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Stanford-Oregon is a contrast in styles

Ducks' chances of knocking off unbeaten Cardinal are linked to their big-play offense.

November 08, 2011|By Diane Pucin
  • Oregon Coach Chip Kelly understands the importance of keeping Stanford out of the red zone heading into the Ducks' Pac-12 Conference showdown with the Cardinal on Saturday.
Oregon Coach Chip Kelly understands the importance of keeping Stanford… (Justin Edmonds / Getty Images )

The big college football game of this weekend is between third-ranked Stanford and sixth-ranked Oregon and the theme from Pac-12 Conference football coaches Tuesday was the contrasting styles of the league's top teams.

"These are two different teams, philosophy-wise," Washington State Coach Paul Wulff said. "If Stanford can contain the big plays, Stanford has the advantage. If Oregon can create enough big plays, then Oregon has the advantage. Ultimately, I think who prevails in their style of offense will win."

Oregon Coach Chip Kelly compared Stanford to top-ranked Louisiana State, at least as far as a power running game. "But obviously," Kelly added, "Stanford's passing game is a lot different."

Stanford is also 52 of 52 in red-zone scoring this season, meaning it has put points on the board each time it has reached the opponent's 20-yard line.

"We're 38 of 42, I think," Kelly said, "but we've been beating some teams pretty good. We're not trying to score in the red zone if we're up 69 on somebody. But getting there 52 times and scoring 52 times is pretty phenomenal."

Stanford Coach David Shaw noted that his team will be missing one major player.

Chris Owusu, a senior wide receiver from Westlake Oaks Christian High, will not play against the Ducks. He left the Oregon State game last Saturday by ambulance after suffering his third concussion in 13 months.

"Chris is doing great," Shaw said, "but we're not going to put him out on the field this week. Right now we're relieved. He's passed all the [medical] tests, but to have concussions, multiple, within the same month is cause for concern and we'll be overly cautious."

Owusu also suffered a concussion in Stanford's win over USC two weeks ago.

Defending De'Anthony

Oregon freshman De'Anthony Thomas, from Los Angeles Crenshaw High, is listed as a running back, but he is doing so much more.

California Coach Jeff Tedford, who recruited Thomas, called him "dynamic," and complimented Kelly for giving Thomas a starring role.

"You never know how a freshman will make the transition to college football," Tedford said. "Oregon has done a nice job of putting him in position to get in open space and do the things he does best, in the backfield and as a receiver, and [Thomas] has done a real nice job in comprehending what they're trying to get done."

Thomas had a 69-yard kickoff return against Washington last Saturday.

Just one — please

Colorado Coach Jon Embree said he feels some urgency to win a conference game this season, the first for the Buffaloes (1-9 overall, 0-6 in the Pac-12). Colorado faces Arizona on Saturday in a final chance for a home win before traveling to UCLA and Utah to finish the season.

"It means a lot to the kids," Embree said. "We're running out of opportunities for these seniors. To go a whole year without a Pac-12 win would be disheartening for these guys."

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