Oregon will face TCU in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Saturday.

The Oregon Ducks have been in San Antonio, Texas since the day after Christmas and tonight they will take in an NBA game, courtesy of the Valero Alamo Bowl. The San Antonio Spurs will face the Minnesota Timberwolves in a game set for tipoff at 7:30 p.m. Central.

Today, Oregon conducted its first full pad practice since leaving Eugene prior to the Christmas break. According to the University of Oregon Athletic Department’s official blog, coach Mark Helfrich was especially pleased with the defensive performance in practice.

“Defensively, nice job,” Helfrich said as quoted in the blog entry. “Shutout. Dominated the offense. Whatever you guys did last night, keep doing it.”

Clearly, the emphasis on defense has increased particularly with the less than stellar performance the Ducks had in the second half of the Oregon State game.

Oregon will need a good defensive effort as they are facing a potent TCU offense that averages 41.7 points per game, 564.3 yards per game, but also has a decent defense to go along with the bigtime offense. The Horned Frogs were third in the Big-12 Conference in scoring defense at 26.1 ppg and 396.7 ypg.

TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin is second in the Big-12 in passing at 325.0 ypg, with 31 touchdowns to 10 interceptions for the year. Boykin is also a running threat having rushed for 612 yards for the year, crossing the goal line nine times.

Oregon’s defensive effort may have become a bit easier as TCU Josh Doctson and his 132.7 ypg receiving average will not be on the field next Saturday night as he will be sidelined with a wrist injury. However, converted running back Shaun Nixon (23 catches, 253 yards and one TD), Emanuel Porter (12/154/1) and Jarrison Stewart (6/54/1) have an opportunity for playing time and a chance to excel.

TCU’s primary running back is Aaron Green, who rushed for 1,171 yards and 10 TDs this season.

The Horned Frogs arrived at the team hotel in San Antonio today by bus from Fort Worth. TCU will be the guests at the Spurs-Suns game on Wednesday evening.

The Valero Alamo Bowl will be played on Saturday at the Alamodome with kickoff scheduled for 3:45 p.m. Pacific and will be carried on ESPN.

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