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MailTribune.com
  • Ducks face first test in Virginia

    Cavs will be first-ever ACC opponent Oregon has faced in regular season
  • By now even fans in the Eastern time zone are well aware of the lavish facilities in Eugene, the trend-setting Nike uniforms, the high-scoring spread offense and the recent string of top-five success under Chip Kelly.
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  • By now even fans in the Eastern time zone are well aware of the lavish facilities in Eugene, the trend-setting Nike uniforms, the high-scoring spread offense and the recent string of top-five success under Chip Kelly.
    In Charlottesville, Va., there seems to be a healthy respect for No. 2 Oregon and some curiosity about just how good these Ducks really are.
    "They have the best spread in college football, in my eyes, but I really think that we can give these guys a run for their money," Virginia defensive end Eli Harold told the Washington Post. "I just want to see what all the hype's about."
    The Ducks (1-0) and Cavaliers (1-0) will meet in an intriguing nonconference game today at Scott Stadium.
    Oregon manhandled Nicholls 66-3 in the opener with three players rushing for more than 100 yards. Meanwhile, Virginia's defense held BYU to 3.9 yards per play during a bruising 19-16 victory over the Cougars.
    This is the first time Oregon has ever played an ACC opponent in the regular season and the Ducks want to make a strong first impression.
    "People always say the Pac-12 is soft, so I'm looking forward to representing the Pac-12 and representing our school and showing that we can go out there and play some real football," sophomore running back Byron Marshall said. "I'm excited to see how this game goes. There were a lot of encouraging things for us after Week 1. We just know we have a lot of different weapons that we can utilize and big things are going to happen."
    Marshall ran for 124 yards and a touchdown on only eight carries last week. Starter De'Anthony Thomas was the featured back with a career-high 18 carries for 128 yards and two touchdowns.
    Those roles could be reversed against the Cavs' sizable defensive front.
    Offensive coordinator Scott Frost and running backs coach Gary Campbell were pleased with how Thomas ran between the tackles against Nicholls. They also want to do everything they can to keep the dynamic 5-foot-9, 169-pound junior out of harm's way.
    Marshall is listed at 5-10, 207 pounds. Ayele Forde (5-7, 181) was the No. 3 running back against Nicholls, finishing with 54 yards on three carries. The Ducks plan to add true freshman Thomas Tyner (5-11, 201) to the rotation today.
    Oregon's experienced offensive line paved the way for 500 yards on the ground and a school-record 772 total yards against the overmatched Colonels from the FCS at Autzen Stadium.
    BYU finished with 362 yards (175 rushing), punted 11 times and squandered the road win when a late interception set up Virginia's go-ahead touchdown.
    Harold (6-4, 230) finished with 11 tackles to lead the Cavs' formidable front, which also includes Jake Snyder (6-4, 270) at the other end and defensive tackles David Dean (6-1, 290) and Brent Urban (6-7, 295).
    "They're a big team. It's size that we didn't see last week, so it's going to be a challenge for our guys," Frost said. "I think they have pretty good athleticism for their size. Traveling all the way across the country to play a game like that is going to be a big challenge for us."
    The Ducks moved up a spot from preseason No. 3 in the Associated Press poll this week, the earliest the program has ever ascended to the No. 2 position.
    A resounding victory in ACC country would be a good start in living up to the 2013 hype.
    "People out there on the East Coast probably don't think too much of us Ducks," tight end Colt Lyerla said. "But we want to go out there and show them that we can still play ball."
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