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Oregon Football

Gameday: Week in review

January 1, 2021

After waiting for months on end for a season to begin, only to have it initially cancelled, we’ve made it to the final game of Oregon’s 2020-21 season. The No. 25 Ducks (4-2), who arrived in Glendale on Thursday afternoon, have spent about two weeks preparing for their strongest opponent to date: the No. 10 Iowa State Cyclones (8-3).  

Here is what we learned this week and what you need to know ahead of game’s 1 p.m. (PST) broadcast on ESPN. 

Uniforms announced 

The Ducks will be rocking white jerseys, green gloves, yellow pants, cleats and lids. What do you think of these uniforms? 

Latest on injuries and availability 

Mario Cristobal said Friday morning that CJ Verdell, Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, Adrian Jackson and Dontae Manning all traveled with the team to Arizona. Cristobal did not offer details on their availability, but said he is “hopeful” that they will contribute. 

“It’ll be a game-time decision, maybe a little bit before that,” he said. “We do feel like they have a chance to play.” 

Cristobal also added that the quartet has been practicing all week. Verdell did not play in the Pac-12 Championship Game.  

Keys to the game (Via Jacob Archer

With the offense suddenly struggling in key situations, Joe Moorhead will need to keep his guys on the field and extend drives, especially by converting on third downs. 

One way the offense can help itself out is by generating some explosive runs. There hasn’t been a run of 20 or more yards in the last two games, and success in the running game helps keep the defense guessing. 

Another benefit to explosive runs is how they open up more of the playbook and take pressure off the quarterback. Whoever is taking snaps will need to be consistent and make smart decisions. 

And as is so often the case, this game could easily go to the team that has fewer turnovers.  

On the defensive side of the ball, Oregon most slow down all-American Breece Hall and limit explosive runs. The front seven will need to get after quarterback Brock Purdy, who hasn’t exactly been unflappable this year and is prone to turnovers. 

Jamal Hill had a breakout game against USC. His safety group will need to feed off that momentum, stay disciplined, avoid blown coverages and step up to lay the wood in run support.  

What we learned this week 

Moorhead has been preparing to face the Clones’ variant of the 3-3-5 defense. Fortunately for Oregon, Moorhead has faced that odd-stock scheme during his tenures at Fordham and Akron.  

Moorhead give no indication that Tyler Shough would not start. However, many expect to see Anthony Brown used situationally, as he was against USC.  

Andy Avalos has his hands full trying to contain Hall. No. 28 for Iowa State is approaching 1,500 rushing yards on the year and has added 19 rushing touchdowns. 

Oregon’s defensive coordinator emphasized the importance of winning one-on-one battles in the trenches against ISU’s stout offensive line.  

ScoopDuck bold predictions 

I’m doubling down on Oregon’s defense to show up against the Cyclones. I predicted the unit to log 3 sacks and force 1 turnover in this New Year’s 6 bowl. 

You can read what the rest of our staff thinks will unfold here.  

ScoopDuck score predictions  

The Ducks have played two games in the last four weeks. On one hand, that gives your team time to rest and get healthy. On the other, you don’t want the players to lose their edge and the juice they’ve been playing with. 

I think the Ducks’ defense, led by such players as Kayvon Thibodeaux and Mykael Wright, will show up when it matters and lead Oregon to a close win, 23-20. You can read the rest of our predictions here

Tags: Football, Oregon
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