No. 7 WASHINGTON (5-1) AT NO. 17 OREGON (4-1)
12:30 p.m., Saturday, Autzen Stadium
The line: Washington -3.5
TV: ABC (ESPN2 in some markets outside the Western U.S.)
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Radio: KOMO-AM 1000/FM-97.7
Outlook: Washington is coming off a 31-24 victory over UCLA at the Rose Bowl. The Huskies held off a Bruins push in the second half to earn the victory. Oregon had a bye week, something UW head coach Chris Petersen said matters “tremendously.”
Much of this matchup comes down to a battle between Oregon’s offense and UW’s defense.
The Huskies have the third-ranked scoring defense in the country, allowing just 13.7 points per game. Meanwhile, the Ducks rank 14th nationally in total offensive yards (503.6) and 12th in scoring (45.6 points per game).
The key for UW is getting pressure on Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert. UW averages 1.3 sacks per game and the Ducks have given up just seven sacks through five games.
Herbert has completed 88 of 136 passes for 1,411 yards, 15 touchdowns and five interceptions. His favorite target is wide receiver Dillon Mitchell, who has 27 receptions for 442 yards two TDs.
Defensively, Oregon gives up 108.6 rushing yards per game, which ranks second in the Pac-12. That will be a challenge for Myles Gaskin and the Huskies’ running backs. Getting the ground game going will be key.
Gaskin was successful in UW’s victory over Utah, who has the top rushing defense in the Pac-12. He ran for 143 yards and a touchdown against the Utes. He’s also performed well against the Ducks in his career, rushing for 475 yards and three TDs total.
Oregon thrives on turning teams over. It leads the Pac-12 with eight interceptions. The Ducks are also tied for second in the conference in sacks with 16. UW’s offensive line will need to give quarterback Jake Browning time to throw and make plays.
This will be UW’s first trip to Autzen Stadium since it broke a 12-game losing streak to the Ducks in 2016. The Huskies have now won back-to-back games, beating Oregon 70-21 in 2016 and 38-3 in 2017.
Prediction: UW 28, Oregon 24