Helfrich: Guys don't know how great we can be
No. 2 Oregon Ducks at Colorado Buffaloes
Time: 3 p.m., Saturday
Where: Folsom Field, Boulder, Col.
Records: Oregon (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12), Colorado (2-1, 0-1).
Coaches: UO's Mark Helfrich (4-0). Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre (18-22 overall, 2-1 at Colorado).
Oddsmakers say: Oregon by 38 1/2.
Watch/listen: Television - Pac-12 Networks with Ted Robinson, Glenn Parker and Drea Avent. Radio: Oregon IMG with Jerry Allen and Mike Jorgensen. Satellite Radio: Sirius 93, XM 195.
On the line: Oregon could extend its program record for consecutive games scoring 50 or more points to five with a blowout victory over the Buffaloes.
When Oregon has the ball: The Ducks will face a decent defense that ranks 63rd in the nation in yards allowed (391.7 per game). Then again, it’s the same defense that last week got ripped to shreds by Oregon State, 44-17.
OSU punched out 540 yards of total offense and quarterback Sean Mannion threw for school-record six touchdown passes.
That production came while using the huddle.
Oregon won 70-14 against Colorado last season in Eugene and even though this is an improved Buffaloes team, they should have similar trouble attempting to stop the Ducks.
Oregon will likely be without running back De’Anthony Thomas. Normally a team losing its top running back for a game against a defense that leads the conference in rushing defense (91.3 yards per game) could spell trouble.
But expect the Ducks to rush for 300-plus yards without breathing hard with Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner carrying the load.
When Colorado has the ball: Colorado junior quarterback Connor Wood is fourth in the conference in passing yards per game (295.7) and has been pretty efficient, completing 60.3 percent of his passes for eight touchdowns with four interceptions. His top target is wide receiver Paul Richardson, second in the conference with 8.7 receptions per game and leading the Pac-12 with 162.3 yards per game.
But the bulk of those numbers were put up in wins over Colorado State and Central Arkansas. Against OSU, the Buffaloes managed just 300 yards of offense and committed two turnovers against a defense that had been abused for a month prior.
Colorado should have a pulse playing at home but it’s difficult to imagine it reaching the 20-point mark without the help of facing backups late in a lopsided loss.
Individual matchup to watch: Colorado senior center Gus Handler vs. UO nose tackles Wade Keliikipi and Alex Balducci.
Handler is projected by NFLDraftScout.com as a late-round draft pick. His ability to control the middle would give the Buffaloes a chance to establish a running game to balance out the passing attack.
By the numbers: 20.3. Colorado ranks last in the Pac-12 in first downs gained. Oregon ranks fourth at 26.8.
Quotable: “You’ve got to communicate and get aligned. You’ve got to understand what they like to do out of certain backfield sets and formations then communicate and get aligned in a hurry. You make a play on the ball then you get ready and do it again. They’ll run the same play out of the same set two or three times. You’ve got to get aligned and communicate. You get aligned and you’ve got a chance to get yourself in the right spot.” – Colorado defensive coordinator Kent Baer on Oregon’s offense.
Fentress predicts: Thank goodness We’re one blowout win away from the season truly beginning next week at Washington. Oregon 63, Colorado 20.