Despite 124 rushing yards and three touchdowns from running back De'Anthony Thomas, the Oregon offense showed moments of vulnerability in its 59-10 win at Virginia.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota missed some throws, tight end Colt Lyerla dropped three passes and the Ducks struggled to run between the tackles against the Cavaliers' stout four-man front, with running back Byron Marshall stuffed on a 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Those sorts of breakdowns are exactly how Stanford was able to knock off Oregon at home last season to cost the Ducks berths in the Pac-12 and BCS championship games.
Thomas also struggled to move the ball up the middle, confirming that for all his electric-playmaking ability Thomas will never be a featured back. He made up for it by getting to the edge seemingly at will, most impressively on a 40-yard touchdown run.
Mariota also turned on the jets for a 71-yard scoring scamper, and Oregon was able to use its speed advantage on the perimeter all afternoon.
In Oregon's favor, the young defensive line, led by sophomore end Arik Armstead, overpowered All-ACC senior offensive tackle Morgan Moses. But until Oregon can prove it can grind out those hard yards in the critical moments, the edge in the Pac-12 may well remain with Stanford.