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Early Analysis: Oregon vs. Washington

 

No. 2 Oregon at No. 16 Washington
4:00 PM, Fox Sports 1
Line: Oregon -10.5

Washington plays their second straight very important Pac-12 North game in as many weeks as they return to Seattle to host the explosive Oregon Ducks. The Huskies lost a heartbreaker to Stanford but displayed that the gap between them and the top of the division may have closed. However, in order to make sure of that, the Huskies need to come out and play another great game.

Oregon still has not really been tested this season, having scored over 50 points in each of their games while allowing no more than 16 points in a game. Are the Ducks really the second best team in the country? This game will be a test for them as well, and a chance to prove that they really are one of the top teams in the country.

For Washington to win: Control field position. This might be a moot point, because Oregon does have the ability to score from anywhere at anytime. But Washington needs to do what it can to control field position. Time of possession is irrelevant as well, but Washington is going to want to give Oregon as long a field as possible as much as possible over the course of the afternoon.

For Oregon to win: Get Washington off the field. The Huskies have been running an up tempo offense and are second in the country in fewest three and outs, leaving the field after three plays only six times in 65 drives. Oregon’s defense is second in scoring defense so far this season, and while they do not need much time to score on offense, it helps if they can get Washington off the field quickly and get the ball back to their explosive attack.

Key Player, Washington: Bishop Sankey, running back. Sankey has been an essential part of Washington’s offense this season, and is fourth overall in the nation in rushing at 146.4 yards per game. Sankey will be essential to the continued success of the Huskies in moving the chains on offense and keeping pressure off of Keith Price.

Key Player, Oregon: Marcus Mariota, quarterback. With DeAnthony Thomas likely still gimpy with a leg injury (and possibly out), Mariota will have to continue to shoulder the load for the Ducks offense. His completion percentage is down quite a bit from last season, but Mariota has accounted for 21 touchdowns (14 passing, seven rushing) and has yet to throw an interception. Can Mariota handle the noise of newly renovated Husky Stadium and manage the offense for the Ducks?

Key Stat: 0. Zero. Zilch. The most impressive stat from the Huskies as a team this season is that they have turned the ball over six times this season. The Washington offense has been picked up by their defense when they’ve coughed it up. The Huskies defense has not allowed any points off of the turnovers.

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