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Oregon Football

Keys to the Game: Offense

November 20, 2020

So far this year on offense, Oregon has been a tale of two halves.

In the first half, the Ducks average 14 points; in the second, they’re averaging 25. UCLA has had a couple of big games offensively, so Oregon must be efficient on offense Saturday it it wants to win at Autzen Stadium.

Here are my three keys to the game, offensively.

Start out hot

Oregon has scored two first-half touchdowns in both games, but the Ducks also left a lot on the table. If it weren’t for a last-minute, 57-yard completion to Jaylon Redd, Oregon would’ve been down 12 points at halftime in Pullman.

The offense hit the gas after intermission both games, but that might be too late against this Chip Kelly team. UCLA averages 41 points a game, so Oregon may be forced to have a good day offensively to win.

Limit turnovers

Oregon has 5 turnovers on the year -- 3 fumbles and 2 Tyler Shough interceptions. Compounding the problem, the defense have yet to force a turnover, putting their turnover margin at a woeful minus-5.

That's uncharacteristic of the Ducks. Oregon was fifth nationally in turnover margin last year, finishing at plus-16.

Typically, teams with that many giveaways wouldn’t be 2-0. Thankfully for Oregon, the defense stepped up after a turnovers to limit the damage, and the offense responded.

However, Oregon simply must protect the football better on offense. You can’t keep losing that battle and expect to win every game.

Use the backs in the passing game

Last week against Washington State, Oregon succeeded when sending the running backs out on passing plays. Travis Dye had 2 catches for 87 yards and 2 touchdowns, and CJ Verdell had 5 catches for 36 yards.

Both backs can pick up serious yards after the catch, as when Dye exploited coverage by a Cougar defensive end to score a 71-yard touchdown on a wheel route. This offense has taken serious strides forward under Joe Moorhead, who can scheme guys open and exploit mismatches.

I would Moorhead to do more of the same in this game.

Tags: Football, Oregon
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