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How you doing...Oregon

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B5Q takes a look back at how the 2019 Oregon team ended up in the Rose Bowl.

Pac-12 Championship Game - Oregon v Utah Alika Jenner/Getty Images

After a dominant start to the season, the Wisconsin Badgers (10-3 overall, 7-3 B1G) enter the 2020 Rose Bowl hoping to make some noise on the national stage against Oregon.

The Ducks have had a tremendous season in their own right, led by head coach Mario Cristobal in his second season at Eugene that catapulted them into the New Year's Six match up.

Here are the results so far for the Oregon Ducks (11-2 overall, 8-1 Pac-12):

  • Loss at Auburn 27-21 (neutral site)
  • Win vs. Nevada 77-6
  • Win vs. Montana 35-3
  • Win at Stanford 21-6
  • Win vs. California 17-7
  • Win vs. Colorado 45-3
  • Win at Washington 35-31
  • Win vs. Washington State 37-35
  • Win at USC 56-24
  • Win vs. Arizona 34-6
  • Loss at Arizona State 31-28
  • Win vs. Oregon State 24-10
  • Win vs. Utah 37-15 (Pac-12 Championship)

In the final 2019 edition of B5Q’s upcoming “opponent at a glance,” we take a deeper look at how Oregon has looked this season.

Offense

On offense, the Duck offense is fully at the command of senior quarterback Justin Herbert. The 6-foot-6 athlete is one of the most sought after collegiate signal-callers for NFL teams in need of a quarterback after passing on the draft last year. This season he has completed 66% of his passes for over 3,300 yards and 32 touchdowns compared to only five interceptions. With his combination of size, arm strength, and intelligence, Herbert is a definitive weapon for an Oregon offense that averages 267 yards passing per game (No. 34 in the nation).

One area of relative strength for Oregon has been the offensive line. With a bevy of talented upperclassmen around him, sophomore left tackle Penei Sewell is actually the player who has garnered the most attention. After earning Freshman All-American honors last season, Sewell took home the Outland Trophy this season recognizing the top interior lineman in the country. Senior Shane Lemieux also earned second team Pac-12 honors, demonstrating the skill that Oregon has along the front line.

The strong offensive line play has paved the way for an improved running game this year. The trio of CJ Verdell, Travis Dye, and Cyrus Habibi-Likio have helped the team run for an average of 183 yards per game, good for No. 43 in the country. Sophomore CJ Verdell has taken on the majority of the rushing opportunities had has amassed over 1,100 yards with eight touchdowns. Dye is a smaller back at only 192 pounds, but he compliments Verdell nicely. On the season he has 655 yards rushing.

In the passing game Justin Herbert has a nice assortment of targets on the outside. Junior Johnny Johnson III is the primary passing weapon with 818 yards and seven touchdowns through the air. He is a big play target, and has been instrumental all season long. The other three main pass catchers are Jaylon Redd, Jacob Breeland, and Juwan Johnson, a transfer from Penn State. All three players have over 400 yards receiving as Justin Herbert distributes the ball around well.

Defense

Oregon boasts the ninth best scoring defense in the country allowing 15.7 points per game. The Ducks are better against the run — ranked No. 10 — than the pass — ranked No. 59, but they are exceptional at creating turnovers.

The heart and soul of the Oregon defense is senior standout linebacker Troy Dye. He has led the team in tackles the past three season. Despite missing some time this year because of a broken thumb, Dye has continued to play with a bulky cast, and has played well. A second team All-Conference selection, he is one of the key players along the Oregon front seven.

The Ducks have been particularly adept at getting to the quarterback this season with a tough group of defensive lineman headlined by consensus Freshman All-American Kayvon Thibodeaux. Entering college as one of the top prospects across the country, Thibodeaux has not disappointed. In his introductory campaign he has nine sacks, and he can be very disruptive as a pass rusher. The rotation of Popo Aumavae, Austin Faoliu, Drayton Carlberg, and DJ Johnson are very strong in the run game, and have combined for an additional 10.5 sacks along the defensive line as well.

If there is one possible weakness for the Duck defense it is in the secondary, particularly at cornerback. Junior corner Thomas Graham is second on the team in tackles and has nine pass breakups, while freshman Verone McKinley has four interceptions. Both corners have been exposed at times though, particularly in the Arizona State game where the Sun Devils threw for over 400 yards with a true freshman quarterback.

Safeties Jevon Holland and Brady Breeze have been solid this season with each amounting for over 50 tackles. The duo has also been responsible for nine turnovers. Breeze has been playing particularly well down the stretch.

Overall

Oregon is one of the more balanced, and complete football teams the Badgers will have faced this season. With a scoring offense and defense each ranking in the top ten, the Ducks do not have a lot of glaring weaknesses.

With both Wisconsin and Oregon each having a lot to play for in this Rose Bowl game, the strength up front for both squads should determine the game.

Oregon has been very good at creating turnovers and minimizing their own mistakes thus far this season. Wisconsin will need to change that come New Years Day. Oregon is coming off a big win over Utah to clinch their spot in this game, and have quickly rebounded under head coach Mario Cristobal due to some experienced quarterback play and a host of youthful talent seeing the field after some strong recruiting classes.