Stanford’s pro-style scheme and Oregon’s spread option figure to thrive as they have all season. The Ducks lead the nation in scoring and the Cardinal rank fourth, though both spent September playing suspect-at-best competition.
So with the nation watching, Saturday’s successful team figures to be the one that plays the best defense. A couple of stops, a key turnover, or even some sure open-field tackling could separate these two teams.
At first glance, the challenge seems rougher for the Ducks. Although Heisman finalist and bulldozing tailback Toby Gerhart has moved on to the Minnesota Vikings, Stanford has maintained a physical, run-first plan.