The Oregon Ducks look to lick their wounds and put last week in the past in the desert. Oregon got punched in the mouth by a talented Washington State team, as their offense was held in check throughout. In the first-half, the Ducks couldn’t put a point on the board, as the Cougars’ defense suffocated Justin Herbert and Oregon. It was all Washington State, before Oregon came to life in the second-half and finally started moving the ball.
In their opening drive, they had to settle for a field goal, though. For whatever reason the Ducks ran the ball three times for about 1-yard from the Washington State 10. I know Oregon is stressing the run game this season, but you have Justin Herbert at quarterback, a guy some regard as the best in the country. At least let him throw it on 3rd down and see what a top NFL prospect can do.
Oregon are utilizing a pistol offense under offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo and new head coach Mario Cristobal. I don’t like how they abandoned the spread and went to the pistol. It’s a different system with a new head coach, but I don’t like how Cristobal took a playbook away from Herbert that has worked well for him in the past. Oregon’s offense wasn’t perfect with Willie Taggart. However, when they struggled it was because Herbert was injured and not playing.
The Ducks couldn’t get their running game going against an athletic Washington State front last week. That has to work in this pistol for them to put up big numbers. Arizona might be a team that gets their running game back on track. They’ve struggled all season defensively and rank at the bottom of the Pac-12 in most defensive stats. It’s frustrating for the Wildcats, as they believed this was going to be the year everything came together. They’ve had a young defense the last two years, which was enough to get excited about the future, but it’s not coming together with Kevin Sumlin. Head below for our free Oregon vs. Arizona pick for Saturday night.
Oregon Ducks vs. Arizona Wildcats NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. Arizona +9(-115)
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
Oregon vs. Arizona Pick:
There hasn’t been anything definite out of the Arizona camp regarding the status of Khalil Tate. The most recent news appears to suggest that Tate is going to suit up, but Arizona are going to have Rhett Rodriguez close by on the sidelines. Rodriguez the son of former Arizona head coach, Rich Rodriguez. Tate hasn’t been himself at quarterback ever since he got injured late last season.
He exited the rivalry game against Arizona State and couldn’t play the second-half. I haven’t seen the 2017 version of Khalil Tate since. Without his ability to run the football, he is severely hampered on the field. There have been plays this season where he’s been stopped for a yard or two gain. Last season he would have been gone if a small hole opened up. The speed just isn’t there in 2018.
When Tate becomes a pocket passer, he is not playing to his strengths. He’s been held to a 53.4% completion rate and 11 touchdowns with 4 interceptions. That would be fine if he was gashing defenses on his legs, but that hasn’t been happening. Rodriguez is completing just 51.9 percent of his passes for 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. So, whether it’s Tate or Rodriguez, the Arizona offense haven’t moved the ball effectively.
Running back J.J. Taylor, who is averaging 6 yards a carry, has turned into the biggest threat on the Wildcats. They’re going to need some offense in this one, because I think Oregon will be able to beat up on the Wildcat defense. Arizona have had trouble stopping the run, with 195.9 yards allowed per game on the ground. That puts them in 103rd in the FBS. Overall, the Wildcats are 106th in the nation with 441 yards allowed per game, so it isn’t like the secondary will be able to bail the run stoppers out. Oregon should be able to get back on track and run away to a 37-24 win in the desert.