EUGENE, OR - SEPTEMBER 08: Marcus Mariota, #8, of the University of Oregon Ducks runs the ball away from two Fresno State Bulldogs in second half action at Autzen Stadium on September 8, 2012 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Kevin Casey/Getty Images) PROTECT YOUR KNEES MARCUS MARIOTA!
It is really hard to talk myself in to the Tennessee Tech game being at all interesting. Curse you Kansas State and your desire for cupcake out of conference games! Tennessee Tech doesn't have an offense that is kryptonite to Oregon's defense. In fact, Oregon's defense is better prepared for Tennessee Tech's offense than Tennessee Tech's defense, just because both teams run similar offense, only Oregon's is 1,295 times better.
For Oregon To Win:
Show up. I'm sure we could put the backups in from the start and get the 3rd and 4th stringers in by the second quarter and still get a win. That may actually be the more exciting of the two options between my hypothetical and what will actually happen. After Kenjon Barner carried the ball 31 times last week Byron Marshall needs to get in the game early and carry 24 times again like in the Arkansas State game.
Mental mistakes are eliminated. There were a few mental mistakes that led to Mariota getting crushed and a few fumbles. There is no reason to fumble and pretty much comes from a lack of focus. Colt Lyerla has had some amazing plays but has also been told by Mariota where to line up a couple times and has committed penalties that are mental mistakes.
NO INJURIES. I wrote "no injuries" was a key for the last few games, but this time I'm serious. Super serious. Oregon can't afford any more injuries. Carson York and Boyett are out and they were key members on each side of the ball. Losing a player to Tennessee Tech would be the worst thing imaginable.
Shut down Da'Rick Rogers. Rogers transferred from SEC dark horse Tennessee to Tennessee Tech before the season and was considered a problem within the locker room but coaches couldn't punish him because he was so good. It provides a good opportunity for Terrence Mitchell and the other defensive backs to go against an elite wide receiver.
For Tennessee Tech to Win:
Play a perfect game. Tennessee Tech basically can't commit penalties, turn the ball over, go three and out, and basically needs to score almost every time they touch the ball.
Get Lucky. Whether it is getting a few turnovers that create short fields or get a bunch of special teams plays, some magic needs to happen. Is playing perfectly and getting lucky attainable for Tennessee Tech? Probably not for at least the playing perfectly part, but luck is a fickle bounce.