Oregon vs. Colorado: Lesser-Known Players Who Will Shine in Lopsided Matchup

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 4, 2013

Aug 31, 2013; Eugene, OR, USA Oregon Ducks running back Byron Marshall (9) runs the ball against the Nicholls State Colonels at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports
Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

While it is never easy to win on the road in college football, fans should not expect a close game between Oregon and Colorado.

According to Vegas Insider, the Ducks are 39.5-point favorites in this matchup. Considering last year's contest ended 70-14, that spread might be a dream scenario for the Buffaloes. Colorado should fight hard, but it is tough to imagine any real chance of an upset.

As a result, Oregon will get a chance to work on some things and see what some less active players can do in this potential blowout. While Marcus Mariota will likely still have a huge day, fans should keep an eye on these guys as well. 


Byron Marshall, RB

Sep 28, 2013; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) hands the ball off to Oregon Ducks running back Byron Marshall (9) at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports
Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

According to the Associated Press (h/t USA Today), starting running back De'Anthony Thomas is unlikely to play on Saturday after suffering an ankle injury in the last game. This gives Byron Marshall an opportunity to remain in the spotlight.

The sophomore had a huge game with Thomas out last game against California, totaling 130 rushing yards and two touchdowns. That was a career high for the running back, and it came on a rainy day when the rest of the offense was struggling.

He will need to have another strong performance in this matchup to help keep balance offensively. But it will not be easy against a unit that ranks 10th in the nation in opposing rushing yards per game.

Of course, the Buffaloes have not faced a rushing attack anywhere near as good as Oregon's, so Marshall can expect a big day on Saturday.


Troy Hill, CB/KR

EUGENE, OR - AUGUST 31:  Wide receiver Erik Buchanan #2 of the Nicholls State Colonels pulls in a long throw in the third quarter as corner back Troy Hill #13 of the Oregon Ducks is about to stop him on August 31, 2013 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.
Christopher Barth/Getty Images

Not only will Thomas need to be replaced on offense, but he is a key part of special teams as well. This is where Troy Hill will look to take over after earning the job in practice, per Rob Moseley of GoDucks.com.

The cornerback has tons of speed, and he has the agility to have some big returns to put the offense in good shape. The only thing he lacks is experience, which could cause some misreads while speeding up the field.

Of course, the young player still has a decent shot of making a game-changing play in special teams in this matchup. 


Erick Dargan, S

Sep 28, 2013; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks safety Erick Dargan (4) before the game against the California Golden Bears at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports
Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon is known for its offense, but it might also have the best defensive secondary in the nation. On any other team, Erick Dargan would be a star, but he is overshadowed by Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Terrance Mitchell Jr. and a few others.

Still, the junior has played in every game this season and currently leads the team with four pass defenses. He also has 14 tackles in that time.

Colorado has struggled mightily while trying to run the ball to the tune of 3.3 yards per carry. As a result, the squad will rely heavily on Connor Wood in the passing attack.

Dargan's skill in coverage will keep him on the field a lot in this game, and it would not be surprising to see him get his hands on the ball a few times. Wood has thrown four interceptions in the last two games, and the safety has a better-than-average chance of earning one himself in this game.


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