The Oregon Ducks will face their first real Pac-12 test on Thursday night against the California Golden Bears. Can the Oregon defense get it together and slow down Cal?
The Oregon Ducks offense has been pretty solid this season. They've rolled up the points without much difficulty on Nevada, Missouri State and Arizona. But they must reacquaint themselves with an old foe on Thursday night in Eugene.
Chip Kelly's reign over the Pac-10 began with a 42-3 waxing over the California Golden Bears two years prior, and since then their offense hasn't really missed a beat. Cal football has been stumbling and bumbling on offense since that point, going 8-10 in conference play in two seasons.
Oregon isn't is in quite as strong a position as they've been the past two years, but they face probably one of the least talented Cal football teams of the decade, and Darron Thomas, LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas have more than enough talent to take them on. The Ducks will have a lot of firepower and should get their usual 40 to 50 points in Autzen if they've adjusted to their experience in Berkeley the year previous.
Can the Ducks defense put a halt to the Bears offense? Zach Maynard isn't a great quarterback, but he does have two dynamic options in Keenan Allen and Marvin Jones that will be hard matchups for any of the Oregon corners. Isi Sofele is a tough, physical runner that could give the Ducks smaller defenders a bit of trouble to handle. Still, this might come down to how well Cal's defense can slow down Oregon's offense, a task that only one of the best teams in the country has been able to handle up to this point.