The University of Washington Huskies (3-2) will be hoping to keep its recent run of good form going Saturday night when they take on the University of Oregon Ducks (3-3) who look to rebound from their recent struggles.
The Ducks have dominated this series in recent years, having won the last 11 consecutive games, a streak that extends back to 2003, a time the Huskies would like to forget and change history while solidifying themselves for talks of being a Pac-12 representative at a Bowl game as they look to improve to 4-2 and push Oregon to a 3-4 record. With the recent run of form, this seems the best time for the Huskies to change recent history.
The Huskies are coming off a huge win against former head coach Steve Sarkisian who left Washington for the USC Trojans job which he was terminated from following the defeat, but not cause the result of the game but rather a drinking problem. The game was a defensive one, with Washington taking the lead in the 3rd quarter off a trick play that saw receiver Marvin Hall throw a 27 yard touchdown pass to Joshua Perkins. The defense managed two interceptions to shut down USC’s high powered offense to give the Trojans there second loss of the season. USC was ranked #17 at the time and the win was the first one for the Huskies since 2010 at the Coliseum.
Oregon is coming off a 45-38 loss in double overtime to UW’s cross state rival, the Washington State Cougars in a game that was once against without Vernon Adams Jr. The Ducks started Jeff Lockie in at Quarterback who only managed 123 yards in the game with two touchdowns and one interception. However the highlight from that game was the ground attack from Royce Freeman who rushed for 246 yards along with Taj Griffin who added 96 yards to contribute to Oregon’s overall rushing total of 410 yards for the game.
The key for this game for Oregon will be who starts at quarterback, will Adams Jr finally be stable enough with his index finger he broke against his former team in week one to get the start or will the Ducks look to Lockie to lead the way in another start? Adams Jr was in uniform and had pads on last weekend against WSU yet never was called upon to take the field and even with only two starts he still leads the team in passing yards. Last time Adams Jr visited Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium he nearly led his old team Eastern Washington University to an upset against UW as the final score in that one was 59-52 UW.
The Huskies will look to rely on its passing game, where freshman quarterback Jake Browning will be looking to improve after a lack luster two games against California Golden Bears and USC where he only managed a combined 289 yards, zero touchdowns and three interceptions. Overall this season Browning has thrown for 1,133 yards and has both five touchdowns and interceptions.
With both teams struggling in the air recently, look for this to be a ground war game, Oregon starting running back Freeman ranks third in the country with 859 yards rushing so far this season and Oregon ranking #1 in the country with 1,912 yards rushing this season.
Washington will hope that Myles Gaskin or Dwayne Washington have a career day Saturday night or the 17th ranked defense finds a way to shut down the 7th ranked Oregon offense or else this will be a long night for them even as the favorites to win at home.