KICKOFF: Thursday, Nov. 7 at 9 p.m. EST
LOCATION: Stanford Stadium, Stanford, Calif.
LINE: Oregon by 10 1/2
SERIES RECORD: Stanford leads 45-30-1
The undefeated Oregon Ducks (8-0, 5-0 Pac-12) will travel south to take on conference rival Stanford in a game that will have strong implications for the postseason.
The key matchup will be between Oregon’s high-powered offense, which is ranked second in the nation in total yards and points per game, against Stanford’s defense, which is 19th in the nation in points against.
No. 2 Oregon is led by quarterback and potential Heisman Trophy candidate Marcus Mariota, who has thrown for 2,281 yards with 20 touchdowns and no interceptions this year. With sophomore Mariota under center, the Ducks have averaged 300.6 passing yards and 55.6 points per game this year.
Conversely, sixth-ranked Stanford has been a stalwart on defense, holding opponents to an average of 19.4 points. The team’s only loss was a 27-21 stunner to Utah on Oct. 12.
With a win the Ducks can avenge its 17-14 overtime loss to Stanford last year continue to make its case as one of the top two teams in the nation. With a loss, Stanford can assert itself as the strongest one-loss team in the nation.
Players to watch (via Associated Press):
Oregon: De’Anthony Thomas. The do-it-all threat did almost nothing against Stanford last season. He was limited to 74 all-purpose yards and lamented not turning around and blocking a defender who chased down Mariota on a 77-yard run in the first quarter that should’ve been a touchdown. Thomas was the Ducks’ leading rusher with 338 yards and six touchdowns before missing three games with a right ankle injury and returning against UCLA on Oct. 26.
Stanford: Trent Murphy. The 6-foot-6, 261-pound outside linebacker has one of the most important assignments against Oregon’s up-tempo offense: defending Mariota’s read-options. Murphy has been up to the challenge so far. He ranks third in the country in sacks (9½) and fifth in tackles for loss (13½) this season.