Graham Watson

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday. Graham had a brief collegiate soccer career, but traded that in for the life of a journalist and hasn't looked back. Graham has worked for the Dallas Morning News and St. Louis Post-Dispatch, as well as ESPN.com and AOL. She is forever striving to be the cool mom to two boys.

  • National Championship Preview: Oregon's receivers

    Jan 1, 2015; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks running back Byron Marshall (9) runs the ball during the first half of the 2015 Rose Bowl college football game against the Florida State Seminoles at Rose Bowl. (Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)Jan 1, 2015; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks running back Byron Marshall (9) runs the ball during the first half of the 2015 Rose Bowl college football game against the Florida State Seminoles at Rose Bowl. (Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)The first College Football Playoff National Championship Game is finally upon us and Dr. Saturday has your pregame prep covered. Every day leading up to the game, we’ll breakdown a piece of each team and preview its role in the upcoming title game. Previous previews: Ohio State's front 7, Oregon's front 7, Ohio State's secondary, Oregon's secondary, Oregon's O-line, Ohio State's O-line, Oregon's running game, Ohio State's running game, and Ohio State's receivers.

    Season highlight: Like Ohio State, Oregon had its best receiving game against Michigan State. The Ducks had 17 catches for 318 yards and three receiving touchdowns in a 46-27 rout. It wasn’t the Ducks’ best game of the season in terms of numbers, but it was their best performance against one of the nation’s best defenses.

    Player to watch: Former running back Byron Marshall has emerged as the team’s top receivers with 66 catches for 834 yards and five touchdowns. He’s one of the team’s most versatile players as he also is

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  • National Championship Preview: Ohio State's receivers

    Ohio State wide receiver Devin Smith, right, catches a 39-yard touchdown pass as Wisconsin cornerback Sojourn Shelton defends during the first half of the Big Ten Conference championship NCAA college football game Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)Ohio State wide receiver Devin Smith, right, catches a 39-yard touchdown pass as Wisconsin cornerback Sojourn Shelton defends during the first half of the Big Ten Conference championship NCAA college football game Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)The first College Football Playoff National Championship Game is finally upon us and Dr. Saturday has your pregame prep covered. Every day leading up to the game, we’ll breakdown a piece of each team and preview its role in the upcoming title game. Previous previews: Ohio State's front 7, Oregon's front 7, Ohio State's secondary, Oregon's secondary, Oregon's O-line, Ohio State's O-line, Oregon's running game, Oregon's running game, Ohio State's running game..

    Season highlight: The Ohio State receiving corps was able to rack up 300 receiving yards in a 49-37 win against Michigan State that put the Buckeyes’ passing game on the map. Prior to the bowl game against Baylor, Michigan State had only allowed one other team to pass for 300 yards (Oregon, 343). Ohio State amassed four 300-yard passing games this season, but only one was against one the nation’s best defenses.

    Player to Watch: Devin Smith has been the favorite of Ohio State’s two quarterbacks this season simply because of his

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  • Ohio State gets extra practice time because of its academic calendar

    When Ohio State coach Urban Meyer learned of Oregon’s 39-point victory against Florida State in the College Football Playoff semifinal, he faked getting up from his press conference seat and made a comment that he needed to get to work on the gameplan right away.

    He probably didn’t realize at that moment that he’d have more time to prepare than the Ducks.

    Because of Ohio State’s academic schedule, the Buckeyes, who are still on winter break, are not held to the 20-hour practice limit that is instituted when classes are in session, according to ESPN. Ohio State’s spring semester begins on Monday.

    Oregon, however, started its spring semester this past Monday and is subject to the NCAA rules that limit practice hours. Practices, weightlifting, meeting and film sessions all count toward the 20-hour limit as do any other meetings that are mandated by coaches. And Oregon players also have to keep on top of their classwork, but with the semester just starting, the pressure probably isn’t too

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  • National Championship Preview: Ohio State's running game

    NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01:  Ezekiel Elliott #15 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs the ball against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the All State Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01: Ezekiel Elliott #15 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs the ball against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the All State Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)The first College Football Playoff National Championship Game is finally upon us and Dr. Saturday has your pregame prep covered. Every day leading up to the game, we’ll breakdown a piece of each team and preview its role in the upcoming title game. Previous previews: Ohio State's front 7, Oregon's front 7, Ohio State's secondary, Oregon's secondary, Oregon's O-line, Ohio State's O-line, Oregon's running game.

    Season highlight: Ohio State’s win against Michigan State was one of its most impressive wins of the season, but it was even more impressive because the Buckeyes were able to rush 41 times for 268 yards and four touchdowns against the nation’s top-ranked rushing defense. Most of the effort came from running back Ezekiel Elliott and now-injured quarterback J.T. Barrett, who had 154 and 86 rushing yards respectively and two touchdowns apiece.

    Player to Watch: Elliott, a sophomore, was an unknown coming into this season after spending his freshman year behind Carlos Hyde, but he has

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  • National Championship Preview: Oregon's running game

    Jan 1, 2015; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks running back Thomas Tyner (24) is tackled by Florida State Seminoles defensive back Tyler Hunter (1) during the first half of the 2015 Rose Bowl college football game at Rose Bowl. (Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports)Jan 1, 2015; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks running back Thomas Tyner (24) is tackled by Florida State Seminoles defensive back Tyler Hunter (1) during the first half of the 2015 Rose Bowl college football game at Rose Bowl. (Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports)The first College Football Playoff National Championship Game is finally upon us and Dr. Saturday has your pregame prep covered. Every day leading up to the game, we’ll breakdown a piece of each team and preview its role in the upcoming title game. Previous previews: Ohio State's front 7, Oregon's front 7, Ohio State's secondary, Oregon's secondary, Oregon's O-line, Ohio State's O-line.

    Season highlight: The Ducks rushed for 267 yards and four touchdowns against Stanford, one of the nation’s best rushing defenses. While the Ducks did not have a 100-yard rusher in the game, Royce Freeman, Thomas Tyner and quarterback Marcus Mariota all rushed for 63 or more yards. The 267 yards was the most Stanford allowed all season and the Cardinal did not allow another opponent to rush for more than 198 yards.

    Player to Watch: True freshman Freeman joins a long line of Oregon running backs that have made the Ducks’ offense one of the most potent in the country year after year. As a true freshman,

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  • National Championship Preview: Ohio State's O-line

    The first College Football Playoff National Championship Game is finally upon us and Dr. Saturday has your pregame prep covered. Every day leading up to the game, we’ll breakdown a piece of each team and preview its role in the upcoming title game. Previous previews: Ohio State's front 7, Oregon's front 7, Ohio State's secondary, Oregon's secondary, Oregon's O-line.

    Season highlight: Ohio State’s starting left guard Billy Price said he thought the Big Ten title game against Wisconsin completed the turnaround of the Ohio State offensive line and he was right. The game showed complete domination by a line that allowed just one sack and five tackles for loss while the offense rolled up 558 total yards and seven touchdowns in a 59-0 performance.

    Player to Watch: Guard Pat Elflein was one of just two Buckeyes with starting experience on the line this season and as the year has progressed, he has become the anchor. In the semifinal against Alabama, Elflein actually slid over to center when

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  • National Championship Preview: Oregon's O-line

    The first College Football Playoff National Championship Game is finally upon us and Dr. Saturday has your pregame prep covered. Every day leading up to the game, we’ll breakdown a piece of each team and preview its role in the upcoming title game. Previous previews: Ohio State's front 7, Oregon's front 7, Ohio State's secondary, Oregon's secondary.

    Season highlight: This season’s game against Stanford’s second-ranked scoring defense and third-ranked total defense was definitely one of the highlights of the season. Not only did Oregon’s offense run for 269 yards, pass for 258 yards and score six total touchdowns, it also allowed just one sack against a team that ranked No. 5 nationally in sacks. It also only allowed four tackles for loss.

    Player to Watch: Hroniss Grasu is not just the team’s center, he’s the anchor of the offensive line. Grasu missed the final three games of the year with a leg injury, but was back for the Rose Bowl against Florida State. In that Florida State game, the offensive line allowed one tackle for loss and no sacks.

    Strengths: In the past few games, Oregon has really tightened up its offensive line. In the Pac-12 title game and in the College Football Playoff Semifinal, quarterback Marcus Mariota was hardly touched — three tackles for loss and no sacks — and the offense is playing about as well as it’s played all year. The Ducks have rushed for more than 300 yards in each of the last two contests — the first time all season — and have passed for more than 300 yards as well.

    Weaknesses: If there’s one thing that has plagued this Oregon offensive line, it’s injuries. Consequently, Mariota has been sacked a lot (29 times) and there have been a lot of tackles for loss, but those numbers are a little misleading. Throughout the season, the Ducks had to piecemeal their offensive line with several younger players who were exploited in their first starts. While that was definitely a weakness early, the depth has become a bit of a strength as the Ducks head into their final game of the season.

    Overview: Oregon was supposed to have one of the best offensive lines in the country this season.

    It had five returning starters that had helped Oregon lead the Pac-12 in rushing, scoring and total offense in 2013. But those plans fell apart early in the season when left tackle Tyler Johnstone suffered a season-ending knee injury during fall camp.

    That forced Jake Fisher to move over from right tackle to Johnstone’s spot and put Andre Yruretagoyena at right tackle. That worked well until Yruretagoyena suffered a foot injury against Michigan State in Week 2 and Fisher injured his knee against Wyoming the following week.

    When those two players went down, things started to unravel quickly. During the following two games against Washington State and Arizona, Mariota was sacked 12 total times.

    And the injuries didn’t stop there.

    Tackle Matt Pierson suffered a knee injury against Stanford on Nov. 1 and then Grasu was injured against Utah on Nov. 8.

    Yet somehow, the offensive line has rallied late in the season to look like the line many thought it would be when the season started. But a lot has changed. Fisher is back starting at left tackle and Hamani Stevens, who is making his 27th consecutive start and filled in for Grasu at center, is at left guard. Grasu, as noted above, is at center, while Cameron Hunt, who jumped in this season because of injuries, makes his 11th start at right guard, and Tyrell Crosby, who has started the past four games, will be the right tackle. Yruretagoyena and Pierson are both backups.

    For the most part, Mariota and the running backs have gotten use to this line in some way, shape or form, and now the line has gotten used to each other. The offensive line is coming off its two best performances of the season, and will need to continue that trend against Ohio State's highly aggressive defensive line.

    However, that aggressiveness has been used against Ohio State at times, and Alabama showed that the running game could be effective. Ohio State is allowing 142 rushing yards per game, but Alabama was able to rattle off 170, with bruiser Derrick Henry leading the way with 95. And that was in spite of Alabama going away from the run late. The Tide probably could have put up even more yards as the offensive line continued to knock the Buckeyes off the ball and open big holes for the running game.

    Oregon is coming off back-to-back 301-yard rushing performances, their best performances of the season, and they’ve done it with a multitude of backs led by Royce Freeman and Thomas Tyner. Neither of Oregon’s backs are as big as Henry, but against Florida State, both players carried defenders for extra yards.

    The offensive line was the key to Oregon getting on the board early, establishing the run and executing after turnovers in the second half. It doesn’t need to do anything special against Ohio State to be successful, it just needs to keep doing what it’s been doing.

    For more Oregon news, visit DuckSportsAuthority.com.

    - - - - - - -

    Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at dr.saturday@ymail.com or follow her on Twitter!

    And don’t forget to keep up with all of Graham’s thoughts, witty comments and college football discussions on Facebook

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  • National Championship Preview: Oregon's secondary

    The first College Football Playoff National Championship Game is finally upon us and Dr. Saturday has your pregame prep covered. Every day leading up to the game, we’ll breakdown a piece of each team and preview its role in the upcoming title game. Previous previews: Ohio State's front 7, Oregon's front 7, Ohio State's secondary.

    Season highlight: The Pac-12 Championship game against Arizona stands out among all of Oregon’s games this season simply because the Arizona passing offense was among the nation’s best coming into the contest. Oregon limited the Wildcats to just 113 passing yards, a season low for both teams, and just one passing touchdown. The Wildcats were held scoreless in the first half for the first time since 2012. The Ducks also managed to nab an interception, something it hasn’t done often this season.

    Player to Watch: Senior cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu was the team’s star in the secondary before suffering a season-ending knee injury in the practices leading up to the

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  • National Championship Preview: Ohio State's secondary

    The first College Football Playoff National Championship Game is finally upon us and Dr. Saturday has your pregame prep covered. Every day leading up to the game, we’ll breakdown a piece of each team and preview its role in the upcoming title game. Previous previews: Ohio State's front 7, Oregon's front 7.

    Season highlight: The semifinal game against Alabama was arguably the best performance of the season for the Ohio State secondary. Even though it allowed 237 passing yards and two touchdowns, it held star receiver Amari Cooper to nine catches for 71 yards, which was only the second time Cooper didn’t average 10 or more yards per catch. The Buckeyes held Alabama to a 118.08 pass efficiency rating, which was their third-lowest of the season. And the 10.773 yards per completion were the second-lowest of the season.

    Player to Watch: Senior cornerback Doran Grant has been the anchor of an Ohio State secondary that is loaded with young players. Grant, a senior captain, has five

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  • National Championship Preview: Oregon's front 7

    SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 05: DeForest Buckner #44 of the Oregon Ducks celebrates in front of fans during the first half of the PAC-12 Championships against the Arizona Wildcats at Levi's Stadium on December 5, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 05: DeForest Buckner #44 of the Oregon Ducks celebrates in front of fans during the first half of the PAC-12 Championships against the Arizona Wildcats at Levi's Stadium on December 5, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)The first College Football Playoff National Championship Game is finally upon us and Dr. Saturday has your pregame prep covered. Every day leading up to the game, we’ll breakdown a piece of each team and preview its role in the upcoming title game. Previous previews: Ohio State's front 7.

    Season highlight: Oregon’s best effort on defense came in a 51-13 win against Arizona in the Pac-12 Championship. The Ducks limited the Wildcats, who were one of the most potent offenses in the country, to a season-low 224 yards, including just 111 yards rushing. Arizona's offense was held scoreless in the first half for the first time since 2012. The Oregon defense also had four sacks and forced a fumble.

    Player to Watch: Defensive end DeForest Buckner has emerged as a force on Oregon’s much-maligned defensive line this season. Buckner doesn’t have jaw-dropping stats — 69 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and four sacks — but he’s become the anchor of the Ducks’ 3-4 defense and a key to its

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