On Friday, the battle for college football supremacy within the state of Oregon will take place as the #6 Oregon Ducks take on the #15 ranked Oregon State Beavers. This rivalry between Oregon and Oregon State started back in 1894. Oregon has outdone Oregon State historically in this series with a record of 67-49-10.
Ever since their heartbreaking loss to Washington, Oregon has been a nightmare for Pac-12 opponents. They easily walloped the Arizona State Sun Devils 49-13 on Saturday. Their impressive performances as of late definitely forced the College Football Playoff Selection Committee to keep them in the mix as the season winds down.
However, Oregon State will not be an opponent that Oregon will easily roll through. Last Saturday, they nearly knocked off the #4 Washington Huskies. Oregon State has no conceivable chance at either the College Football Playoffs or a Pac-12 title. Therefore, they would relish the opportunity to spoil Oregon’s chances at a College Football Playoff bid.
Oregon has something to lose, while Oregon State has nothing to lose.
Despite this, I believe that Oregon will pull off the victory over its interstate rivals. They are superior on both sides of the ball. Given how they bounced back after losing to Washington, I believe they are a team of destiny.
The oddsmakers are also in agreement that Oregon will beat Oregon State. FanDuel Sportsbook has Oregon as a 13.5-point favorite, while BetMGM has Oregon as a 14-point favorite.
In this piece, I will give three reasons why Oregon will defeat Oregon State in this rivalry game.
1. Oregon’s offense has a favorable matchup against Oregon State’s defense.
Oregon State’s defense is ranked 29th. This is not a bad place to be in. However, it pales in comparison to the superior position that the Oregon offense is in the FBS. Oregon is ranked 2nd in the nation with 545.7 yards of total offense. They have the most lethal passing and rushing attack in the country. It will be a handful for the Oregon State defense.
Their biggest advantage will be in the passing game. Oregon is 2nd in the nation with 350.0 passing yards per game. The weakest part of Oregon State’s defense is their passing defense. Oregon State is 63rd in the nation in passing yards allowed. They are tied with the Utah Utes for passing yards allowed per game.
Given that Oregon ripped apart the Utah Utes defense, it is quite plausible that Bo Nix will have a solid day against Oregon State’s passing defense.
In the last three games, Bo Nix has thrown for 1,202 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Even though Oregon State has had 12 total interceptions as a defense, I trust Bo Nix will be very careful with the ball and remain turnover-free.
2. Oregon’s rushing attack will hold its own against Oregon State’s rushing defense.
The strength of Oregon State’s defense is their run defense. In theory, Oregon State’s run defense should have the edge over Oregon’s rushing attack. Oregon State’s run defense is 17th in the nation. On the other hand, Oregon is ranked 20th in rushing offense.
However, Oregon’s running game will benefit from the immense amount of attention that Oregon State will have to give Oregon’s passing game.
This will open things up for Bucky Irving and Jordan James. While Oregon may not reach their season average of 195 rushing yards per game, it is plausible to expect about 150-175 yards. This will be enough to keep the Oregon State defense off-balance so that Bo Nix, Troy Franklin, and their passing offense can flourish.
3. Oregon State’s offense will not be able to hold up against Oregon’s defense.
Oregon State QB DJ Uiagalelei could not complete a pass over 20 yards against the Washington Huskies last Saturday. This would be understandable if the Washington Huskies had a stingy pass defense. However, the Washington Huskies’ passing defense is 117th in the FBS.
The Oregon Ducks have a passing defense vastly superior to the Washington Huskies overall. Oregon is 46th in the FBS.
I don’t see Uiagalelei having much success against Khyree Jackson, Jahlil Florence, and a stingy Oregon Ducks secondary that has exceeded expectations.
The strength of Oregon State’s offense lies in their rushing attack, as they are #22 in the nation. Unfortunately for Oregon State, the strength of Oregon’s defense is their rushing defense. Oregon is 10th in the FBS in rushing defense.
They are 1 of 12 teams in the nation that hold their opponents under 100 yards per game. I expect Oregon to limit Oregon State’s rushing attack.
I believe that Oregon will beat Oregon State 31-17.