EUGENE, Ore. — The Brigham Young Cougars played one of the most exciting games during Week 2, outlasting the Baylor Bears in double overtime in front of a packed home crowd. The Cougars' brutal schedule, which they're calling the Independence Farewell Tour, doesn't let up in Week 3 as they travel to Eugene to take on the Oregon Ducks.
Oregon had a terrible start to their season when they were slapped around by Georgia on a very public stage. In Week 2, they had a nice bounce-back, although it came against Eastern Washington, a team I wouldn’t be getting all that excited about defeating. The Ducks have a massive test in Week 3, which is beating a Top-15 team at home. This would be the biggest win thus far for Dan Lanning and could pump some confidence and momentum into an Oregon team that is eager for a big, national showing.
I really like Oregon’s chances in this game for a couple of reasons.
BYU is coming off a thriller
Any time your emotions are riding high, there is a great chance of a letdown brewing. The Cougs knocked off a Top-10 team and had their fans storm the field at home. That means energy is riding high, but that isn't always a good thing. Teams get cocky and overconfident after a performance like the one that BYU just had, and if they don't bring their full focus to Oregon, they could be set up for a big disappointment. On top of that, the Cougs had to play two overtime periods. To say there may be some fatigue to begin this game could be an understatement. While BYU played well into the night and morning on Saturday, the Ducks were sitting the starters by the fourth quarter and cruising to a massive win with rest on their side.
Oregon is disciplined…and at home
I am not taking anything away from the BYU football team itself, but I will say that crowd noise and a very undisciplined Baylor team helped lead to their win last week. The Bears were charged with 14 penalties. They are easily in the Bottom 30 of most penalized teams in the nation after two weeks. The noise inside LaVell Edwards Stadium was out of control, and their head coach Dave Aranda said that his guys were playing with big eyes.
That simply isn’t going to happen in Eugene. The Ducks are going to control the tempo, the noise, and the atmosphere. Look at it this way – BYU needed Baylor to commit 14 penalties to beat them in double overtime. The Ducks have 11 total flags charged to them through two weeks of play. Oregon won’t shoot themselves as the Bears did. Noise will be on their side, not against them.
Big wide receiver questions
BYU, impressively, pulled off last week's win without their top two receivers, Puka Nacua and Gunner Romney. If those two are sidelined this week, there isn't going to be an element of surprise this time around. Last week, Chase Roberts went off for BYU, but the Ducks can game-plan for him this week, and that takes away an element of surprise for the Cougs.
Even if these two wide receivers suit up, snap counts could be in place, and their health isn’t likely to be at 100%. Nacua came into this year as one of the best prospects at the receiver position, but he was seen wearing a boot before Saturday’s game.
Bo Nix bounce-back
Bo Nix was downright bad in Week 1 against Georgia. He was 21-37 for less than 200 yards passing, and he turned it over twice through the air. While I am not putting a ton of weight on the Eastern Washington defense, I think having a strong Week 2 will help Nix in this game, especially with his confidence. Nix was incredibly efficient, going 28-33 with five touchdown passes.
The noise really got to the Baylor passing game last week, and Aranda was concerned with pass blocking, so they practically ditched the pass and ran the ball over 50 times. It got predictable, and it got sloppy. The Ducks can hurt BYU through the air, which could be a massive difference in this game.
BYU has given up just 300 yards of passing in two weeks, and Lanning weighed in on that this week.
"They just do a good job of mixing it up. When it is pass, they do a great job of recognizing and getting out," Lanning said. "They key run pass really well, they present different looks, they kind of let their core play the front and they kind of handle the run. They play really well on the perimeter, a lot of overlap up front. Their secondary does a good job, they have really talented corners and a good secondary. Those guys kind of handle the wideouts, and they play off of each other well."
Oregon is a 3.5-point favorite at home here, and I am not expecting this thing to be a blowout, but I think Oregon gets the job done and does it well. I have them winning by at least six, thanks to a Nix bounce-back and a BYU mental letdown. Oregon 30, BYU 24
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