A week ago, Oregon's swarming defense benefitted from ridiculous weather and forced 5 turnovers, while grounding a vaunted offense from California. The Ducks now go on the road to face off against the Colorado Buffaloes. The Buffs have improved but are still far from being a top tier team in the conference. It is unlikely that the Ducks are going to struggle moving the ball; even sans De'Anthony. The remaining drama will be seeing if Oregon can blank Colorado on the road.
Last week, the Ducks showed that they are defensively problematic for teams who plan to throw the ball early and often as they clobbered the Bears and neutralized the "Bear Raid." Once again, the Ducks face off with a top flight receiver who will test the CB combination of Terrance Mitchell and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.
The Buffaloes feature one of the finest receivers in the conference in Paul Richardson. Richardson went down last year with a knee injury and his return was a big boon to the Colorado offense. To this point, Richardson is just under 500 yards on the season and has found the end zone five times. This is even more impressive when it's considered that Richardson is the only true threat the Buffaloes have. It would be one thing if he and Nelson Spruce were lighting it up. However, Spruce has half the receptions of Richardson at 13 and only 170 yards to his credit.
Richardson has gone over 200 yards twice this season against Colorado State and Central Arkansas. Last week he was "held" to 70 yards against Oregon State. Much of that did come in garbage time against the Beavers as they were able to stifle the Buffaloes' biggest vertical threat.
Throwing the ball to Richardson is Connor Wood. Wood has gone over 300 yards twice this season, but much like Richardson was contained by Oregon State, Wood was held below 150 yards and completed only 41% of his throws.
While the Buffaloes boast a top 25 passing offense, they have not been able to get much of anything going on the ground. Colorado features a pair of backs in Tony Jones and Michael Adkins II who split time. Jones has almost twice as many touches but both hover around the 100 mark for the year. CU hasn't shown much ability to run the ball and it's not anticipated this is going to change against Oregon.
As mentioned, there isn't much drama in this game as the Ducks have defeated Colorado by a combined 115-16 in the last two seasons. The Ducks' streak of road victories is unlikely to be challenged. This is one of those games where Duck fans will get to learn more of the roster and complain that the third string offense doesn't move the ball as fluidly as the first team.
The Ducks need to locate and contain Paul Richardson and everything else from there will fall into place for the Oregon defense.