Oregon Ducks at Colorado Buffaloes
- This will be the 18th meeting between Oregon and Colorado. The Ducks have won three straight to take a 9-8 all-time series lead. The 84 points scored in last year's affair were the second most in the series after the Buffaloes' 51-43 win in the 1998 Aloha Bowl, their last win in the series.
- Oregon is second in the nation with 59.8 points per game (Baylor, 69.7). The Ducks' 239 points through four games are the third most by any team since 1996 (1998 Kansas State, 249; 2007 Oklahoma, 246). Oregon is also first overall with 21 rushing touchdowns, which is tied for the most through four games since 1996 (1997 Nebraska; 2011 Georgia Tech).
- Colorado won two games in September for the first time since 2010. The Buffaloes have forced multiple turnovers in three consecutive games for the first time since September 18 - October 23, 2010 (five games). Colorado's eight forced turnovers through three games ties its most since 1996 (1999).
- Byron Marshall ran for a career-high 130 yards in the win over Cal last week. Marshall has averaged 6.79 yards per rush this season, second highest in the Pac-12 (Jordon James, UCLA -- 6.84) (minimum 45 rush).
- After catching 10+ passes for 200+ yards in each of the first two games, Paul Richardson was held to just five receptions for 70 yards in the Oregon State loss. However, Richardson continues to lead the nation with 162.3 receiving yards per game (minimum 0.75 G/Team G).
- Four different Oregon players have rushed for at least four touchdowns this season, more than any other team in the nation. In fact, Wisconsin is the only other team with as many as three players with four or more rushing touchdowns.
By TAYLOR BECHTOLD
(AP) -- With a deep, talented attack that includes Marcus Mariota, Oregon might not have a problem continuing its historic offensive start without its star running back.
The second-ranked Ducks are expected to be without leading rusher De'Anthony Thomas as they look to extend a nation-best 16-game road winning streak Saturday at Colorado.
Thomas has played a key role in a prolific Oregon offense that has scored at least 50 points in four straight games for the first time in school history. He's paced the nation's top rushing attack (332.5 yards per game) with 338 yards and six touchdowns on 42 carries for the Ducks (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12).
The speedy junior, however, slipped and clutched his lower right leg during the opening kickoff in Saturday's 55-16 win over California in a rain-soaked Pac-12 opener. After the half, he appeared on the sidelines with crutches and left practice Tuesday wearing a boot on his injured right ankle.
Running backs coach Gary Campbell told reporters on Tuesday that Thomas' return is "not going to happen" against the Buffaloes (2-1, 0-1).
"The type of player he is, you're going to miss him no matter what, but guys really stepped up - Byron (Marshall) stepped up and Thomas (Tyner) stepped up," Mariota told Oregon's official website. "The motto around here is 'next man up.' Those guys played well, and obviously we're going to miss De'Anthony, but he's going to take care of it and it's his business."
Thomas rushed for 97 yards and a score on just five attempts to help the Ducks jump out to a 56-0 halftime lead en route to a 70-14 victory over visiting Colorado last October.
With Thomas out, Marshall and Tyner will see their workloads increase. Marshall filled in with a career-high 130 yards and two touchdowns against the Golden Bears, but will have to protect the ball better after fumbling three times in the wet conditions.
"We have a ton of confidence in Byron, he had an exceptional fall camp there and needs to keep developing," said Mark Helfrich, in his first season as head coach of an Oregon team that has averaged 46.3 points during its road win streak.
The Buffaloes are likely to have their hands full with Mariota, who has emerged as a Heisman Trophy candidate by throwing for 1,003 yards and nine touchdowns without an interception. He also tops the nation among all players with 14.0 yards per rushing attempt.
Mariota, who completed 10 of 14 passes for 136 yards and two scores in last year's rout, leads an Oregon team that ranks second in scoring at 59.8 points per game and third in total offense with 599.3 yards per game.
Colorado has given up the second-most points (31.7) among Pac-12 teams and allowed Oregon State's Sean Mannion to throw for 414 yards and a school-record six touchdowns in a 44-17 loss in its league opener last Saturday.
After completing 68.3 percent of his attempts for 741 yards in wins over Colorado State and Central Arkansas, Connor Wood connected on 14 of 34 passes for 146 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions against the Beavers.
Paul Richardson was held to five catches for 70 yards and a score after totaling 417 yards and four touchdowns in his first two contests.
"They're definitely a lot better (than that performance)," said Helfrich, an offensive assistant at Colorado from 2006-08. "The first couple games were a lot different; they played really, really well."
Helfrich's squad may have to keep an eye on Michael Adkins II, who provided a spark with 98 yards on 14 carries Saturday in his season debut. The freshman running back displayed an impressive burst on runs of 19 and 33 yards.
"He's fast, he gets to sidelines, he runs hard," Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre told the school's official website. "I don't know if he's the starter but he's going to play."
The Buffaloes may have a difficult time getting back on track offensively against an Oregon team that ranks fourth in the nation in scoring defense at 10.8 points per game.
Colorado also will try to contain sophomore Bralon Addison, who ran back two punts for touchdowns Saturday and leads the country with 36.5 yards per return.
Oregon has a 9-8 lead in the all-time series after winning the past two meetings by a combined 115-16.
Updated October 2, 2013