Oregon Ducks (5-4 SU, 4-5 ATS) vs. Washington Huskies (7-1 SU, 5-3 ATS)
College Football Week 10
Date/Time: Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 10PM EDT
Where: Husky Stadium, Seattle, Washington
TV: Fox Sports 1
by Scott, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ORE +21/WAS -21
Over/Under Total: 51.5
The Oregon Ducks come into Seattle on Saturday for a Pac-12 matchup with the Washington Huskies. Oregon is just 5-4, but they snapped out of a three-game losing streak on Saturday in a 41-20 win over Utah. It makes this task a bit less-hopeless as they were at least able to snap out of a big funk and get their offense pointed in the right direction. Washington, meanwhile, is sitting at 7-1, following a 44-23 win over UCLA on Saturday. Coming off a bye week that followed their only loss of the season against ASU, the Huskies were able to get back on the winning track, as they look to take on this remaining stretch of games with gusto.
It has been an up-and-down season for Oregon. They started the season looking good at 3-0. After losing to ASU and beating Cal, they went into a big swoon. They lost to Washington State, Stanford, and UCLAscoring a pitiful 31 total points in that three-game stretch. So for them to put up 41 against Utah was good development. And to hold Utah to 20 points counts as progress for the defensive side of the ball, which has really struggled. A lot of it comes down to heart and guts for the Ducks with such key personnel losses. They have no aerial game to speak of with Justin Herbert out of action. As of press time, its unclear if hes ready to return from a collarbone injury.
On offense, Oregon has been relying heavily on the ground game. Against Utah, that part of their game really thrived, going for 347 yards. True freshman QB Braxton Burmeister threw for just 47 yards and a score, while receiver Charles Nelson threw a TD pass on a trick play. Royce Freeman put up 139 yards, Tony Brooks-James had 105 yards and a TD, while Kani Benoit put up 71 yards and a TD. They were good on third down on Saturday. But it would help to get Herbert back, with Burmeister putting up Pop Warner stats, even if the La Jolla Country Day High product ran the offense smoothly against Utah.
The Oregon defense is by no means great, giving up an average of nearly 30 points a game. With their high point-allowance of the season being 37 points, theyve been somewhat consistent, if not overly-stout. They are shaky against the pass, while being highly-resolute against opposing ground-attacks. That was the formula against Utah on Saturday, with the Utes moving the ball aerially with their backs really struggling. Up-front, Jalen Jelks applied a nice pass-rush, while linebackers Troy Dye and LaMar Winston, Jr. also made a lot of plays. More of that kind of playmaking would go a long way this week and beyond.
Washington is still in this, the loss to Arizona State notwithstanding. They were able to put the extra off-time to good use, coming out with a lot of fire in a 44-23 win that wasnt even that close against the Bruins this past Saturday. Their offense doesnt have as much aerial flash as it did last season, with departures and injuries playing a big role in that. But the run-game is stepping up and the defense has maintained its strength, despite losing a lot of last seasons firepower. They could still conceivably sneak up on some people this season and if they get through this crazy conference with just one loss, that would be a major accomplishment.
Huskies quarterback Jake Browning wont be on stage at the Heisman ceremony again this year, but hes still having a good season for the most part. He doesnt have nearly the same amount of octane in the passing-game as he did last season. Dante Pettis is his only ball-catcher having a really impactful season, both aerially and on returns. With Myles Gaskin doing most of the work, the run-game is making a dent, along with useful Lavon Coleman and rising youngster Salvon Ahmed. They are also still recovering from the loss to LT Trey Adams, which leaves them thinner up-front.
The best part of this Huskies team by a clear margin is the defense. Even in their only loss of the season, they gave up just 13 points to Arizona State. The 23 points they gave up to UCLA was the most they have allowed this season by seven points. And still, teams are only averaging 12 points against the Huskies and no team in the country gives up less yardage per game than UW. This side of the ball gets turnovers, scores points, and gets after opposing quarterbacks. They dont rely on star players as much as they stress cohesive play. They have been giving up very little in conference play and look for that to continue against an Oregon offense that has been fairly one-dimensional.
A lot has changed since Washington posted a 70-21 beating of the Ducks in early-October of last season in Eugene. But Browning threw for 6 touchdowns and ran in another two scores, with Pettis and Gaskin having gigantic games. Its not really the same offense for Washington, but they should still thrive at home in this spot. I see Oregon again having a lot of matchup components going very much against them in this pairing. While it wont be a free-for-all for the Huskies like last season, I see them getting the cover this week at home.
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