The Ohio State football schedule 2021: Meet the Oregon Ducks

Joe Harrington
The Columbus Dispatch

The last time Ohio State played Oregon, the Buckeyes beat the Ducks for the 2014 National Championship.

But this time the game will be a little earlier in the season. 

The marquee matchup on Ohio State's non-conference schedule will kickoff at noon on Sept. 11 in Columbus when the Oregon Ducks make the cross-country flight to Ohio. 

The Buckeyes were scheduled to play Oregon in Eugene, Ore., last season but that game was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This will be the first regular season non-conference game the Buckeyes have played since Sept. 21, 2019 against Miami (Ohio), a 76-5 win at Ohio Stadium. 

Oregon, seeking its third-straight Pac-12 championship, is expected to be a top 25 team when the season begins in September. Led by a potential No. 1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon could have an elite defense that also includes standouts Noah Sewell and Isaac Slade-Matautia. 

This is the first matchup against a Pac-12 team for the Buckeyes since the Buckeyes defeated Washington in the 2019 Rose Bowl, coach Urban Meyer’s last game with the Buckeyes. Ohio State also defeated Oregon State 77-31 earlier that season. 

Ohio State is 9-0 all-time against Oregon since 1958, the biggest win coming in 1967, a 30-0 win. The two schools are already scheduled to play each other again in 2032 and 2033.

Here's what we know about the Oregon Ducks. 

What Oregon football did in 2020

Like the Big Ten, the COVID-19 pandemic eliminated much of the schedule for the Pac-12. Oregon finished 4-3 with one game canceled due to the pandemic. The Ducks won the Pac-12 championship when they defeated No.13 USC in the Pac-12 Championship Game, 31-24. 

Oregon finished the season with a 34-17 loss to Iowa State in the Fiesta Bowl. 

The program then took another hit when starting quarterback Tyler Shough transferred to Texas Tech. Shough threw for 1,559 yards and 13 touchdowns as he replaced NFL standout Justin Herbert last season. 

Recruiting:Oregon leads Pac-12 in recruiting for third straight year

What the Ducks are expected to do in 2021

Anthony Brown is slated to be the quarterback in 2021 after he passed for 164 yards last season. The 6-foot-2 senior quarterback began his career at Boston College, where he started six games in 2019. 

But Oregon is expected to be led by Thibodeaux. Listed at 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, he was the Pac-12 Championship game MVP, an Associated Press third-team All-American and the conference's lineman of the year. He had three sacks in 2020 but had nine as a freshmen in 2019. 

Thibodeaux was once the No. 1-ranked overall high school recruit. 

The Ducks are expected to compete with USC for the conference championship according to several preseason prognosticators, including the Sporting News. 

Coaching hires:Ranking the college football head coaching hires for 2021, from Gus Malzahn to Terry Bowden

Who is Oregon football coach Mario Cristobal?

Mario Cristobal became the head coach at Oregon in December of 2017 when Willie Taggart left for the Florida State job.

A former head coach at Florida International University, Cristobal's Ducks lost the 2017 Las Vegas Bowl to Boise State, 38-28, but he was given the fullt-ime job. 

In his first two seasons at Oregon, he's gone 21-6 and 2-0 in bowl games, winning the 2019 Pac-12 championship. 

A lauded offensive line coach, Cristobal worked for Butch Davis, Greg Schiano and Nick Saban during his time as a position coach. In six years at FI, Cristobal went 27-47, but went from 1-11 in 2007 to 7-6 and a Little Caesars Pizza Bowl win in 2010. 

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