Game Day: No Wade Tonight
This story originally published on eDuck.com

eDuck Sports
Posted Nov 17, 2012


All week long you've heard that the depleted state of Oregon's defense is going to be a factor as the Ducks go after their 11th win of the year and one step closer to securing the Northern division bid and home field advantage in the conference championship game.

Notice, I didn't mention the BCS Championship game?

No, that's still too far off. The Ducks are playing Stanford on Saturday, and for Chip Kelly and his team, this Saturday's game has all the attention. While observers and fans worry about all sorts of things, Kelly and the Ducks work at one thing -- beating Stanford.

Kelly during his weekly media conference didn't much talk about Oregon's health on the defensive side. Oregon's policy is not to discuss injuries. However Kelly was complimentary of Stanford, but made it clear he doesn't care how the Ducks get points.

"They’ve got some kids that we’ve played a lot of football against, so we understand them: [Ben] Gardner, [Terrence] Stephens, then [Trent] Murphy, Chase Thomas on the edge and Shayne Skov in the middle; guys that have been around a long time," remarked Kelly. "They (Stanford) have very good knowledge of their scheme and they play hard. In terms of our performance against Cal, we’re about end results. I don’t care if we run it, I don’t care if we throw it. If you’re going to let us throw for 377 and six touchdowns, we’ll take that every week."

Kelly's team leads the league in scoring and third in scoring defense (54.8 points per game and 22.3 ppg). The Duck running game averages 325.1 ypg and 40 TDs. Oregon's quarterback, Marcus Mariota is conference 's most efficient passer (177.0 rating) throwing 251 times with 180 completions, tossing for 28 touchdowns and only five interceptions. So, Kelly has reasons not to be concerned how the Ducks score, because they have scored so many ways.

About the only way the Ducks don't score often is by kicking field goals. Oregon is 11th in the conference with nine field goal attempts being successful only five times.

Stanford of course is the conference's best defense statistically allowing 17.2 points per game and 320.7 ypg of total offense. Oregon is the conference leader in total offense at 526.6 ypg.

The Cardinal is the conference's No. 6 scoring team at 29.1 ppg and are the Pac-12 sack leaders with a total of 43 sacks.

Stanford's David Shaw though thinks that in order for his team to have a shot at beating the Ducks, the Cardinal must have its best game.

"The one team in the nation that has played their best, every single game," Shaw said of the Ducks. "My talk to our guys is that you have to match up."

So that seems to be what this games comes down to, Stanford wanting to play its best game of the season and the Ducks wanting to score any way they can.

And Oregon's defensive health? Well, like the BCS Championship game, that is something the Ducks just doesn't talk about.

(Wade Evanson is on the road this week but will be back soon.)


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