Tennessee Volunteers Vs. Oregon Ducks: Game Preview And Stat Comparison

A weekly look at our upcoming opponent's recent history, with animated drive charts, links to SB Nation game pages, and statistical comparisons.

CAVEATS: I don't want to hear it. We have only one 2010 game for each team to look at in previewing this weekend's matchup. No, we're not going to draw concrete conclusions based on what happened in those games and predict with any even minute degree of certainty what it means for this weekend, but neither are we going to ignore what happened last week just because it doesn't hold the power of a Magic 8 Ball. Just because data is insufficient doesn't mean it doesn't have something to say. Cool? Cool.

Also, this is a long post, so I've put the conclusions and predictions before and after the meat.

Particularly Sketchy Conclusions

  • It's nice to finally have data to work with and all, but really, we can conclude very little about each team's respective season-opening blowout wins. (Yes, this is the second time I've said that, and it won't be the last.)
  • Much of the Ducks' success last week was made easier due to excellent starting field position.
  • Oregon's offense appears to be quite well-balanced. As many superlatives as they earned last week, QB is found a bit further down the bell curve.
  • The Ducks' defense was solid, keeping New Mexico mostly on the wrong side of the field. If there was one thing they didn't beat everyone else at last week, it was sacks, as they only had one during the entire blowout/shutout.
  • They were loaded at running back last week, and with the return of LaMichael James this week, they will be ALL CAPS LOADED.
  • If Cliff Harris returns a punt for a TD against the Vols, expect a thousand mentions of "Brandon James" and "special teams" within five words of "[FULMERIZED]" in the comment thread.

Predictions

  • Oregon 35, Tennessee 24. Sorry.

Schedule and Animated Drive Charts

Kentucky Logo
New Mexico Lobos 9/4/10 win 72 - 0 coverage

 

FULL SCREEN VERSION

 

Hmm. Where to begin? How about with the fact that anytime the first drive line obscures the yard line numbers, it means there was an OVERSIZED LOAD AHEAD of possessions. Let's see. Yes, 32 to be exact.

What else? I mean, apart from the fact that it looks like nearly a perfect game? Field position, for one. Except for two of their first three possessions, the Ducks consistently had great starting field position. Oh, and this: those TDs without any drive lines at all were special teams TDs, punt returns by Cliff Harris, specifically. And this: an average of just over six plays per drive, and they scored on 12 of 16 possessions. Of the four they didn't score on, one was due to them miraculously possessing the ball when the game clock expired, one was an interception at the seven yard line, and one was a missed field goal from the nine yard line.

And we haven't even talked about the defense. But I'm already tired, so all I'll say is that New Mexico got past midfield only three times and never got any further than the 35.

National Unit Rankings

Now on to the national rankings.

OFFENSIVE RANKINGS
Category National
Rank
Actual National
Leader
Actual Conf
Rank
Pacific-10
Conference Leader
Actual
Rushing Offense 4 369.00 Air Force 437.00 1 Oregon 369.00
Passing Offense 7 351.00 Hawaii 459.00 2 Arizona 413.00
Total Offense 1 720.00 Oregon 720.00 1 Oregon 720.00
Scoring Offense 1 72.00 Oregon 72.00 1 Oregon 72.00
Passing Efficiency 34 154.32 Mississippi St. 262.99 6 Stanford 236.40
Sacks Allowed T-1 .00 UCF .00 1 Oregon .00

 

Offensive observations. You read the opening caveats, right? Okay. Yeah, it was New Mexico, but hooboy, I'd hate to live in a world where 72 points and 720 yards wasn't 1st in both total and scoring offense. Note, too, the remarkable balance: 369 yards on the ground and 351 through the air. If there's any good news to be found here, it's that there are six teams somewhere in the nation with a better passing offense and 33 QBs with a better passing efficiency. After week ones against nobodies, anyway. Onward.

DEFENSIVE RANKINGS
Category National
Rank
Actual National
Leader
Actual Conf
Rank
Pacific-10
Conference Leader
Actual
Rushing Defense 7 25.00 Kent St. -65.00 2 California 14.00
Pass Efficiency Defense 5 54.76 Ohio .00 1 Oregon 54.76
Total Defense 2 107.00 California 81.00 2 California 81.00
Scoring Defense 1 .00 West Virginia .00 1 Oregon .00
Pass Defense 10 82.00 Ohio .00 3 UCLA 64.00
Sacks T-60 1.00 Miami (FL) 8.00 8 UCLA 6.00
Tackles For Loss T-20 8.00 Miami (FL) 14.00 2 UCLA 9.00

 

Defensive observations. Solid, of course, as you'd expect from a shutout. A bit of good news here, though, and that is as much as the Ducks had their way with the Lobos on both sides of the ball, they didn't do much damage in their backfield. Eight TFLs is nothing to sneeze at, but you'd think they could have managed more than a single sack in that game.

SPECIAL TEAMS AND TURNOVERS RANKINGS
Category National
Rank
Actual National
Leader
Actual Conf
Rank
Pacific-10
Conference Leader
Actual
Net Punting 106 .00 Michigan 51.00 10 Arizona St. 50.00
Punt Returns 1 44.67 Oregon 44.67 1 Oregon 44.67
Kickoff Returns 104 9.00 Central Mich. 81.00 9 UCLA 27.50
Turnover Margin 1 4.00 Oregon 4.00 1 Oregon 4.00

 

Special teams and turnovers observations. Well. When you return two punts for TDs in the first game, you'd think you'd lead the nation in punt returns. Beware the data (again), but they didn't do so well against New Mexico in the kickoff returns and net punting departments. These guys stink!

Stastical Comparison

I haven't asked Hooper to crank up the wizbang BlogPoll Computerer yet because I know better. In fact, the repeated caveats scattered liberally througout this post are designed solely to keep Hooper's brain from squirting out his pores. So no BlogPoll Computerer comparison until Hooper gives the green light and takes his heart medication.

Players to Watch

Category Player National
Rank
Actual
Rushing Kenjon Barner 11 147.00
Remene Alston T-27 110.00
Daryle Hawkins T-89 68.00
Passing Efficiency (Min. 15 Att./Game) Darron Thomas 33 156.87
Nate Costa 150.03
Total Offense Darron Thomas 55 220.00
Kenjon Barner T-94 147.00
Nate Costa 96 145.00
Remene Alston 110.00
Daryle Hawkins 68.00
Receptions Per Game Jeffrey Maehl T-61 5.00
Josh Huff 3.00
Receiving Yards Per Game Jeffrey Maehl T-45 91.00
Kenjon Barner 60.00
Josh Huff 45.00
David Paulson 42.00
Interceptions Avery Patterson T-3 1.00
Casey Matthews T-3 1.00
Punting (Min. 3.6 Punts/Game)
Punt Returns (Min. 1.2 Ret./Game) Cliff Harris 1 62.50
Kickoff Returns (Min. 1.2 Ret./Game)
Field Goals Eric Solis T-3 3.00
Scoring Kenjon Barner 1 30.00
Eric Solis T-6 18.00
Cliff Harris T-22 12.00
Daryle Hawkins 6.00
David Paulson 6.00
All-Purpose Runners Kenjon Barner 6 225.00
Cliff Harris T-92 125.00
Remene Alston T-94 124.00
Jeffrey Maehl 91.00
Daryle Hawkins 78.00
Sacks Spencer Paysinger T-27 1.00
Tackles
Tackles For Loss Brandon Bair T-19 2.50
John Boyett T-84 1.50
Spencer Paysinger T-84 1.50
Javes Lewis 1.00


Observations

Running backs. Kenjon Barner, whose name for some reason conjures up images of a convenience store in Auburn, Alabama, got 147 yards last week. Oregon's running game was so proficient that three RBs finished the week ranked in the top 100. And none of those guys will be the main guy this week, as LaMichael James returns from a suspension for "offseason trouble," which of course we know nothing about. James finished last season ranked as the 9th-leading rusher in the nation. Which is nice. So yeah, the running backs? Watch out for them.

Quarterback. Honestly, with the score and the offensive output of last week's game, I expected better numbers from Darron Thomas. Still, he was the Head Duck in Charge against New Mexico, so yeah, watch out for him, too.

Receivers/Tight Ends. Jeffrey Maehl, whose name my fingers refuse to type correctly without complaining, appears to be the team's go-to receiver. Again, though, you'd expect better numbers from the receivers, all things considered. The bad news is it probably means they shared the ball among many WR threats, so yeah, let's put them on the watch list, too.

Defense. Avery Patterson (DB) and Casey Matthews (LB) both had interceptions last week. Four different guys had tackles for lossses, and those came from everywhere (a DL, an LB, and two DBs). DL Brandon Bair ("kilt him a bar, when he was only three!") looks like he did the most damage behind the line with 2.5 TFLs. LB Spencer Paysinger had a sack.

Special teams. Our punting and punt coverage better be good this week because Cliff Harris, who ran two punts back for TDs last week, looks like the real deal after only one week.

Head to Head Comparisons

  Tennessee Logo Oregon Logo
Best Comparable
Result Against Best Comparable
Prediction
UT rush v. Oregon rush defense

332
(#7)

25
(#7)
UT Martin
(FCS)
332
120
UT pass v. Oregon pass defense 205
(#63)
82
(#10)
UT Martin
(FCS)
205
80
Oregon rush v. UT rush defense 56
(#20)
369
(#4)
UT Martin
(FCS)
56
180
Oregon pass v. UT pass defense 86
(T#12)
351
(#7)
UT Martin
(FCS)
86
140
UT scoring offense v. Oregon scoring defense 50
(#14)
0
(T#1)
UT Martin
(FCS)
50
24
Oregon scoring offense v. UT scoring defense 0
(T#1)
72
(#1)
UT Martin
(FCS)
0
35

 

Even when we have a full season of data, this section will include the caveat that these are informed guesses rather than mathematical calculations. This week in particular, I'm just pulling the predictions out of thin air and making sure they're significantly below the ceilings and above the floors of last week. That said, WOOOO IT'S THE NATION'S #1 OFFENSE AGAINST THE NATION'S #1 DEFENSE WOOO. SRSLY GUYS!

Particularly Sketchy Conclusions

  • It's nice to finally have data to work with and all, but really, we can conclude very little about each team's respective season-opening blowout wins. (Yes, this is the second time I've said that, and it won't be the last.)
  • Much of the Ducks' success last week was made easier due to excellent starting field position.
  • Oregon's offense appears to be quite well-balanced. As many superlatives as they earned last week, QB is found a bit further down the bell curve.
  • The Ducks' defense was solid, keeping New Mexico mostly on the wrong side of the field. If there was one thing they didn't beat everyone else at last week, it was sacks, as they only had one during the entire blowout/shutout.
  • They were loaded at running back last week, and with the return of LaMichael James this week, they will be ALL CAPS LOADED.
  • If Cliff Harris returns a punt for a TD against the Vols, expect a thousand mentions of "Brandon James" and "special teams" within five words of "[FULMERIZED]" in the comment thread.

Predictions

  • Oregon 35, Tennessee 24. Sorry.
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