2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 8 - Oregon at Colorado
Pac-12 Fearless Predictions &
- FREE EXPERT COLLEGE FOOTBALL SELECTIONS
- Get Tickets For This Game
Follow Us @CFBNews
Facebook | E-mail Us
Oct. 22 Oregon 45 … at Colorado 2
CFN Analysis: The Duck offense didn’t have any problems against Arizona State without its stars, and it rolled at will against a hapless Colorado defense even with Darron Thomas and LaMichael James on the sidelines. Bryan Bennett didn’t have to do anything special; he just led the offense do the work. He didn’t make any big mistakes and threw two touchdown passes, while Kenjon Barner and the running game took control. Barner finished with 115 yards and two scores, and the team ran for 371 yards to strike quickly and effectively to put the game out of reach in the first quarter. The defense stuffed the Buffs time and again, allowing just 98 yards rushing, and there shouldn’t be many problems next week against the Washington State running game, either.
Colorado didn’t have a prayer against an Oregon team playing as well as anyone in the country outside of LSU. The Buff defensive front was pushed around and looked confused from the start as the Ducks had holes after holes to fly through. The Colorado running game hasn’t been anything special this year, and it failed to do anything after getting down so quickly. Tony Jones did what he could in place of Rodney Stewart, running for 71 yards on 19 carries, but he couldn’t get free to keep the chains moving. After getting obliterated three weeks in a row, and with Arizona State up next, the inaugural Pac-12 season continues to be a nightmare.
(AP) BOULDER, Colo. -- Against a team as deep as Oregon (No. 10 BCS, No. 9 AP), Colorado found itself in deep trouble right from the start.
The Ducks bulldozed the injury-riddled Buffaloes 45-2 Saturday in their first trip to Folsom Field since 1987 even though they were playing without Darron Thomas and LaMichael James.
The Ducks lost none of their quick-strike scoring ability without their injured quarterback and running back. Thomas was out with a knee injury and James missed his second straight game while recovering from a dislocated elbow.
Behind redshirt freshman QB Bryan Bennett and junior tailback Kenjon Barner, the Ducks (6-1, 4-0 Pac-12) jumped out to a 29-0 first-quarter lead.
"We have some depth at certain positions and that was a little bit evident today," Oregon coach Chip Kelly said. "I think our depth wore them down as the game went on."
Actually, right from the start.
Barner reeled off touchdown runs of 4 and 84 yards and Bennett found running back De'Anthony Thomas for a 14-yard touchdown and tight end David Paulson from 31 yards out. The four TD drives averaged just 1:36 each.
None of this was a surprise to Colorado.
"They're a system team, they're going to do what they do," Buffaloes coach Jon Embree said. "I'm not taking anything away from those guys, I think their backups ... it's like going from Joe Montana to Steve Young. They have great depth."
Colorado's only highlight came on a tackle of Oregon punt returner Cliff Harris in the end zone that allowed the Buffaloes to avoid their first shutout at home since losing 28-0 to Oklahoma in 1986.
After a fiery pregame pep talk from James, the nation's leading rusher, the Ducks wasted no time in turning this one into a laugher no matter who was taking the snaps and handoffs.
"We might have seemed a little flat in warmups and he just wanted to make sure that wasn't going to be a reflection of our play today," Bennett said. "LaMichael's a key player on this team and whether he plays or not, when he says something, people are going to listen."
Barner gained 115 yards on 10 carries before giving way to a bevy of other backups and Bennett added 69 yards on the ground to go with 156 yards through the air on 11 of 20 passing. He, too, was a sideline spectator before the third quarter was over.
Both Barner and Bennett averaged 11.5 yards a carry, but De'Anthony Thomas did them one better, averaging 12.5 yards on his four rushes.
The Folsom Field crowd figured the Ducks were piling on the Buffaloes (1-6, 0-4) right away when punter Jackson Rice took the direct snap after their first touchdown and plowed into the end zone for a 2-point conversion and an 8-0 lead.
Embree took no offense.
"They've done that a bunch," he said. "It's not an opponent or respect issue, but that's what Chip does. He's aggressive."
The Ducks' defense got into the act when linebacker Michael Clay intercepted Tyler Hansen's pass at the Buffs 32 and raced into the end zone in the second quarter. Alejandro Maldonado's extra point was wide right, leaving the Ducks ahead 35-0 at halftime.
"We wanted to get it over with really early," Clay said. "I think we did that."
Hansen suffered a concussion when he was sandwiched on a slide that didn't draw a flag late in the first half and was replaced by freshman Nick Hirschman.
"I don't really remember a lot from the first half," Hansen said, "but it's got to be tough to play from behind like that. The second half was rough to watch."
The Buffaloes started the game without more than a dozen injured players, most notably running back Rodney Stewart and wide receiver Paul Richardson, who accounted for nearly 60 percent of Colorado's yards from scrimmage before Saturday.
Colorado also lost strong safety Anthony Perkins to an injured ankle just 6½ minutes into the game and kick returner D.D. Goodson to a concussion.
With so many key players sidelined, the Buffs were hoping something else might slow down the Ducks -- altitude. Boulder is nearly 5,000 feet higher than Eugene, Ore., making a no-huddle offense a little more lung-searing for the speedy Ducks.
"I don't know if anybody else felt it, but I felt it, I hit a brick wall," said Barner, who slowed down at the 5 on his 84-yard TD run.
After halftime, Bennett hit Lavasier Tuinei for 31 yards to the Buffaloes 1, and two snaps later, Tra Carson took it in for a 42-0 lead.
Just as impressive was the Ducks' defense -- it allowed just 231 yards and 5 of 19 third-down conversions.
"Our defense played outstanding all day long," Kelly said. "Unfortunately, we couldn't get the shutout."
That's because Terrel Smith corralled Harris in the end zone for a safety with 1:32 left in the third quarter. Kelly said Harris broke the cardinal rule of punt returns.
"We don't field punts inside the 10," he huffed.
And after that, Harris didn't field any punts at all, giving way to Chad Delaney.
Oregon (5-1) at Colorado (1-6) Oct. 22, 3:30, FSN
Here’s The Deal … Oregon endured its best shot since the opener with LSU, and lived to tell about it. The Ducks, which were already without star RB LaMichael James, lost starting QB Darron Thomas to a knee injury in Saturday night’s pivotal showdown with Arizona State. Yet, they were still able to rally back from a brief third-quarter deficit to outscore the Sun Devils, 41-27. The gut-check victory keeps Oregon on track to control its own destiny in the quest to cop a third straight conference championship.
The woes of Colorado continued for first-year head coach Jon Embree in last week’s 52-24 loss at Washington. Since beating Colorado State on Sept. 17 for their lone win of the year, the Buffaloes have dropped four consecutive games, the last two by at least four touchdowns. The Buffs have been every bit as unfortunate with injuries as this week’s visitor, which has further enticed the coaching staff to begin injecting youth into the two-deep over the course of the final few weeks.
Why Oregon Might Win: Chip Kelly has been predictably tight-lipped regarding the availability of James and Thomas, though the latter is a safe bet to be available in Boulder. Regardless of the lineup, the Ducks will find a way to reach the end zone, especially against a Colorado defense that ranks 113th nationally in points allowed. The backups, QB Bryan Bennett and backs Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas, didn’t skip a beat versus Arizona State last week. In fact, Barner ran for 171 yards and a score, and Thomas skated to 73 yards and two touchdowns on only seven carries. The quarterbacks will take a particular liking to the Buffs secondary, which has yielded more touchdown passes than all but one FBS team.
Why Colorado Might Win: Since the Oregon defense hasn’t been air-tight this season, it’ll provide a glimmer of hope to the banged-up Buffaloes. Injuries to QB Tyler Hansen’s two best weapons, RB Rodney Stewart and WR Paul Richardson, will create openings for others to impress the coaching staff. Redshirt freshman RB Tony Jones, who scored his first two career touchdowns last week, will look to put another dent in the Ducks’ 78th-ranked run defense. At receiver, some of the younger Colorado players, such as Keenan Canty, have begun to step up to support veterans Toney Clemons and Ryan Deehan. The Buffs have played significantly better at Folsom Field this year than away from it.
What To Watch Out For: Considering the troubles facing the Colorado defensive backfield these days, Oregon receivers Josh Huff and Lavasier Tuinei could enjoy productive afternoons in the passing game. Tuinei is the big target, a tight end-like receiver who’s caught a touchdown pass in all but two games this fall. Huff is the more dynamic of the pair, able to slip through the defense and pick up chunks of yards after the catch. This is the type of opponent that’ll afford the Ducks a chance to tinker with their passing attack before the schedule gets a whole lot pricklier in November.
What Will Happen: Whatever possible letdown Oregon feels in Boulder will quickly be addressed by its vast superiority in talent. This week’s opponents are going in opposite directions, with Colorado sinking quickly under the weight of its preponderance of injuries. By building an early—and comfortable—cushion, the Ducks will be given an opportunity to dole out some reps to the backups shortly after halftime. Although Thomas is expected to play, circumstances should allow Bennett to get about the same number of snaps as he did last week in the Arizona State game.
CFN Prediction: Oregon 48 … Colorado 14
- Click For Latest Line From ATS:
Oregon -32 O/U: 61.5
- Get Tickets For This Game
- FREE EXPERT COLLEGE FOOTBALL SELECTIONS