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How We Stop: No mystery about the outcome, but still a couple items of interest for the Oregon defense

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Games like this are a bear to write about.

There isn't a lot of intrigue in a matchup like Oregon/Tennessee Tech. There are only two upsets that immediately come to mind when I think about FCS foes upsetting ranked FBS foes. The first is the infamous Michigan-Appalachian State matchup in 2007. In that matchup, Appy State ran a spread offense that Michigan hadn't really seen and was ill-equipped to handle. There is also the Virginia Tech/James Madison upset of two season ago, an upset made possible by Virginia Tech coming off a late evening Monday game that featured a last minute comeback by Boise State, and having a hangover in an early morning Saturday game on a short week. Considering that Tennessee Tech runs an offense fairly identical to Oregon's, and that there really isn't any potential for hangover effect, there really isn't an angle you can stretch into a potential upset. The Golden Eagles are going to lose, and they are going to lose by a lot. The only way that doesn't happen is if the Cascadia Megaquake strikes between now and game time, killing thousands of Oregonians and effectively cancelling the rest of Oregon's football season.

That said, while there is little doubt as to the outcome of the game, there are still goals for the team to achieve in the process of getting there. People have complained about the Oregon defense allowing points in garbage-time second halves against Fresno State and Arkansas State. Never mind that those games were already well over and the defense was playing a vanilla cover 1. Duck fans can be a paranoid bunch, and they want to see domination, anything less inducing an unwarranted level of PANIC!

The Tennessee Tech offense is going to do what the Oregon offense does, just with far fewer talented players. Their speed and tempo, which gives them a big advantage against most of the teams they play, simply won't against Oregon. In fact, its one of the few games where it may actually work against them, as they hand a superior offense more possessions. The buzz words you hear about stopping the Oregon offense--getting into the backfield, tackling in space, etc. The Ducks will face nothing they haven't seen their offense do a whole lot better in practice.

There are really two defensive elements of the game which are intriguing. The first is the matchup I talked about earlier this week between former Tennessee WR Da'Rick Rogers and CB Terrarnce Mitchell. Rogers is ever bit the WR as the Pac-12's elite, and I'm curious to see how Mitchell performs in this early test. The other is the performance of the slew of backups and walk-ons that I expect to see in the second half, if only to gauge improvement from the Arkansas State game. Expect more vanilla cover-1, but just expect it to look a bit better, especially with a team that should be overall less talented than Fresno State.