BYU and Oregon have met six times previously, with the teams splitting the matchups 3-3. BYU won their last matchup in the 2006 Las Vegas Bowl 38-8, while Oregon last won in 1990 32-16 in Eugene.
Betting Line (as of this writing):
Oregon is -3.5 (O/U 58) via Caesar’s Sportsbook
Last week, the Cougars defense held its ground in double overtime in one of the biggest victories in LaVell Edwards Stadium since upsetting No. 1 Miami in 1990. As Baylor quarterback Blake Shapen’s pass sailed incomplete, it completed the 26-20 upset over the No. 9 Baylor Bears.
The Cougars entered the game with several issues, their return coverage game was disastrous against South Florida giving up 239 yards in kick return yards, then entering the Baylor game BYU would be without receivers Puka Nacua and Gunner Romney. As the game kicked off, Baylor’s stout and disciplined defense stifled a ground game that BYU was counting on.
Despite the struggles on third down (3 for 14), and generally poor running performance (33 carries 83 yards and a touchdown), Cougar quarterback Jaren Hall was efficient enough along with Chase Roberts' key third quarter touchdown pass to Hall, the Cougars were able to engineer the upset.
Cougars head coach Kalani Sitake knows this week’s matchup in Eugene won’t be any easier,
“So, I know that watching the film, they're well coached. They made a huge improvement from Week 1 to Week 2 in their level of execution and I know they played against Eastern Washington. That’s a perennial power of the FCS division. They’ve beaten FBS teams before and even P5 teams. So, to score that many points on a team like that, that's actually tough and well-coached, that that has our attention. And so, we're looking forward to that matchup and being on the road with our with our guys. Hopefully we can get some improvement going and show up at our best this weekend. It’ll be a great matchup, great challenge for us and looking forward to the game and really honored to be have this opportunity to go out to Eugene and play the game against a really good, ranked Oregon team.” - BYU Head Coach Kalani Sitake
The Cougars enter the game with Oregon on an five game winning streak against Pac-12 teams, winning six of their previous eight, Sitake said, “I don't think anybody's thought about that until you said it. I haven’t even thought about that. Our team doesn't think like that. We're just happy to play another game, you know? So, I'm not going to go into all the side stories and stuff like that. We’re going to be focused on this game, this opponent, this week, and what we see on film. And when we see is a really talented football team with a really good and just great quality of coaches. This is their first year and they're starting to get things, you can see from Week 1 to Week 2. We're expecting their best coming this Saturday. Like I said — I’ve said this every week — we just need to make sure that we bring our best as well.”
The Cougars enter the game with Oregon on a five game winning streak against Pac-12 teams, winning six of their previous eight, Sitake said,
“I don't think anybody's thought about that until you said it. I haven’t even thought about that. Our team doesn't think like that. We're just happy to play another game, you know? So, I'm not going to go into all the side stories and stuff like that. We’re going to be focused on this game, this opponent, this week, and what we see on film. And when we see is a really talented football team with a really good and just great quality of coaches. This is their first year and they're starting to get things, you can see from Week 1 to Week 2. We're expecting their best coming this Saturday. Like I said — I’ve said this every week — we just need to make sure that we bring our best as well.” - BYU Head Coach Kalani Sitake
After being demolished by the defending national champion Georgia in Atlanta 49-3, Oregon rebounded in a large way last week demolishing FCS power Eastern Washington 70-14.
The Ducks offense was absolutely dominant, racking up 40 first downs, 604 yards of total offense, 10 for 14 on third downs (including 2 for 2 on fourth down attempts), no turnovers, and possessed the ball for over 38 minutes.
Lanning spoke about BYU this week saying, “They are a good team. They’ve got great players across the board. We highlighted a couple of those guys today on our scouting report. They have NFL talent on their roster. They play really well. A lot of returning starters, a lot of continuity there as well.”
What To Watch For
Oregon executed on all cylinders last week on both sides of the ball. Offensively, it all begins with which Bo Nix will be ready. I don’t feel the 28 for 33 passing, 277 yards, five touchdowns like he did against Eastern Washington will happen, but he needs to be more of a threat than he was against Georgia. That is a lot of middle ground here. Running the ball, it seemed the committee of Mar’Keise Irving, Sean Dollars, and Byron Cardwell were firing on all cylinders.
Offensively, it all begins with which Bo Nix will show up. I don’t feel the 28-for-33 passing, 277 yards, five touchdown performance like he had against Eastern Washington will happen, but he needs to be more of a threat than he was against Georgia. That is a lot of middle ground here. The offensive line that consists of T.J. Bass and Alex Forsyth will absolutely have one of their toughest tasks of the season with the Cougar defensive line.
Oregon linebackers Noah Sewell and Justin Flowe will have to continue their excellent play.
“Really all of our linebackers have a big role in this game and we want to see them go have a lot of success. It changes the way you play as a linebacker based on how you’re being attacked. And the way we’ve been attacked is out in the open field means we got to make more open field tackles. So wherever the ball is at, that’s where we want those guys at. And they can go make plays on it and certainly impact the game them and the other nine guys on the field.” - Oregon head coach Dan Lanning
For BYU, the injury report looks promising. As of this writing, Gunner Romney should be ready to go, and per BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick on Coordinators Corner said the team is just waiting clearance for Romney.
As for Puka Nacua, he is still listed day-to-day with an ankle injury.
Sitake said both will be game time decision, “They look a lot better than last week,” Sitake said Wednesday after practice. “It’s day-to-day. It’s going to be a game-time decision. They look really good. They’ve been practicing and doing individual drills. I just know they are running and they look good.”
Impact freshman receiver Chase Roberts, who had a key passing touchdown and a popular target from Jaren Hall should have a bigger role this week regardless of Nacua or Romney’s status.
For BYU To Win:
It would be nice if BYU got back at least one of their receivers back that would be good for starters. Georgia left a blueprint of physicality against the Ducks to follow, the Cougars have so many returning starters in the trenches and they are massive athletes that relish in the physical play.
This was evident rewatching the Baylor game, they aren’t afraid to grind it out and be physical.
For Oregon To Win
Oregon must be ready to get punched in the mouth from BYU. This isn’t going to be a game where finesse will win over. BYU’s special teams could be an out for Oregon, but for how they improved against Baylor I doubt we will see a relapse against Oregon.
The elite offensive lineman the Ducks have will need to open holes for their backs and keep Nix upright, the Cougar defense last week against Baylor had four sacks, five QB Hurries, and six tackles for loss.
What Will Happen?
I am taking "The Y" this week over the Ducks, they have proven to be one of the most physical lines I have seen on both sides of the ball and were efficient enough on offense against one of the better defensive minds in the game in Dave Aranda.
Oregon is just an unknown commodity, are they as bad as they were against Georgia? No. Are they as good as they were demolishing an FCS power? No. But we will find a lot out. I feel BYU is battle tested for a struggle, where Oregon is not.