JASON SAYS: Upset at home? Ain't happenin' for Oregon Ducks
- Jason Vondersmith
- Portland Tribune - Sports
So, Texas Tech ended Oklahoma's long home winning streak, and now all the underdogs - both big and small - think they can just march into somebody else's territory and win?
Well, they can think that.
Still, a large percentage of the time, it doesn't happen.
Oregon's home winning streak will hit 20 after its noon game Saturday against Washington State. Yes, the Cougars, with an aggressive defense and capable QB Jeff Tuel, played solidly against the Ducks last year - and helped put running back/returner Kenjon Barner and QB Darron Thomas out of the game.
No, the Cougs (3-4, 1-3 Pac-12) can't do the same thing to the Ducks (6-1, 4-0) at Autzen Stadium. It's just too hard for opposing teams to find success against the Ducks for four quarters, especially at Autzen, because of the crowd and the team's confidence on its home turf. And, WSU has weaknesses, and nobody preys on weaknesses better than the Ducks.
The last home loss was Sept. 20, 2008, when Boise State knocked then-QB Jeremiah Masoli out of the game, built a big lead and then withstood the Thomas-led fourth-quarter UO comeback.
Thomas is on the mend from a left knee injury, and LaMichael James is nursing a right elbow injury. And, as always, their status is uncertain - because of coach Chip Kelly's stonewalling technique on injuries, and also because both star players simply continue rehabilitation. As the Ducks found out against Colorado, backup QB Bryan Bennett and Barner serve as pretty capable starting replacements.
One would assume the UO offense will continue to click. The Ducks will want to continue to play well defensively, given that it's the biggest area for improvement and for concern before the big upcoming games against Washington, Stanford and USC.
Tuel has been hurt for the Cougars, who run the ball better and rely on three quality receivers. But, WSU needs to come up with an epic, heroic day of work to beat the Ducks at Autzen.
Back in the day, it happened - who can forget the 55-16 WSU win at Autzen in 2003? - but it won't be happening for awhile.
Jason's pick: Oregon 49, WSU 17