Stanford at Oregon football: How to watch; what to watch for
Stanford has enjoyed plenty of success at Autzen Stadium, winning on three of its last five trips to Eugene. The Cardinal (1-2, 0-2 Pac-12) are wounded, down a few key players and with losses to USC and Washington in conference play. But, if the Ducks (3-1, 1-0) have a hangover from their improbable comeback win at Washington State, history tells us David Shaw's outfit is capable of making them pay.
HOW TO WATCH
When: 8 p.m. PT, Saturday, Oct. 1
Where: Autzen Stadium, Eugene
Radio: AM 1080
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
If Oregon is going to build real momentum off of its improbable win at Washington State, it needs to win this game — and probably by multiple scores. The Cardinal have thrived against the Ducks in close games under David Shaw. Stanford is 6-4 against Oregon in the last 10 meetings. Three of Stanford's six wins in that stretch came in overtime, including last season when the unranked Cardinal beat then-No. 3 ranked Oregon.
Stanford hasn't beaten a FBS opponent since that Oct. 2, 2021, game and is coming off of a 40-22 loss at Washington in which the Huskies sacked Cardinal QB Tanner McKee eight times. Once known for a dominant offensive line, those sacks reflect one of the main struggles during the past two seasons for the Cardinal.
The 6-foot-6 McKee, a junior in his second season as the starter, has completed 65% of his passes for an average of 271 yards per game, and seems accurate when given time to throw. But protection has been a problem. Generating pressure will be key for Oregon, though defensive end/outside linebacker DJ Johnson must sit out the first half for a targeting penalty at Washington State.
On the flip side, Oregon's offensive line has not allowed a sack this season and is rated as one of the better units in the country. That line is a big reason the Ducks are averaging 495 yards of offense a game. And there is nice balance. Oregon has run the ball 155 times for a net 871 yards and thrown it 143 times for 1,187. Quarterback Bo Nix seems to be gaining confidence each week, and is helped by the big-play ability Troy Franklin has demonstrated. Another emerging leader on offense, both carrying the ball and catching it, is Bucky Irving.
Stanford is minus-10 in turnover ratio (one takeaway, 11 turnovers), which make's Oregon's plus-one ratio look impressive. If the Ducks take care of the ball, they should be in good shape.
Lake Oswego's Casey Filkins (who wears No. 2) figures to start at running back for Stanford with E.J. Smith out for the season. Filkins, a junior, ran for 100 yards on 20 carries and caught two passes for 29 yards last week at Washington. The Cardinal also feature junior receiver Silas Starr (No. 19) out of Central Catholic High, who has made two catches this season.
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