Another November Flop?

The sun was shining last Saturday down on the farm in Palo Alto, and so was Andrew Luck and Toby Gerhart. The Ducks iron grip on the Pac-10 has grown slightly weaker after the loss to Stanford and Duck fans have to wonder if this loss was the beginning of a late-season collapse common among Duck teams in the last decade.

Reposted with permission from Bleacher Report

What we do know is that the Ducks played the bottom half of the Pac-10 early in the year, and after USC's sluggish performance against Arizona State last Saturday, there is no guarantee that even they were a great test for the Duck defense.

Arizona State certainly doesn't expect to be an offensive juggernaut this weekend but both Arizona and Oregon State will bring potent offenses to their matchups with the Ducks.

Why did the Ducks lose to Stanford? Among other things, the Cardinal played a perfect football game. They controlled the line of scrimmage without committing a single holding penalty and amassed only three penalties.

If you look at the box score though, it was a typical Duck box score for the offense, and take away some yards and points, it was the same as usual for the defense too. The Ducks outgained Stanford, were just under fifty percent on third down, (Stanford only 4-11) and rushed for seven yards a play.

Give Stanford all the credit in the world, they deserved the victory and are one heck of a football team.

Out of the three remaining games, the Ducks will face the second and fourth place teams in the conference. Arizona quarterback Nick Foles has been a star throughout the season and Oregon State quarterback Sean Canfield has managed games well while letting the Rodgers brothers take care of business.

Duck fans should remain confident in their defense because of the lack of big, pounding running backs left on the schedule. The Duck defense is small, and a big running back creates problems for them. No remaining team on the schedule has a starting running back that is more than 5'8" 218 pounds (ASU's Dimitri Nance).

While Nick Foles is an efficient passer, his wide receivers are not that tall will not pose as big a threat as Stanford's Chris Owusu or USC's Damian Williams and Ronald Johnson.

You have to be concerned though if you consider that the Duck defense gave Stanford whatever they wanted. It all comes back to getting pressure on the quarterback, which the Ducks did not do last Saturday.

The character of this Oregon team will be challenged down the stretch. There will be a great reward at the end of the season if they step up and take care of business. There are many reasons to believe that the Ducks will go to the Rose Bowl.

One game really didn't change those perceptions because Stanford is a good football team, and they played a virtually perfect game. Oregon's chances are dependent on the continued success of the offense, and a stout pass rush.

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