Oregon all-purpose back De'Anthony Thomas was asked about the difference between this year's team and last year's, and after saying he thinks the 2013 version is better, he made a bold prediction (of sorts) about Thursday's pivotal showdown at Stanford.
Here's the video from GoDucks.com (via College Spun), where Thomas opined that Oregon should put up 40 points on the Cardinal—despite scoring only 14 at home last season:
On the surface, Thomas' confidence seems justified. Oregon is second in the country in scoring offense, averaging 55.6 points per game, and hasn't scored less than 40 in a game all season.
But as David Lombardi of The Bootleg points out, Thomas might want to re-check last year's numbers before making such bold declarations:
Re: the De'Anthony Thomas trash talk, Oregon's 2012 offensive outputs: 57, 42, 63, 49, 51, 52, 43, 70, 62, 48. Against Stanford: 14.— David Lombardi (@DavidMLombardi) November 4, 2013
The Stanford defense is a little beat-up right now—most notably missing DE/OLB Ben Gardner, one of the conference's best defenders—but the Cardinal are loaded with depth and should still be able to operate at a high level on Thursday.
Heisman frontrunner Marcus Mariota will be crucial in trying to solve the Cardinal defense, which gave him fits as a redshirt freshman last season. His growth from 2012 to 2013 has been remarkable, but this will be the biggest test of how far he's come.
According to Football Outsiders' F/+ ratings, Stanford had the No. 2 defense in America after Week 9, the last time the numbers were updated.
After Virginia Tech, the previous No. 1, got shredded by Boston College on Saturday, it's likely the newest numbers will rank Stanford's defense as the best in the country.
But good luck scoring 40, De'Anthony.
(Seriously. High-scoring games are more fun. Good luck!)