Who: #2 Oregon @ #16 Washington
Where: Husky Stadium, Seattle, Washington
When: 1:00 pm Pacific/ 4:00 pm Eastern
TV Schedule: Check it out on Fox Sports 1, and if you're really up for it, which you should be, ESPN College Gameday will be airing live from the University of Washington at 6:00 am on Saturday for the first time ever
This series, and many of you are already aware, is a long and storied history of Husky Dominance, followed by a stretch of Duck Relevant, and, most recently, a 9 game series of Oregon dominance, which happened to occur in the years following a rather rude dance on the "O" in the center of the Oregon Football field, for a very long period of time.
Anyway, Washington leads the series 51-38-4 and is 27-16-2 at home against the Ducks. The last nine years have been less than fun to watch or listen to whenever the games involved Oregon. The last game I remember actually enjoying was in 2007, when the game was back and forth for quite a while before the Duck finally pulled away. That, at least to the best of my recollection, was a really entertaining game.
First, lets start with the offenses. Oregon is coming into this game ranked second in the nation, averaging 59.2 points per game, while Washington is 34th overall with an average of 37.4 points per game. Oregon has shown thus far that they can score, but that's no different then any other of the previous 5 years. However, If Oregon has been effective at anything in the past, it has been with their run game.
However, the surprise, at least for me, is Oregon's passing attack. Since 2007, Oregon has never averaged more than 245 yards in a game, and that seems to be high. Usually, the Ducks are averaging around 215 or 220 passing yards per game. This year, the Ducks are averaging almost 300 passing yards per game, sitting right now at 295 a game. What does this mean? Well, it really means that you had better trust your corners when you stack the box to stop Oregon's running attack.
Now for the defenses. Oregon is giving up 311 yards per game, which is good enough for 20th in the country. However, when you look at yards given up per play, Oregon comes in at seventh in the country, only allowing 4.08 yards per play. This stat looks even better when you figure that Oregon's defense has faced a whopping 406 plays. Putting that into a little perspective, out of the 33 teams in the country that have faced 400 or more plays, only two others (Ohio State and Utah State) are allowing less than 5 yards per play.
The Huskies on the other hand are only giving up 288 yards per game and are currently sitting at #10 in the country. Furthermore, they are only allowing 3.94 yards per play, which puts them at #3. In short, both of these defenses have done a great job this year.
What They're Saying
No insults intended; this is really just some gameweek fun ... so have a laugh. These quotes were removed from any relevant context that would give them any logical sense ... these quotes are brought to you courtesy of DucksAttack.com ... I actually tried to find some Duck fans who at least entertained the thought that the Huskies would be able to put up a fight this week, though i had to go through all 8 pages of the thread to find these ones:
Keys to the game:
1. Stop the Run.
2. Run the Ball.
3. Don't Turn the Ball Over.
Whoever does that better will win the game ...
You let him run around back there and don't finish tackles and he can absolutely be a game changing kind of player. He seems to thrive on broken plays.
On Getting Started Fast:
The offense can't start off like complete garbage like it has been. I think UW is going to come out of the gate really strong and we could end up digging ourselves into a quick hole if we start out slow.
On the Stanford game:
You know, after watching the Stanford game I was pretty worried about the Washington game.
Is this Oregon's First "Real test?"
This game strikes me as Helf's first real "test" as a head coach. I mean, yes, the Ducks' gaudy numbers so far look great, but they won't mean squat if we go up to Seattle and get beat this week.
I don't believe the Ducks have truly been tested, and I think it's clear they haven't played a team that can test them for 4 quarters. I think the team faced a little adversity early against Tennessee and CU, but eventually the talent and depth just overwhelmed them. For the first time all year we're going to see a team with Top 15/10 talent in their first 11 and the depth to give us more of a prolonged test.
Not saying the Ducks can't handle it, but I do believe this is the first real 4 quarter challenge we're going to see this year.
Keep blowing teams out, and regardless of how good they are, that will be the national storyline. I'll say, I've been around football all my life; as a son and grandson of coaches. I've watched a lot of both teams this year and can say, with pretty good confidence, that an Oregon blowout victory in Seattle will say more about how good the Ducks are, than how bad the Huskies are. It's kind of gross to admit, but this Husky team is pretty good. I just don't think they're Oregon good. We'll find out on Saturday.
And hey, going 14-0 without being tested all year wouldn't be so bad, eh?!
Questions needing answers
Offense: Will the false starts end? Will ASJ be in good shape, and will he have a few more plays down this week ... seriously though, I'm really starting to wonder when the training wheels will be taken off for him ...? How many yards will Sankey get? Will the O-line hold up to Oregon's aggressive front 7? How will Keith's thumb hold up?
Defense: Will the Defense be able to force Oregon to start off slow? Will the defense be able to hold Oregon's points to a manageable number? (They better no let Oregon score anywhere near their season average.) How are the corners going to hold up?
Miscellaneous: When will the penalties end? How loud is Husky Stadium going to get? Will the crowd realize it's third down before the ball is snapped so they can yell their heads off? Why can't a Husky eat a duck? (My buddy's husky used to eat ducks all the time ....)
This game is a big deal, if you hadn't figured that out by this point. It's not every game you get to face your second top 5 team in as many weeks. It's also not every day you get to play Oregon with enough speed on the edges to be able to compete with them.
Man this game freaks me out. If the offense can keep the penalties lower, and then execute to a high level, I can see a win here. Honestly, with a really loud Husky Stadium, a hard-nosed defense, and a super senior (long for Redshirt) quarterback with a knack for making something out of nothing, and cheesecake out of rye bread, the Dawgs should be able to pull it off. I just don't know if that will be the case. Final score: Huskies win by 2.