No. 4 Oregon gets tune-up game coming off big Ohio State win

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Ducks coach Mario Cristobal quoted two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Jimmy Johnson in explaining Oregon's mentality coming off its big win over Ohio State.

There's lots that can be improved upon.

“Like coach Johnson used to tell us all the time when I was a player, ‘You’re either going to get better or you’re going to get worse. There is no staying the same,'" said Cristobal, who played for Johnson at Miami. “There is no choice. We’ve got to go get better.”

The Ducks, who jumped from No. 12 to No. 4 in the AP Top 25 following the victory over the Buckeyes, host Stony Brook this Saturday.

The Seawolves, who play in the lower-tier Colonial Athletic Association, are 1-1 overall and coming off a 24-3 victory over Colgate last Saturday.

The game against the Ducks will be Stony Brook's first against a Pac-12 opponent. Oregon is also the highest-ranked team the Seawolves have ever faced.

In a lot of ways, Stony Brook coach Chuck Priore is approaching the game just like Cristobal: the focus is on his team, not so much the opponent.

“I think we’ve got to keep it in perspective, certainly. I believe they’re a top-five team at this point in the country at the BCS level, so it’s really all about Stony Brook at this point. I think we need to get better at the things we’re doing. We’ve got to approach this week correctly," Priore said. "The opponent, on any given day, really doesn’t make a difference. It’s how you prepare and that’s how we’ll go about it. Certainly, it’s a great opportunity for our kids to play in that venue and play against that type of team.”

The Ducks, too, are going into this game with the same mindset they had last week.

“We run a very tight, regimented process and we believe in it and it works for us,” Cristobal said. “There’s no reason to stray from it.”

BANGED UP

The Ducks have a number of nagging injuries, so the timing of the Stony Brook game couldn't come at a better time. It will allow Oregon to heal before opening conference play against Arizona on Sept. 25.

The most significant absences against the Buckeyes were defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux and linebacker Justin Flowe. While Thibodeaux, mentioned as a Heisman contender, is getting better, he's still a question mark against the Seawolves.

Flowe's foot injury looks more serious and could sideline him for a while. Tight end Cam McCormick sustained a season-ending leg injury against Ohio State.

LAWTON'S MILESTONE

Junior running back Ty Son Lawton ran for 134 yards and a touchdown in Stony Brook's win over Colgate, giving him more than 1,000 for his career. He's got a pair of touchdowns this season, and 12 for his career.

Lawton was excited at the prospect of facing the Ducks.

“I’ve been trying to prepare myself to play at that level for a long time now,” Lawton said. “So I’m looking forward to take on the competitive standpoint of it.”

IN OHIO STATE'S WAKE

The Ducks' 35-28 victory over the Buckeyes was unquestionably significant for the program. It was the eighth win over a team ranked in the top five in program history.

Additionally, it was Oregon's fifth overall win over a team ranked in the top three since 2011, and also the first win on the road over a top-five team since 2011.

STREAKS

Oregon has won 27 straight nonconference home games, as well as 13 straight overall at Autzen.

“We’ve got a chance to be in front of our fans again. Last time we were hot and cold in our opener,” Cristobal said, referring to Oregon's 31-24 victory against Fresno State. “We want to play well in front of our people. We know it’s important to our community. We know it’s important to our fanbase. It sure as heck is important to play good football and keep improving.”

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