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Pac-12 Game of the Year: Oregon Ducks vs Washington Huskies

Oregon Ducks vs Washington Huskies Week 8

Oregon Ducks vs Washington Huskies (Matchup Report)

Date/Time: October 19, 3:30 p.m. ET

Opening Odds: Washington -6 (Line History)

Washington leads series 60-46-5

When these two teams hooked up in Eugene last season, the Ducks prevailed in overtime 30-27 as Oregon running back CJ Verdell ran in the winning score, his second touchdown of the game to go along with 111 yards rushing.

That win continued a torrid streak in the rivalry for Oregon, which has taken 13 of the last 15 games and is 5-1 in the last six in Seattle. During that run on the road, the gold and green have averaged almost 35 points a game and have beaten the Huskies by an average of 18 points. A team that has that much dominance is being shown no respect by getting 6 points in this type of matchup. Besides history, the Ducks have a lot of factors that make them a solid play at +6.

Washington has lost a lot heading into this rebuilding campaign. Quarterback Jake Browning and his +59 touchdown-to-interception ratio is gone, as is running back Myles Gaskin. Gaskin, who had an underappreciated 63 total touchdowns combined, is now with the Miami Dolphins and you just don’t fill the shoes of a guy like that overnight.

Both players were standout smart football players for head coach Chris Petersen. They provided a leadership that was special (a leadership that went to the College Football Playoff in 2016) and that will need to come from others this season.

Can Eason Handle the Pressure?

There is plenty of pressure on the quarterback, Georgia transfer Jacob Eason. Eason has not had a ton of playing time but in 2016 he had 16 touchdowns to eight picks for the Bulldogs.

Quarterback-wise, Oregon has a potential Heisman Trophy winner in Justin Herbert. Herbert returned for his senior season in hopes of capturing the Pac-12 conference championship. In his career, he has 63 touchdown passes to only 17 picks and incidentally is the second choice (at +400) behind Tua Tagovailoa (-200) of Alabama to be the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Herbert’s 29 passing touchdowns were the most by an Oregon quarterback since Marcus Mariota in 2014. This just seems like it will be too much for Washington to overcome and senior leadership from Herbert will allow the Ducks to fly by the ’Dawgs.

Sophomore Verdell had over 1,300 yards from scrimmage and as mentioned earlier had a great game in last year’s win over Washington.

Oregon is loaded on offense and returns 10 starters, while Washington brings back just two players on defense from a season ago.

Ducks Defense Goes Through Dye

On defense the Ducks are led by senior linebacker Troy Dye. Dye has gone for back-to-back 100-tackle seasons and had 10 in last season’s clash alone. This Ducks defense returns seven and allowed its fewest points per game since 2014. The Ducks were first in the conference in red-zone defense, which won’t make things easy for an inexperienced Washington offense.

In 2016, Browning hung six touchdowns and put up 70 points on Oregon in Eugene. That has to be the worst I can ever recall Oregon playing and don’t think for a second Herbert and his senior teammates don’t recall that roll job.

The Huskies coming into this contest will have played three of their previous four games on the road and know after the Ducks they play the 14th-ranked favorite to win the southern part of the conference, the Utes of Utah.

Oregon should be fresh and ready to go as they play California (OVER/UNDER is 5 wins) and Colorado (OVER/UNDER is 3.5 wins) coming into this game. By game’s end, the Ducks will have just too much firepower for a game Huskies squad.

Prediction

Washington keeps it close early and holds Oregon to a couple of first-half field goals and a passing touchdown from Herbert and the score at the break is Oregon 13-3. In the second half, Oregon finally unleashes its potent offense and Eason won’t be able to keep up and Oregon wins straight up (you won’t even need the 6 points).

Final score: Oregon 34, Washington 16