Lemieux and co. must be physical and get Oregon running hard again

Although banged up, running back CJ Verdell and defensive lineman Austin Failou are expected to play Saturday


-- Justin Herbert, QB: Herbert has looked nothing like the top-prospect he’s believed to be over the past two weeks. His struggles against Washington and Washington State are one of the main reasons the Ducks went 1-1 in those games, being unable to find a sustained rhythm on offense. Going against the Pac-12’s fourth-worst pass defense, Hebert must be assertive early to get Oregon back on track as one of the nation’s best offenses.

-- Troy Dye, LB: He is going to play a major role in Saturday’s game if Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate plays. When healthy, Tate is one of the nation’s most dynamic runners at the position and Dye’s athleticism makes him vital to containing Tate. Dye should be tasked with spying Tate the entire game, making it difficult for the quarterback to extend plays and drives with his legs, thus taking a staple of the Arizona completely out of play.

-- Shane Lemieux, OG: Lemieux needs to get Oregon’s running game back on track. After an up-and-down showing last week, Lemieux needs to step up as the leader of the offensive line and make sure they get back their physical and mauling ways of life. The Ducks are extremely tough to beat when running the ball successfully, and it comes to the offensive line winning the battle in the trenches to get that going.

-- Jordon Scott, NT: He is the most unheralded player on the entire team but his style of play is arguably the most important. Arizona averages 196.5 rushing yards per game (second in the Pac-12) and Scott is the answer to stopping that. Weighing 329-pounds, Scott needs to continue to be a disruptive force in the middle and eat up space, throwing off the Arizona runners and allowing his teammates to make the plays. Simply put, the more dominating Scott is, the tougher the Ducks are on defense.

Series History: 26-16 Oregon. The Ducks, currently on a two-game winning streak in the series, beat the Wildcats 48-28 last year when quarterback Justin Herbert returned from a five-game absence, Former running back Royce Freeman ran for four touchdowns and Oregon’s defense had its best outing of the season, limiting Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate to 191 total yards and two turnovers.

Quote to Note: “The sun will rise tomorrow. You have two choices; you can get on your feet and get up or lay down in bed,” linebacker Kaulana Apelu said following the loss to Washington State. “Knowing this team, knowing myself, we’ll get up (and) get ready to go.”

Roster Report

-- RB CJ Verdell suffered a hip flexor injury last week against Washington State but is still expected to play against Arizona

-- DL Austin Failou didn’t suffer any setbacks last week and is expected to go this week against the Wildcats

-- Backup QB Braxton Burmeister is full-go this week after having a minor knee procedure earlier in the season

-- LB Isaac Slade-Matautia is undergoing an MRI and X-rays after injuring his shoulder against Washington State. His status is unknown for this weekend

­-- WR Bryan Addison, a freshman, is serving an in-team suspension for violating a team policy — he is expected to return in a few weeks if he complies with what he needs to do

-- S Ugochukwu Amadi has been named a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, giving to the nation’s best defensive back

-- Oregon announced the kickoff for its game against UCLA on November 3 is at 4:30 p.m.