Oregon is the last undefeated team in Pac-12 play, but its road is far from clear. The Ducks have this trip to Washington, as well games at USC and Arizona State later in the season.
While the Huskies already have two losses, this matchup is still plenty important as it could be the changing of the guard in the conference as they’ve won two of the last three. The Ducks were -3 point road favorites with an over/under of 50.5 early in the week.
It wouldn’t be surprising if this game went similar to the last meeting when Oregon won 30-27 in overtime. While Washington had about 50 more total yards, every other stat was even, including time of possession. Even if you throw out that result, there are reasons to take both sides in this game.
Oregon’s lone road win this season came at Stanford, a 21-6 result. Its offense has been surprisingly mediocre against better defenses, scoring 21 against Stanford, as well as 17 against Cal.
While Justin Herbert has put in some big performances, those have been against bad defenses. It’s been kind of similar for Washington, which is why it already has losses to Cal and Stanford.
But while the Huskies already lost at home, they’ll undoubtedly play up for this game and they already gave USC its first conference loss in this spot.
The winner of this game will be decided in the trenches. Oregon has the edge as seen in its record, but this may be its toughest matchup of the season in that aspect.
Washington has kind of slipped defensively, allowing close to 20 points and 150 rushing yards per game. Those numbers would be good for some teams, but not the Huskies.
It’ll be up to Herbert to lead the way and he’s done a fine job even if the offense hasn’t been overly explosive, as he’s completing 69.1% of his passes for 17 touchdowns and one interception.
He also hasn’t glued into one receiver with Jacob Breeland, Johnny Johnson and Jaylen Redd all with at least 25 receptions. That said, the injury to Breeland could be a factor moving forward and something to keep in mind.
The ground game could be more important because if CJ Verdell and Travis Dye can move the chains, that’ll only open up the field for Herbert. Those two are both averaging at least 5.7 yards per carry and will be looking to exploit a UW rush defense that has struggled.
The big change between these teams is that Oregon’s defense is now best in the conference, allowing no more than seven points in its last five games.
Some of that has to do with competition and luck, but intercepting Steven Montez three times was impressive last week. The issue for Washington is that its offense has already struggled more than once, namely the 13 points scored against Stanford.
Jacob Eason may eventually be an NFL quarterback, but he hasn’t been able to consistently put points on the board. Only one of his 13 touchdowns came against Stanford, USC and Cal and that kind of says everything.
It’s been a similar case in the backfield because even though Salvon Ahmed has had some big games, he couldn’t find any room when needed against Stanford. Breaking through with that ground game will be important, especially at home, as the Ducks are allowing just over 100 rushing yards per game.
There will be opportunities to get Ahmed going, which is why Stanford’s Cameron Scarlett averaged over five yards per carry against Oregon.
Oregon has been the better and more consistent team in the early season, but playing at home with arguably the better coach in Chris Petersen, it’s a great spot for UW to upend the current Pac-12 leaders.
The under has hit in Oregon’s last four games and it’s 5-1 in Washington’s last six in conference play. The favorite is 13-2-1 ATS in the last 16 meetings between these schools and the Ducks are 5-1 ATS in the last six played in Washington.
Our Pick – Oregon -2.5