Todd Husak Takes a Look at Saturday's Game at Oregon

Nov. 7, 2008

Each week during the season, KTRB 860 AM radio analyst and former Cardinal quarterback Todd Husak will offer insightful analysis and breakdown Stanford keys to victory against its opponent. This week, Todd takes a look at Saturday's Stanford-Oregon game.

As Stanford gets ready to head to Eugene to take on a Ducks team that just fell short in Berkeley a week ago, there seems to be a very straightforward path to victory. Both teams are very similar. Stanford and Oregon both rush for over 200 yards per game and both are stingy on defense against the run, allowing a little more than 100 yards per game on the ground. The Cardinal and Ducks have inconsistent passing offenses, athletic quarterbacks, very good special team units and have been victimized by turnovers. Oregon has thrown 11 interceptions and fumbled it away eight times while Stanford has thrown 11 interceptions and fumbled it away nine times.

What is going to separate two evenly match teams this weekend at Autzen Stadium?

Start Fast
Autzen Stadium is the most disruptive stadium I visited in my entire football career. The fans are loud, they are right on top of you, and they don't need much to get going. Stanford needs to get out of the gate quickly and eliminate any advantage the crowd creates. I remember in 1998, after a horrible start to the game, I was standing next to someone yelling as loud as I could and he couldn't hear me. Communicating in the huddle and at the line of scrimmage is nearly impossible when the Green and Gold faithful get going, but an early lead would frustrate the crown and keep the noise down.

Win the Turnover Battle
This will be the most important stat in the box score and will determine who wins the game. Stanford has an uphill battle, facing a team that averages 270 rushing yards per game, and any extra possession given to the Ducks will cripple Stanford's chances and allow Oregon to grind down the clock. Stanford needs some easy scores and a short field as well, and Oregon has been careless with the football this season.

Get a Few Big Pass Plays
Both teams rely so much on the ground game that a big play through the air could be the play that breaks it open. Stanford hit a 41 yard play to Chris Owusu against the Cougars, so look for another big play from the true freshman. Doug Baldwin has been the other big play wide out for the Cardinal, but with Oregon being sturdy with their run defense, Stanford is going to need to hit a few plays through the air.

Pretty simple approach, and if the Cardinal can execute those three points, they can come home bowl eligible and set their sights on the conference crown.

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