#10 Oregon Football 2020 Preview

Oregon Ducks
Overall Rank: #10
#1 Pac-12
 Oregon Logo
Coming off a Pac-12 title, Coach Mario Cristobal has Oregon trending in the right direction. The Ducks lost their season opener to Auburn 27-21, but then reeled off nine wins in a row before losing at Arizona State on November 23rd. That did not stop them from reaching the Pac-12 title game though, where they crushed Utah 37-15. With a nice Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin, Oregon has plenty of momentum heading into the 2020 campaign.
2019 Record: 12-2, 8-1
2019 Bowl: Rose Bowl vs. Wisconsin (W 28-27)
Coach: Mario Cristobal (21-7 at Oregon, 48-54 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Joe Moorhead
Defensive Coordinator: Andy Avalos
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: CJ Verdell, RB, 1,220 yards
Passing: Tyler Shough, QB, 144 yards
Receiving: Johnny Johnson III, WR, 836 yards
Tackles: Jevon Holland, S, 66
Sacks: Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, 9.0
Interceptions: Jevon Holland, S, 4; Verone McKinley III, CB, 4
Other Key Returnees: RB Travis Dye, RB Cyrus Habibi-Likio, WR Jaylon Redd, OL Penei Sewell, CB Thomas Graham, S Brady Breeze, LB Isaac Slade-Matautia, CB Deommodore Lenoir, S Nick Pickett
Key Losses: QB Justin Herbert, WR Juwan Johnson, WR Jacob Breeland, OL Shane Lemieux, LB Troy Dye, LB Bryson Young
Of course the big question on offense is replacing sixth overall draft pick and four year starting quarterback Justin Herbert. Sophomore Tyler Shough is the most likely candidate to start under center this season. In limited action last season, he went 12-15 for 144 yards and three touchdowns. Johnny Johnson III and Jaylon Redd will again be the top targets for the Ducks. Johnson caught 57 passes for 836 yards, while Redd added 50 catches for 465 yards and seven more scores. Oregon was the second best team in the Pac-12 in rushing offense last season and they could look even more to the ground game now that Herbert is gone. CJ Verdell and Travis Dye were one of the most potent one-two running punches in the country last year. And they still have short yardage specialist Cyrus Habibi-Likio, who rushed for a team high ten touchdowns in 2019, to call upon. All-American tackle Penei Sewell is the only starter returning on the line though and that could prove to be a big problem for the offense.
The Ducks only allowed 16.5 points per game last season, ranking ninth in the nation. And this group should be even better. Kayvon Thibodeaux tallied 9.0 sacks last season and he was playing great down the stretch. If he can do that for the entire season, Oregon will have one of the best rushes in the country. At linebacker there are some more significant departures to deal with, most notably Troy Dye, who led the team with 84 tackles. However, the secondary is absolutely loaded with talent. Thomas Graham, Verone McKinley and Jevon Holland are all proven playmakers. With so much experience and talent, the Ducks defense should keep them in every game.
The Bottom Line:
Once again the Ducks will have a big non-conference game. After losing to Auburn last year, Oregon will hope to get the best of Ohio State in Eugene on September 12th. The biggest game in the Pac-12 should be a home date against USC on November 7th. That one could be a preview of the championship title game. If the defense lives up to their potential and the Ducks can be a little more efficient on offense, there is no reason why Oregon shouldn’t win another Pac-12 title.
Projected Bowl: Cotton Bowl
2019 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 174.9 (51st in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 258.2 (41, 5)
Total Offense: 433.1 (40, 4)
Scoring Offense: 35.4 (16, 2)
Rushing Defense: 108.9 (13, 2)
Pass Defense: 220.1 (53, 2)
Total Defense: 329.1 (22, 2)
Scoring Defense: 16.5 (9, 2)
Turnover Margin: 1.14 (5, 1)
Sacks: 2.93 (16, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 1.79 (49, 4)
Madness 2020 NFL Draft Rankings:
#2 Penei Sewell
#70 Deommodore Lenoir