When the Ducks face off against the Missouri State Bears Saturday, fans may be in store for the most lopsided game in the history of Oregon Ducks’ football.
Many are projecting the Ducks to put up points in the seventies, or even eighties against the Bears, and the stands may very well be half empty by the end of the third quarter.
The temperature will undoubtedly be much less grueling than it was against Nevada (reaching 104 degrees on the field), but a route of this magnitude will see the bench players early as the end of the first quarter, maybe.
With so many of Oregon’s starting unit seeing the bench for the majority of the game, here are the players who may end up as the MVPs for their unit.
Prediction: De’Anthony Thomas
I went with De’Anthony Thomas last week and was not disappointed. Thomas was the leading receiver and rusher for the Ducks Saturday with 81 yards on eight carries and two catches for 92 yards, both of which went for touchdowns.
With LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner (still battling injuries) sitting out the majority of the game for rest, Thomas should again be the primary weapon on offense.
Sleeper Pick: Bryan Bennett
To be quite honest, I was slightly disappointed with Bennett’s performance against the Wolfpack last Saturday. Through the air, Bennett only completed 2 of 7 passes for 36 yards.
In Bennett’s defense, it was his first time ever seeing collegiate action, and he was playing with the likes of Will Murphy and Ben Butterfield as his receivers. With Bennett (probably playing more snaps than Darron Thomas) seeing the field so much this Saturday, he could very well be the MVP.
Prediction: Boseko Lokombo
Lokombo got his first career interception as a Duck last week and he sure made the most of it. With less than a minute in the game, Lokombo picked off Nevada’s Cody Fajardo and brought it 67 yards for the touchdown. Lokombo will see a lot of time at linebacker with starters Dewitt Stuckey, Josh Kaddu and Michael Clay sitting most of the game.
Sleeper Pick: Troy Hill
Here’s another guy who got his first career interception in college football. Hill, one of Oregon’s bright young defensive backs, intercepted a Nevada pass and returned it 45 yards for a near score. Hill is one of the Ducks’ primary reserve corners, and he will see extensive playing time.
Prediction: Cliff Harris
We got to see Harris for the first time Saturday after it was reported that head coach Chip Kelly had reinstated the dynamic corner. Harris did not play on special teams and only saw limited time on defense. Now back and ready to go, Harris has a lot to prove. If Harris wants to keep hold of the “best punt returner in the country” title, he should bring one back to the house against the Bears.
Sleeper Pick: Rob Beard
It’s still uncertain the exact prognosis of Beard’s injury or a timetable for his return to action, but I do expect that the Ducks’ kicker will see the field quite a few times Saturday. Not for field goals, but extra points.