After nailbiting victories over both Fresno State and Ohio State in the first two weeks of the season, the Ducks hold a 2-0 record, but it came at a cost. Several players are banged up with minor injuries, and a few — both Cam McCormick and Justin Flowe — have been lost for the season.
Luckily, Oregon has a game against an FCS opponent sandwiched in between their game vs. the Buckeyes and the start of conference play, which will come next week against the Arizona Wildcats. That means there is a more-than-likely chance that starters will get to rest for much of the second half, and players who are at all injured will get the opportunity to heal up.
This is all assuming that the Ducks can take care of business against Stony Brook. With a betting spread of -40.5, oddsmakers project that this one won’t be particularly close, but Oregon needs to execute to make sure that happens.
The way it will likely happen is with a mix of ground-game and air attacks in the first quarter. We saw a week ago that the Ducks have a polished RPO (run-pass option) game that keeps the defense true to their scheme and allows QB Anthony Brown to make reads mid-play and choose the best option forward. Expect to see a lot of that early, as Oregon attempts to put points on the board in a hurry and put this one away.
If the offense can do that, it will then be on the defense to get off the field and keep Stony Brook’s punter busy. That may require more effort for the Ducks, considering that they are without Flowe, and could quite possibly be without Thibodeaux as well. A player to watch is linebacker Keith Brown, a true freshman from Lebanon who got his first action against Ohio State and played great. He left the field with a hamstring injury in the second half, but appears to be okay to play.
If things go as planned and we see the Ducks build a multi-score lead in the first half, you can bet that backup players will see the field for most of the second half. That’s what makes betting Oregon -40.5 a bit scary, considering they could sit on a 20-30 point lead and lay off the gas a little bit. In the end, the result should be the same, though, with the Ducks winning in a blowout.
Final Score Prediction: Oregon 49, Stony Brook 13