need to play a nearly perfect game for the Cardinal to have any chance of hanging with the Ducks offense. He made multiple errors against Oregon State last week, a game that saw him throw three touchdown passes but two interceptions as well.

Turnovers will kill the Cardinal in this game, as Oregon's offense thrives on short fields and beating up on defenses that haven't had ample time to rest.

Stanford doesn't have the weapons on the outside to stretch the field, and while Stepfan Taylor is an outstanding running back, he can't do it all by himself.

Hogan's inexperience, coupled with Oregon's explosiveness, will simply be too much for Stanford to overcome.

Oregon will take advantage of some early miscues by Hogan and run away with this one, 45-21.