Preview: Oklahoma at Oregon
By Douglas Kroll
With week three upon us, and so many great matchups on the slate, one of the least-heralded contests will take place in Eugene, Oregon between the Oklah oma Sooners and the Oregon Ducks. In a rematch of last years Holiday Bowl, the Ducks will try and get some revenge after the Sooners walked away with a 17-14 win to end last season.
After being the favorite last week at Fresno St., and narrowly escaping, the Ducks will be favored once again this week. But, for the second straight week, they may also be the upset pick of Saturday.
The Sooners, who will be playing their second straight Pac-10 team, will have to be able to stop a potent Oregon offense which has been in full throttle the first two weeks of the season. They are averaging 39.5 points and 456.5 yards per game, including over 200 yards on the ground. Junior QB Dennis Dixon will get his first crack at Oklahoma, and so far this season has looked good in his first two games in the green and yellow. Dixon has thrown for 476 yards and a touchdown and is completing two-thirds of his passes.
Sophomore running back Jonathan Stewart will return to the lineup after an impressive opening game against Stanford, in which he ran for 168 yards. An ankle injury allowed Stewart to only run one time for three yards last week.
When it comes to stopping the run, this is where Oregon may find itself in a little bit of trouble. With one of the better running backs in the nation in Adrian Peterson coming to town, the Ducks will have to do better than allow over 150 yards per game rushing.
The Sooners have relied heavily upon the junior running back, with new quarterback Paul Thompson still trying to figure out the offense. Peterson has rushed for 304 yards and three touchdowns in the first two weeks. While Thompson has struggled at times, he hasnt been a complete flop when it comes to replacing Rhett Bomar under center. Thompson has completed just over 60 percent of his passes and thrown four touchdowns, but hes also been intercepted three times, a ratio that will have to get better as the season goes along.
Thompsons favorite target thus far, has been Malcolm Kelly. Hes hauled in only nine passes, but two of them have been for touchdowns with both of them coming last weekend against Washington. Kelly leads the team in every receiving category heading into Eugene.
One thing that Oklahoma does need to step up is there defensive line play. Teams have averaged nearly 170 yards on the ground, and they have only picked up one sack on the young season. The defense will also be hungry for their first interception of the year, going empty-handed against UAB and the Huskies.
The Sooners hope to improve to 3-0 for the seventh time in the last eight years, while Oregon will look to do so for the second consecutive season.
Douglas Kroll is an independent contributor to College Football Poll.com.
More: Oklahoma at Oregon
Compiled from School Media Releases
Oregon (2-0, 1-0 PAC-10) returns home from a hard-fought 31-24 triumph at Fresno State to face Oklahoma (2-0, 0-0 Big 12) who downed Washington 37-20 last week in Norman.
This is the third consecutive season that the two teams have met, but only the seventh in history. Oklahoma won 31-7 in Norman in 2004. The Sooners won 17-14 in last year's Holiday Bowl.
Oregon is still looking for its first victory over the Sooners, trailing 6-0 in the series which dates back to 1958. With the exception of last seasons Holiday Bowl game in San Diego, all of the meetings have taken place in Oklahoma. Prior to Oregon's trip to Norman in 2004, the two teams had not faced off since 1975. The series has been anything but kind to the Ducks as the Sooners have outscored Oregon, 201-31. Last seasons Holiday Bowl was the closest margin of victory for Oklahoma.
Oklahoma is 22-13-1 against the PAC-10. Head Coach Bob Stoops is in his eighth season with the Soonersand boasts a 28-6 record vs. non-conference opponents, a 21-8 road record and is 22-7 vs. ranked opponents.
Running back Adrian Peterson is looking to become the programs all-time rushing leader. He currently has 304 rushing yards after two games and needs 781 more to surpass the mark set by Billy Sims (4,118, 1975-79).
Oregon is 23-1 in non-conference home games under head coach Mike Bellotti. The Ducks' lone non-conference loss at home under Bellotti was a 30-24 setback to Indiana in 2004. Under Bellotti, Oregon is 31-5 overall in regular-season non-conference contests, and 4-0 at home vs. Top 25 non-conference teams. The Ducks' last loss to a non-conference foe was a 31-7 defeat at then-No. 2 Oklahoma in 2004.
Oregons win over Fresno State last Saturday was Bellottis 92nd win with the Ducks, making him the winningest coach all-time at the school. Bellotti entered the 2006 season one win shy of Rich Brooks mark of 91 and tied the mark with a 48-10 win over Stanford in week one.