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THE X-FACTOR

Dec. 29, 2014
Dec. 29, 2014

Table of Contents
Dec. 29, 2014

INBOX
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PREVIEW
NFL
HOCKEY
  • BU center Jack Eichel has the speed, skills and temperament to become a top draft pick and change an NHL franchise for years to come. But first the 18-year-old would like to finish his freshman year of college

SOCCER
  • F√∫tbol fever reached an alltime high in the U.S. during the World Cup this summer. So, where to from here? The answer will depend a lot on three newbies

SPORTS SCIENCE
The Lives They Led
PRO FOOTBALL
POINT AFTER
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THE X-FACTOR

A MAINSTAY WHOSE RETURN SHORED UP A LEAKY LINE FACES HIS BIGGEST CHALLENGE

JAKE FISHER, Senior, LT

This is an article from the Dec. 29, 2014 issue

Fisher was supposed to play right tackle this year, but junior Tyler Johnstone's preseason knee injury forced the 6'6", 300-pound Fisher to move to Marcus Mariota's blind side. After helping the Ducks to wins against South Dakota and Michigan State, Fisher sprained his left medial collateral ligament against Wyoming, and suddenly, Oregon's line couldn't protect Mariota. The Heisman Trophy winner was sacked seven times in a 38--31 win at Washington State and dropped another five times in his team's only loss, 31--24 to Arizona, the following week. The Ducks didn't become an offense that could steamroll Pac-12 defenses until Fisher returned against UCLA, and a unit that had given up 14 sacks has allowed only 13 over its last eight games. Against Florida State, Fisher will face his toughest challenge of the season. Seminoles junior defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. is 6'3", 294 pounds and explosive enough to execute a standing backflip. In the BCS title game last year, Edwards dominated Auburn's Greg Robinson, who would become the second pick in the 2014 NFL draft. Fisher steadied the Ducks for the final stretch of the season, but now he'll have to contain a player who's probably the fastest and most athletic opponent he has faced so far. How Fisher performs could dictate the outcome of the Rose Bowl.

PHOTORICK BOWMER/AP