Utah not to be taken for granted by Ducks

With so much at stake, Oregon can not afford to overlook a tough Utah squad.

With Stanford in the rear view, Oregon turns to face a new challenger in the Pac-12 conference race in the Utah Utes. Going on the road to face them, Oregon is going to be tasked with facing another defense whose prowess frequently overshadows its offense. The Ducks struggled at times on offense against Utah last season and offensive coordinator Scott Frost feels that Utah may be one of the stiffest tests the offense will face all season.

“These guys play as hard as anybody we have played. We’ve played some of the most elite defenses in the country in my opinion and these guys are probably near the top of that list. They’re a really good team,” said Frost.

While Oregon dominated Utah on the scoreboard last season to a tune of 44-21, a hobbled Marcus Mariota and the Oregon run game was only able to muster 145 yards against the Utes which was less than half of their season average. For the Utes, their offense starts and stops with Davonte Booker. Booker has been what makes the Utah offense go, and the hard-nosed runner is certainly garnering the attention of the Oregon defense.

“He runs downhill. You have to throw a lot of bodies at him to get him to go down. He’s hard to tackle and runs very hard so we have to throw as many people at him as we can,” said Arik Armstead.

Armstead had a brace on his injured ankle but was in full pads and cleats after practice. Armstead says he is going to play this week.

Many have labelled this game as a potential trap game. It’s not unreasonable for many to think that Oregon’s attention may not be at 100%, especially after climbing Mt. Stanford. However, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu isn’t concerned with the defense’s focus and mental sharpness.

“We’re going to need to play a great game on defense and win the game on defense. You have to work harder than you did last week. That’s the only way. Mentally, you have to switch gears from one opponent to another, and I think we did that,” said Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.

“We’ve got to remain focused,” said Armstead.

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