The Ducks (2-0) take on the Tennessee Volunteers (2-0) and their ball-hawking defense this weekend at Autzen Stadium. Not only does this game feature two teams from the two of the best conferences in the country, it features two teams with vastly different styles of play on offense.
While the Ducks are a high-octane, pedal-to-the-medal type of offense, Tennessee likes a ground-and-pound offense, grinding out the game and controlling it by time of possession. Oregon will strike fast often and the Volunteers will try to keep this game a low-scoring affair.
Here’s how the teams stack up:
Oregon: Oregon’s offense can attest to being one of the best in the nation. According to cfbstats.com, Oregon is ranked third in scoring, second in rushing offense and second in total offense. The Ducks also lead the country in plays going over 20, 30 and 40 yards. A lot of the Ducks’ offensive success has to do with Marcus Mariota and De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon’s top-two offensive threats. At quarterback, Mariota is 26-for-49 with 433 yards and three touchdowns through the air while running for 235 yards on nine carries and three touchdowns. Thomas has 29 carries for 252 yards and five touchdowns, while receiver Josh Huff has eight catches for 173 yards.
Tennessee: The Volunteers have a very balanced attack with no single player stuffing the stat sheet. Quarterback Justin Worley leads the offense by going 22-for-32 for 246 yards and four touchdowns and is throwing to receivers Marquez North and Johnathon Johnson, who have combined for nine catches and 132 yards. The running back position is a tandem duo by Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane, combining for 53 carries, 350 yards and seven touchdowns.
Oregon: The Ducks rank seventh in the country by giving up an average of 6.5 points per game and fifth in turnover margin, averaging three a game. Oregon also has a solid pass rush, led by Tony Washington with 2.5 sacks on the season, and the defense is fourth in the nation with eight sacks on the year. Apart from their pass rush, the Ducks fly to the ball, forcing four fumbles on the year and recovering three of them so far. Derrick Malone leads Oregon with 23 tackles.
Tennessee: Under new head coach Butch Jones, the Volunteers defense has been rejuvenated, becoming absolute ball-hawks through the air. Tennessee is first in the country with seven interceptions, led by Brian Randolph (2). Not only does the defense get the interception, they know what to do with it, having returned two of them for touchdowns. At 6-feet-8-inches tall and weighing 351 lbs, Daniel McCullers anchors the defensive line.
Oregon: The Ducks are led by Thomas, one of the nation’s best return men and a preseason All-American for ESPN at the position. Matt Wogan and Alejandro Maldonado share the kicking duties and while Wogan is unproven, Maldonado has come up short in the past. So far this season, Maldonado is 100 percent, while Wogan is 6-for-7 due to a blocked extra point.
Tennessee: Vincent Dallas is Tennessee’s primary return man, averaging 30 yards per return so far on the season, good enough for 12th in the country. Michael Palardy does all the kicking for Tennessee, going a perfect 13-for-13 on PAT’s and 2-for-2 on field goal attempts thus far.