Buckeyes Welcome Oregon for Top 15 Matchup by Billy Beebe
Both Ohio State and Oregon walked away from their first games satisfied with a win, but concerned with the final score. Ohio State trailed Minnesota twice and needed all seven scores to pull out a late victory. Oregon spoiled a 21-3 lead and needed a late touchdown to pull out a 31-24 win over unranked Fresno State. The newest AP Poll moved the Buckeyes up to #3 in the nation and kept Oregon steady at #11, setting the stage for a top 15 matchup in Columbus this Saturday. Here’s what to expect from these two teams in their first meeting since the 2015 National Title game.
The best way to describe the 2021 Oregon Ducks is flash. On both on offense and defense, it’s all about the big play. The Ducks are everything that make college football fun, but cause teams to lose shockingly .
The keys to the offense is in the hands of Boston College transfer, Anthony Brown. With quick feet and a big arm, the flow of the offense starts with Brown. Week one saw the senior go 15/24 for 172 yards and a touchdown passing with 56 yards and a touchdown rushing on 16 carries. The run game worked as a unit with CJ Verdell going 74 yards on 18 carries with a touchdown and Troy Dye adding 13 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown. The receiving featured a little bit of everyone, with eight players being credited with receptions. Despite the spreading of the ball, the Ducks were lead by Johnny Johnson the III’S stat line of three catches for 75 yards a touchdown. When Oregon went big, they scored big. Brown had a thirty-yard run for the game sealing touchdown, Johnson III reeled in a 32-yard touchdown pass, and the other two touchdowns came off of Fresno State Fumbles.
Like any team with flash, Oregon’s main source of defense is getting after the quarterback. Kayvon Thibodeaux has earned his top pick projection as the leader of this explosive defensive line. Despite a foot injury holding him back, Thibodeaux helped his team get on the board with an early first quarter strip sack. Linebacker Noah Sewell did the same the drive after and Ducks totaled four sacks on the day. The defense is simply an all day headache for quarterbacks who are pressured start to finish.
Ohio State passed their first challenge in Minnesota, getting all the nerves out. Now, the Buckeyes face an Oregon team with a similar number of top athletes, good coaching, and some program success.
Offensively, all eyes fall back on C.J. Stroud. If the freshman felt Minnesota brought pressure, a Saturday against Oregon may cause the Big Ten Freshman of the Week to revert back to square one with simple play action and running back heavy offense. Ohio State will have to use quick trigger throws, and timely running back use to wear down the Duck defense.
Defensively Ohio State is venerable against an Oregon offense that lives for the highlight play. Sevyn Banks and Cameron Brown were key pieces missing in the secondary last week, both remain questionable for Saturday. The worry is Oregon will pass more in hopes of exposing a weakness Minnesota couldn’t.
Tune into the game this Saturday with pre game at 10:30 and kickoff at 12:30 on 1480 WHBC.