The Duck Sports Authority staff has once again gathered pregame to issue their predictions for this Saturday's matchup against the Wyoming Cowboys. Oregon enters their first road game of the Willie Taggart era as distinct favorites.
Do the DSA experts agree?
Newton: The NFL loves Josh Allen for his potential and measurables at 6-5, 233. The Cowboy offense just isn't that scary. They lost to Iowa in week one 24-3, with Allen going 23-40, 174 yards, O TDs, 2 interceptions, sacked 3 times. In week 2 they beat Gardner-Webb 27-0, In the tuneup Allen got his groove back, 22-32, 328 yards, 2 TDs and no picks.
In previous games against bigger competition he hasn't been earthshaking. Nebraska picked him 5 times last year, and in a 24-21 loss to BYU in the Poinsettia Bowl, 17-32, 207 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs.
Willie Taggart this week has praised the way the ball comes out of his hands. "He's an NFL quarterback," he said. But here's the deal: Wyoming hasn't been able to run the football this year. Their leading rusher Kellen Overstreet has 21 carries for 57 yards, and they're averaging 2.1 per carry as a team.
After losing an 1800-yard running back and a 1300-yard receiver, Craig Bohl's sqad just doesn't have enough weapons around Allen. The offense ranks 121st in the FBS at 15 points a game.
The crowd will be spirited and sucking up valuable oxygen for the first 20 minutes, but Oregon will win big in Laramie.
"The crowd will be spirited and sucking up valuable oxygen for the first 20 minutes, but Oregon will win big in Laramie."
Reed: Oregon enters game number three with as many questions as answers. Heading to the high altitude Laramie, Wyoming, Oregon will be facing one of the top quarterbacks in all of college football in Josh Allen. Despite his accolades, he sits behind an offensive line that has been completely retooled and started two true freshmen in their first game against Iowa.
Predictably, that led to plenty of protection issues and a weak rushing attack. But make no mistake about it – josh Allen is a very talented quarterback. He is big, strong, can move with his feet and throw on the run as well as anyone. The Cowboys will test Oregon with quick, short passes and some attempts to get the ball to the outside in the running game. They will work the Oregon defense sideline-to-sideline to take advantage of their altitude advantage.
The Cowboy defense is physical, aggressive and very good at creating turnovers. They have a big defensive line, a sophomore linebacker who was All-Conference as a true freshman and a safety who is one of the best tacklers around. They more than held their own with Iowa, a very physical offense. The Ducks have more pure talent and should win going away, but the altitude and lack of developed depth on both sides of the ball will keep the game closer than most will like for much of the afternoon. Despite that, the Ducks just have too much firepower and should pull away for a comfortable win.
Gibson: In 2016, Wyoming was an 8-5 team with a top 25 offense averaging 35.9 points a game. This year, the firepower to win shootout style games doesn’t appear to have developed yet. Gone are the key pieces in the rushing and passing game, as Brian Hill (1860 yards rushing/22 TD) left early for the NFL and Tanner Gentry (1326 yards receiving/14 TD) graduated. Quarterback Josh Allen is the returning rushing leader for the team, and also accounted for one of only four returning receiving TDs from 2016.
Wyoming lost the production of 25 of 29 receiving TDs and 23 of 31 rushing TDs to graduation or the draft. Although the Duck defense has struggled at times, this could be the game to help build some confidence, as Wyoming is rather one dimensional, having an anemic run game.
Wyoming defense has only seen 22 total pass attempts, so it is difficult to say where the secondary is at, but they did allow 3 touchdowns on 8 completions against Iowa.
"Let’s face it, this is Laramie, Wyoming. Aside from the distractions of travel, there are no distractions"
Jacobson: The bottom line for me is I think that the Ducks field better athletes across the board and so far in two games, appear to be a motivated football team. With so many young players on the roster, the distractions of playing on the road could be an issue, particularly early. But Oregon has plenty of veterans to keep guys under control and let’s face it, this is Laramie, Wyoming. Aside from the distractions of travel, there are no distractions.
But the Pokes do field an excellent quarterback in Josh Allen. After graduating three productive seniors from last year’s WR corps, they are still trying to figure out who to throw the ball to. And I am not sure their running game or defense is up to Oregon’s.
So even with the game being played well over a mile above sea-level, I think the Ducks have the horses to win this one fairly handily.