Game of the Week: No. 19 Oregon at No. 17 Oregon State
Of course, Oregon could leave much of that up in the air with a victory. The Ducks still have an outside shot at the Pac-10 crown -- needing a win versus the Beavers, along with a USC loss to UCLA on Dec. 6 -- and Oregon beating Oregon State could vault Ohio State, 10th in the BCS standings, into an at-large bid.
The last Civil War that had this much riding on it had
During the Pac-10 coaches teleconference earlier this week, coach
Last week, the Beavers kept their Pac-10 dreams alive without Jacquizz Rodgers -- and starting quarterback
If Jacquizz can't go, expect to see more of those fly sweeps. Oregon is readying the Pac-10's third-ranked rushing defense, having receivers
The ability to establish the ground game has been the determining factor for the Ducks: in nine victories, they're averaging 295.7 yards per game, compared to 143.5 in two losses. In this matchup, it's imperative that Oregon gets the run game humming early. The Ducks rank dead last nationally in time of possession (24:56), while few teams have been better than Oregon State, which is eighth (32:21).
But running against the Beavers has been easier said than done. Oregon State has allowed 87 yards per game in its last nine games, including 86 against a USC running game that's every bit as dynamic as the Ducks'.
"This is a zone running team. They utilize a lot of different misdirections in the way they'll seal the backsides; we saw some of that in the USC game, where you'll see, whether there's eight coming in, they'll seal even if [they use] a wide receiver. They change that up a lot. They challenge the linebacker fits, all your run fits, your play entry.
"They have a lot of speed on the football team with the two Rodgers kids. Their running back [Jacquizz] has real good vision, so he can find any little creases. This guy has some squareness and some thickness to him and he can go low and keep his pads down to push through and get three or four extra yards and he can find some small creases. That's the vision of the good, smaller size runners like a
"[James Rodgers] is a little bit more of a hybrid. He's a running back/receiver/reverse guy. He can do everything, but they like to get him the ball on the move and he's very productive. These guys block for each other and there's a little bit of an unselfishness quality going on there. With Stroughter, they have a lot of weapons, but [the Rodgers brothers] really make that thing go.
"The one thing is that you have to stop their inside run. You have to take care of the perimeter. These guys, [use] fly motion. What that motion is, is you get all ready to go and some guy starts sprinting toward the line and they'll either double back behind the play or go right in front of the quarterback and that flashes in front of the defenses and that speed attracts the defenders. They have that going and their quarterback does a nice job, and if you gang up on that, they have some nice vertical routes that they'll go to. They'll try to stop you dead with deep crossers."