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Week 2 Preview: Oregon Ducks vs Portland State Vikings

Ducks fans, how you doin’? You good? Are your brown paper bags or inhalers stored away yet? If not I’ll give you one last chance to take a deep sigh of relief. Ready? Go.

Good, it’s done. The first five minutes of the season is a thing of the past, the adrenalin has subsided from both the players and coaches and the season can go on.

After that rough start to the season opener, where it was 10-0 Bowling Green before the seats inside Autzen were warm, the Ducks unruffled their feathers and rattled off 37 unanswered points on their way to a 58-24 victory. But like I stated above, that game is over and it’s time to turn our attention to Portland State.

PSU, no not Penn State, isn’t as talented as Bowling Green. The Vikings opened their season with a blowout road loss to Nevada 72-19. Yeah. That’s pretty bad. However, it wasn’t all bad.

Similarly to the Falcons, PSU jumped out early, grabbing a 9-0 lead after a 48-yard touchdown pass and a safety. Then Nevada used an interception to right the ship. Sounds like the Ducks when they scored their first touchdown after a huge momentum swinger, stalling the Falcons on a fourth down attempt.

Getting off to a good start is monumental for football teams to be successful, and Ducks head coach Mario Cristabol must make sure his team comes out of the gate strong. A bad start again Saturday may not be catastrophic against a team like PSU, but come PAC-12 play that could mean the difference between a win or a loss.

The Ducks have more to worry about, or work on, than getting off to a fast start. Poor tackling was a major concern on the defensive side of the ball. The defense allowed the Falcons receivers and running backs to extend plays and gain first downs because of missed tackles. The Ducks did a poor job wrapping up ball carriers and bringing them down, allowing Falcons players to pick up extra yardage

Lastly on defense, the Ducks cornerbacks need to stop giving receivers such a big cushion. They must rely on their speed and athleticism to make it difficult for their opponents to create separation and catch balls.

The Vikings biggest offensive weapon is tight end Charlie Taumoepeau, who caught both of PSU’s touchdowns in their season opener. He finished the day with two touchdowns and 130 receiving yards. If the Ducks cannot defend him, it will be very difficult for them to get off the field.

The offensive game plan should be very a simplistic one for Cristabol. Under first-year defensive coordinator Payam Sadaat, the Portland State defense allowed an astonishing 10.1 yards per play and 636 total yards. 420 through the air and 216 on the ground.

Those numbers are so mind blowing that the Vikings basically allowed a first down every play. Makes sense seeing how they gave up 72 points. So for the Ducks, just simplify the playbook. Focus on the fundamentals, tighten up a few loose screws and fly right over this week defense.

ESPN gives the Ducks a 99.7% chance of beating the Portland State Vikings this Saturday, odds everyone should take. Week one jitters are a thing of the past and it’s time to continue building. Solid pass defense and a fundamentally sound offensive attack will allow the Ducks to start this year 2-0 and build towards the future.

Sports Al Dente 2019

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