Preview: Wyoming at Oregon
It doesn’t have the ring of “Breakfast at Wimbledon,” but brunch at Autzen happens Saturday with an 11 a.m. kickoff against Wyoming.
Oregon fans are in the mood for mimosas and Bloody Marys after last week’s 46-27 win over No. 7 Michigan State, which ended with the Ducks scoring 28 unanswered points.
Marcus Mariota showed why he’s a Heisman front-runner, throwing for 318 yards and three touchdowns. That performance earned him the Walter Camp National Player of the Week and Davey O’Brien Quarterback of the Week awards.
Oregon’s defense took over the game in the second half against Michigan State, allowing 164 yards of offense after surrendering 304 in the first half. A big part of that was the surge by the defensive line, led by 6-foot-8, 290-pound junior Arik Armstead.
An area of concern for Oregon is the offensive line’s health. Having already lost right tackle Tyler Johnstone to a torn ACL, the line took another hit Saturday when right tackle Andre Yruretagoyena suffered a knee injury. Tyrell Crosby stepped in and played well, meaning the 310-pound freshman will get his first career start on Saturday.
Wyoming has won a pair of low-scoring games against Rocky Mountain opponents to open the season. After holding Montana to 42 rushing yards in a 17-12 victory, the Cowboys needed a last-minute touchdown to beat Air Force 17-13 last week.
Wyoming’s main offensive weapon is Dominic Rufran, who had six catches for 119 yards last week. The senior has a catch in 39 consecutive games, which is the second-longest streak in the nation.
Senior linebacker Jordan Stanton was named Mountain West Player of the Week after having 13 tackles against Air Force.
The Cowboys have 17 returning starters and have committed just three penalties all season.
Beyond the football field, there’s also a clash of culture and politics at play. Wyoming’s football website proudly boasts that it’s “Powered by Wyoming Coal,” thanks to a sponsorship by the Wyoming Mining Association.
That would never fly in Eugene, where people are powered by songs like this.
Wyoming at Oregon
When: 11 a.m. Saturday at Autzen Stadium, Eugene
TV, radio: Pac-12 Network, AM-750
Records: Wyoming (2-0), Oregon (2-0)
Key to game: Wyoming’s defense is stout, but it has never faced anything like Oregon. If the Ducks can avoid injuries and complacency, they should match their season average of 55 points per game.
Quotable: “The Autzen experience is enhancement-free. We can very safely say no augmentation, or enhancement, no silicone or otherwise.” Oregon coach Mark Helfrich after a Michigan State beat reporter alleged Oregon was amplifying the crowd noise through Autzen speakers last week.
Prediction: Oregon 55-7