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Oregon Football

Keys to the Game: Offense

November 25, 2020

For the first time this season, Oregon struggled to run the ball last week. Now, it faces an Oregon State defense that has been susceptible to both the run AND the pass.

After being a bit pass-heavy against UCLA, the Ducks will look to return to a more balanced attack against the Beavers. Here are my three keys for Oregon to have a big day on offense.

Re-establish the run

UCLA stacked the box on Saturday, and Oregon struggled. The Ducks finished with just 88 yards, their lowest total this season, and the gains they did make were reduced by 4 sacks.

In a press conference earlier this week, offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead mentioned how the running game will be a big focal point in practice. Oregon averaged just 2.67 yards per carry against the Bruins, almost 5 yards below its average and highly atypical for this team under Mario Cristobal.

To get back on track, Oregon must control the line of scrimmage, of course. But Oregon State has a strong linebacker group that has done a good job at stopping the run at the second level.

Oregon's offensive line needs to create space for the backs to operate and then neutralize the linebackers. If they’re able to do so, given the Beavers' limitations defensively, the Ducks could have a massive day on the ground.

Third-down efficiency

Through two games, Oregon had been among the nation's leaders in converting third downs. Last week, they were successful on just 3 of their 11 attempts.

Luckily, the Ducks had a lot of success moving the ball on early downs and were able to keep the offense moving. However, converting on 30% of third downs is not going to get the job done every week.

Before Saturday, Oregon had been 16-of-22 on third downs -- an insanely high rate for any team. A return to that level of success may not be possible, but the Ducks need to do better in Corvallis.

Explosive passing plays

Oregon has done a tremendous job of creating explosion plays. Last week, the Ducks had 6 passes go for 20 yards or more, which set up some easy scoring opportunities.

Getting a 20-yard-plus catch greatly increases your chances on any drive. Veterans like Johnny Johnson and Jaylon Redd and the emergence of Devon Williams and multiple tight ends allow Moorhead to call plays that absolutely gash the defense.

Travis Dye also has a handful of explosive plays in the passing game, gaining a shoutout Tuesday on CBS Sports Network's “Inside College Football” for his three receiving touchdowns. Oregon State has been vulnerable in the secondary, and Oregon must exploit it.

Tags: Football, Oregon
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