The ACC sends a representative out west to battle a Pac-12 foe. The Virginia Cavaliers, in game two of the Bronco Mendenhall era, travel to face the #24 Oregon Ducks Saturday night. Kickoff is set for 10:30 pm ET from Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon with national television coverage courtesy of ESPN. The week 2 matchup currently has Oregon favored by 24.5 points in the contest with the over/under set at 70.5 points.
Virginia vs. Oregon Vegas Betting Preview
Virginia opened up their season with a disappointing 37-20 loss at home to FCS program Richmond Saturday afternoon. Oregon, with yet another new face under center, had little trouble dispatching FCS school UC Davis, 53-28, Saturday night at home. This is just the second time the schools have met on the gridiron. Oregon won the only other matchup, pummeling Virginia 59-10 in Charlottesville back in 2013.
Free Pick and Betting Spread Prediction: Oregon -24.5
Virginia envisioned progress and a potential bowl game after bringing Mendenhall over from BYU to coach. He was 99-43 in his time with the Cougars and led BYU to a bowl game in each of his 11 seasons at the helm. The Cavaliers’ issue is that they don’t boast the kind of talent that Mendenhall had in Provo. It is a time consuming process to find recruits to fit a system and then getting them to commit to a program that has just one winning season in the last eight years. Starting off with a double digit loss to a team the school paid $375,000 to just to play the game is disheartening.
Kurt Benkert was solid in his first start at quarterback. He completed 26 of 34 passes for 264 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. The run game was nonexistent as the Cavaliers ran the ball 21 times for 38 yards. Albert Reid led the team with six carries for 28 yards. The team needed more than seven carries for seven yards from Taquan Mizzell. He ran for a team leading 671 rushing yards in 2015. Olamide Zaccheaus (75 yards) and Keeon Johnson (46 yards) each had five catches and a touchdown for Virginia. Doni Dowling added four catches for 53 yards and a touchdown. Virginia turned the ball over four times and didn’t force a turnover. They were outgained by a 523-302 margin. Those numbers are bad no matter how you look at them. The Cavaliers are reeling and it’s only been one week.
Oregon moved from Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota to Eastern Washington graduate transfer Vernon Adams to Montana State graduate transfer Dakota Prukop under center the last three seasons. In the Blur offense of Mark Helfrich, it doesn’t seem to matter who’s playing quarterback: the Ducks pile up points and yards. You could run the offense and Oregon wouldn’t skip a beat. That’s a testament to the skill players that are on the roster. The Ducks had eight scoring drives in the opener and none took longer than 3:13. Five of those drives were completed in under 90 seconds. Teams can’t keep up with that breakneck pace.
Prukop was solid in his debut, completing 21 of 30 passes for 271 yards and three scores. He added 36 yards and a score on the ground, showcasing his versatility. Royce Freeman led the Ducks on the ground with 11 carries for 87 yards and two scores. Tony Brooks-James chipped in five carries for 57 yards plus a touchdown. Darren Carrington II led the Ducks with seven catches for 117 yards plus a score. Johnny Mundt (three catches, 52 yards) and Jalen Brown (two grabs, 17 yards) each caught a touchdown pass. The Ducks rolled up 522 yards of offense in the game despite holding the ball for only 22:43. When you can score fast like Baylor or Oregon does, you don’t need to hold the ball for 30 plus minutes a game.
Oregon racks up yards and points like a pinball machine on tilt. They’re nearly impossible to stop without the right scheme and the right personnel. Virginia doesn’t have either of those right now. Mendenhall needs time to recruit and bring in guys that fit his system. I spoke to my cousin Bryce, who is big into Virginia sports and asked him if he thought the Cavaliers had a shot here. He said that Oregon could be favored by 35 and you’d still be safe laying the points. When someone with his finger on the pulse of a team speaks, it makes sense to listen. Oregon cruises in this contest. Make sure to check out the rest of our NCAA football picks for week 2!
Oregon is 6-2 ATS in their last eight after a straight up win by at least 20 points and 28-11-2 ATS in their last 41 against teams with a losing record. Virginia is 1-3-1 ATS in their last five non-conference games and 1-3-1 ATS in their last five in September.