The Oregon Ducks were just three points shy of the Auburn Tigers when the final whistle blew in the National Championship game last season.
This season, the Ducks lost their opening game to the now No. 1 LSU Tigers. Other than their two losses to Tigers, Oregon has won its last 15 games.
Well, the next opponent for the Ducks are no Tigers; just the Golden Bears of the University of California. Oregon hasn’t suffered a loss to California since 2008. In fact, in 2009, the Ducks absolutely demolished the Golden Bears 42-3.
Last season, the Ducks edged out the Golden Bears 15-13 in the closest game of their undefeated regular season. The 15 points scored by the Ducks was their lowest in the regular season by 22 points, as they averaged 57.6 points per game.
The Ducks lucked out when Cal kicker Giorgio Tavecchio took an illegal step on a short field goal and then proceeded to miss a 29-yard attempt.
Even after only scoring 27 points against LSU, the Ducks still lead the nation in scoring with 52 points per game. They’ve scored 56 points in their previous two games and held their opponents to only 38.
However, 31 of those points came from Arizona, who only has one win thus far this season. The Ducks defense needs to play better than that potent pass offense of the Golden Bears.
LaMichael James will look to gain more than the season-low 91 yards he did last year against California. He’s averaging over 150 yards per game on the ground after only gaining 54 yards against the Tigers.
Darron Thomas is having a spectacular season, throwing 12 TDs with only one INT. Even if California puts up 30 points against Oregon, the Golden Bears will still lose by more than 20.
This will be another small step for the Ducks, as they try to stay strong and allow the teams above them to fall like dogs so they get another shot at the National Championship.
Their biggest challenge will likely come against Stanford on Nov. 12. If both teams make it there without another loss, the Ducks will be trying to kill the championship hopes of the Cardinals while keeping theirs alive.