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Football predictions: Stanford vs. Oregon
Keller Chryst keeps the ball safe as he gets ready for opposing defense. Chryst and McCaffrey have been learning to work together and renew the Stanford offense. (RAHIM ULLAH/ The Stanford Daily)

Football predictions: Stanford vs. Oregon

top-bannerCongratulations to Jun Ni, from Stanford, California, the winner of last week’s Stanford Daily Football Predictions Challenge, presented by Chef Chu’s.

Stanford (5-3, 4-3 Pac-12) at Oregon (3-6, 1-5) 

Vihan Lakshman: Stanford 31, Oregon 28

Last week, we saw the Cardinal running game erupt to the tune of 365 yards (the second most in school history) against a suspect Oregon State defense, and the Ducks have had even bigger problems when it comes to stopping the run, ranking 116th nationally in rushing yards allowed per game. Once again, Stanford will largely take the burden off of Keller Chryst’s arm and look to create space for Christian McCaffrey on the ground with some Bryce Love counterpunches thrown in. The Ducks’ offense will move the ball well in the friendly confines of Autzen Stadium and put up points, but Solomon Thomas and the Cardinal front will do their part to generate critical stops. After a tight first half, Stanford pulls away behind a bruising, run-heavy attack as McCaffrey eclipses the 200-yard rushing mark for the first time this season.

Andrew Mather: Stanford 24, Oregon 20

Even after a somewhat suspect defensive performance against Oregon State last week, I trust Stanford to largely contain the struggling Ducks this weekend. I’m not nearly as confident that the Cardinal offense will be able to capitalize on this opportunity to beat its rival while they’re down, however. Oregon’s defense doesn’t look good on paper, but when you consider the quality of the offenses they’ve faced, the numbers don’t look quite as deplorable. And, despite some improvement in the running game, Stanford’s offense has looked anything but quality recently, so it wouldn’t shock me if the Ducks make it hard for them to put up the numbers they have in the last couple competitions.

Oregon jumps out to a fast start at home, but Stanford gradually grinds its way back into things until it builds a lead of its own in the fourth quarter. A missed Ducks two-point conversion forces Oregon to go for it all on its final drive, and the Stanford defense stops Justin Herbert on fourth-and-goal to seal a Cardinal victory.

Lorenzo Rosas: Stanford 35, Oregon 24

Honestly, the one-dimensional offense continues to give me doubts about the strength and stability behind this renewed offensive explosion in late games. While Christian McCaffrey is still undoubtedly one of the best running backs in college football right now, I still think the Cardinal’s reliance on their dynamic duo in the backfield could prove their demise any given week if the running game somehow fails to show up.

Although Stanford’s offense lacks the versatility this year, the Oregon defense, or lack thereof, will be the highlight of this unofficial but bitter rivalry for the North. The Ducks ensured a losing conference record after the blowout at the hands of the Trojans last weekend, yet Oregon’s offense ranks 22nd in total offensive yards per game nationally, in addition to looking dangerous under freshman starter Justin Herbert. While marquee back Royce Freeman’s performance has dipped, new contributors in the likes of sophomore running back Tony Brooks-James and the return of wide receiver Darren Carrington II make the Oregon offense threatening to opposing defenses each and every week.

Ultimately, however, the Ducks defense will once again be the problem for Mark Helfrich and his squad as they prepare for an attacking and physical offense. The Ducks have allowed 535.2 yards per game to their opponents this season, and for this game Saturday, I simply can’t put faith in this Ducks defense to stop the Stanford offense, no matter how one-dimensional I see David Shaw being at Autzen.

Oddly enough, while I anticipate the Cardinal running game to make gains in Autzen, I do expect the Stanford defense to finally crack and allow over 15 points against a talented and speedy offense in Oregon. Overall, the pseudo-shootout that I envision in Eugene on Saturday will go the way of the Cardinal, but the battle of the North still promises exciting football year in and year out, with or without playoff implications.


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