3 keys to victory for Oregon Ducks against Oklahoma in Alamo Bowl

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Spencer Rattler
    American football quarterback
  • Bob Stoops
    Bob Stoops
    American football coach
  • Kayvon Thibodeaux
    American football defensive end

At the start of the 2021 college football season, the discussion surrounding an Oregon Ducks – Oklahoma Sooners bowl game matchup would have focused on Kayvon Thibodeaux’s ability to generate pressure on Spencer Rattler.

Instead, Rattler is out looking for a new team after getting benched midway through the season, while Thibodeaux has understandably opted out of the non-College Football Playoff bowl game to focus on preparing for the NFL draft, where he will certainly be a top-five selection.

Few would have anticipated seeing Bob Stoops back on the sideline for the Sooners as well, and it is unlikely anyone had interim head coach Bryan McClendon replacing Mario Cristobal on their bingo card.

So all-in-all, not exactly the matchup many would have expected at the beginning of the season – or even at the beginning of December.

For the Ducks to finish the season with a victory, they’ll need to rely on a large number of untested young players – with injuries, opt-outs, and transfers impacting the active roster significantly.

Still, there is plenty of reason to believe this team can secure a victory under coach McClendon, especially if they follow these three keys:

Establish the Run

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Ducks are without a huge chunk of their biggest contributors this season heading into Wednesday’s game against Oklahoma. Travis Dye is perhaps the biggest name player still around on the offensive side of the ball, and he’ll be counted on in a huge way against the Sooners.

Oklahoma is down quite a few defensive starters as well, so giving the ball to Dye early and often is a great way for the Ducks to set the pace of the game, while keeping Oklahoma’s inexperienced defense on the field and potentially allowing Anthony Brown to take some shots as the game goes on.

Generate Pressure on the QB

Syndication: The Oklahoman

Oklahoma benched starting quarterback Spencer Rattler midway through the season, resulting in his (unsurprising) decision to transfer.

That would be nothing short of a disaster for most college football programs, but the Sooners have been boosted by the strong play of freshman quarterback Caleb Williams, who has a sparkly 18:4 touchdown-to-interception ratio in 10 games this season, completing just under 63% of his passes.

Still, Williams will head into his first ever bowl game with a new coach, and without two of his premier targets in tight end Austin Stogner and wide receiver Jadon Haselwood, who both elected to transfer.

Without Thibodeaux the Ducks will have to work hard to generate an effective pass rush, but if guys like Brandon Dorlus, Mase Funa, Bradyn Swinson and of course Noah Sewell can step up it will go a long way toward securing a victory for the Ducks and interim head coach Bryan McClendon.

Take Some Risks

Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Look, it’s not that the result of this bowl game doesn’t matter (the players no doubt want to win more than anything) but this is also a unique opportunity for the Ducks to do some, for lack of a better word, experimenting.

While the plan is to start Anthony Brown under center, this is a great opportunity to get true freshman Ty Thompson some experience, especially now that he will be competing with transfer Bo Nix to start for Oregon next year.

It’s also a great chance to try to take more shots down the field, with either Brown or Thompson, especially with the Sooners missing multiple defensive starters.

And finally, perhaps we will see more of young running backs Seven McGee and Byron Cardwell in the mix under coach McClendon.

These things may not necessarily lead to a victory, but they will keep Stoops and the Sooners on their toes and give Oregon fans a glimpse into the future, even if coach Dan Lanning will be across the country during the game.

List

9 Oregon Ducks with biggest chance to make a name for themselves in Alamo Bowl