Oregon vs. Stanford: What Stanford Needs to Do to Win
The Stanford Cardinal will be hosting the Oregon Ducks on Saturday, in a game that has a number of BCS bowl implications.
Stanford, currently ranked fourth in the BCS, will be looking to keep their undefeated season intact. The Cardinal are currently 9-0.
The Oregon Ducks, currently ranked seventh in the BCS, will be looking to assert their Pac-12 North dominance and prove that they are still the best team in the conference.
If Stanford want to win, then they are going to have to make sure that they do the following on Saturday.
The first thing that Stanford has to do to win this game is limit their number of turnovers. If Stanford does not protect the ball they are going to have a lot of trouble on Saturday.
The Oregon Ducks are a team that win with their speed. They out hustle and out play their opponents using their wealth of stamina and fitness.
If Stanford loses the ball and gives the Oregon offense more chances than they deserve, there is no way that the Cardinal will come out with a win.
The first thing that Stanford must do is limit the number of turnovers, which in turn will limit the time that the Oregon offense will have on the field.
Control the Time of Possession
This is a battle that will call upon both the Stanford defense and the Stanford offense.
When in possession of the ball, the Stanford offense should make sure to control the game with long drives that eat up the clock.
The more the Stanford offense has the ball, the less the Oregon offense does. Keeping the Ducks' offense on the sidelines will kill their energy and influence on the game.
Once the Oregon offense does get on the field, the Cardinal defense needs to shut them down. Three and out drives are exactly what the Oregon Ducks do not want to have.
If the Stanford defense allows Oregon to get into a rhythm, it's going to be very difficult to stop the Ducks from scoring.
Limiting the number of Oregon first downs will be crucial to the outcome of the game on Saturday.
If Stanford can keep the ball and keep the Oregon offense on the sidelines, then the Cardinal will have a great chance of winning this game.
Protect Andrew Luck
The Stanford offensive line is going to have quite a task on their hands. They're going to be facing the best defense they've faced all year.
The speed of the Oregon Ducks is what makes them such a great team. Andrew Luck is a quarterback that drops back and passes out of the pocket.
In order for Luck to have a good game on Saturday, the Stanford line needs to provide Andrew Luck with the time that he needs in order to lead his team to a victory.
It is no secret that the key to the success of Stanford has been having Andrew Luck at quarterback. This is not to say that there aren't other talented players at Stanford, but Andrew Luck is the main man.
If Andrew Luck doesn't have a good game on Saturday, then it is very difficult to imagine Stanford coming out with a victory.
Contain LaMichael James
LaMichael James has been terrific for the Oregon Ducks. He is one of the best running backs in the league, and he provides his team with a running threat that would scare any defense in the country.
James is going to have big plays. That's just a reality of the situation. He is a running back that makes big plays, and picks up big gains.
But if the Stanford defense can limit the number of these big plays, then they are going to have a much easier time winning this football game.
The Cardinal defense has been great this season. They have not given up a lot of points to their opponents on most occasions.
Oregon are an explosive team, and the fuse that gets this explosive team going is LaMichael James.
If they take away the Oregon Ducks' main spark, then they are making their jobs on defense much easier.
Come out Firing
Stanford has to explode out of the gate in this game. If they want to win, they have to come out firing and play defense that is going to kill the energy of Oregon.
If they let Oregon come into the game and control it, Stanford is not going to win this football game.
Stanford needs to shut Oregon down early, so the Ducks' offense loses its energy. Oregon brings a high level of adrenaline and energy into every game.
Stanford needs to kill this energy. Early three and outs will go a long way in keeping the Ducks off the scoreboard later on in the game.
If the Cardinal defense can kill the Ducks momentum, then they should have a much easier time in the later parts of the game.
Play the Full Sixty Minutes
This isn't the first time in this slideshow that I've mentioned the explosiveness of the Oregon offense. The Ducks like to move quickly and out hustle their opponents.
If Stanford find themselves ahead at halftime they have to remember the the game is not over.
The explosive nature of Oregon enables them to score an abundance of points in a very quick succession. If Stanford becomes complacent with their lead, then they will orchestrate their own demise.
Stanford needs to play at the highest level they're capable of for a full 60 minutes. Not 59 minutes, 60 minutes.
The Cardinal cannot stop fighting. If they do, the Oregon Ducks are going to punish them deeply.
If Stanford fights throughout the entirety of the game, then they should be able to come out with a victory.