Tailgate Talk

Preview: South Dakota at Oregon

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Let’s call this what it is: A glorified scrimmage for the Oregon Ducks.

But considering the top-10 clash against Michigan State a week down the road, Saturday’s game against South Dakota has some elements worth watching.

Saturday, Oregon fans will get to know Royce Freeman, a highly recruited freshman running back. He is battling for playing time in a crowded backfield led by Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner.

A position battle is taking place at tight end, where junior Pharaoh Brown is competing with sophomores Johnny Mundt and Evan Baylis.

A cadre of young receivers looks to begin filling the void left by Bralon Addison’s injury. Redshirt freshman Devon Allen earned a starting spot with an impressive camp. Dwayne Stanford and Darren Carrington are battling for playing time.

The Ducks’ gameplan will be rather plain, as they don’t want to tip their hand to Michigan State. Most importantly, Oregon will hope to avoid injuries.

And by the second half, when the game is a blowout, those at Autzen can enjoy the improved cell-phone reception fans in the stadium are promised.

If you’re curious about South Dakota, the Coyotes finished 4-8 last season and finished seventh in the FCS (Division I-AA) Missouri Valley Conference. Click here to learn more.

South Dakota at Oregon

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Autzen Stadium, Eugene.

TV, radio: Pac-12 Networks, AM-750

Key to game: For Oregon, just don’t suffer any injuries. For South Dakota, make sure the $525,000 they’ll earn for Saturday’s demolition is spent wisely.

Quotable: “The odds against us are stacked, but the odds of us being a better football team are really good. … This is stuff our kids will tell their grandchildren.” — South Dakota coach Joe Glenn.

Prediction: Oregon 56-0

Micah Rice

Micah Rice

Columbian Sports Editor Micah Rice is the author of Tailgate Talk: College football from a Clark County perspective.