Saturday, October 6, 2012
#23 Washington Huskies travel down to face #2 Oregon Ducks
This week the newly ranked #23 Washington Huskies(3-1, 1-0) fresh off their upset of then #8 Stanford Cardinal are looking to have an even bigger upset this week. The Huskies travel down to Eugene to take on the #2 Oregon Ducks(5-0, 2-0) as they are looking for their first win in this series since 2003. The Huskies still lead the all-time series comfortably 58-41-5 despite losing eight in a row. This will be the first time both these teams will square off as ranked teams since 2000 when the #20 Oregon Ducks defeated the #6 Washington Huskies 23-16. The last time the Huskies won where both teams were ranked was back in 1990 when the #17 Huskies blew out the #19 Ducks 38-17. In fact only 1990, 1995, and 2000 were the only years these teams have squared off where both were ranked since 1990 which is pretty incredible. The Ducks are used to winning big national spotlight games while the Huskies are still trying to figure that out. A win down in Eugene would be Steve Sarkisian's biggest win of his young coaching career.
His backup quarterback Bryan Bennett who many expected to be the starter is 13-23(56.5%) passing for 135 yards(5.9 YPA) with one touchdown and two interceptions. He has ran for 57 yards and three touchdowns on the year. Oregon has plenty of weapons to make these quarterbacks look good including the most exciting player in all of college football.
The other weapons for the Ducks include Bralon Addison who has 15 receptions for 185 yards(12.3 YPC) with a touchdown. Colt Lyerla has nine receptions for 118 yards(13.1 YPC) with two touchdowns. Keanon Lowe has 12 receptions for 112 yards(9.3 YPC) with a touchdown. Dwayne Stanford has 11 receptions for 106 yards(9.6 YPC). When you add it all up the Ducks have five different guys with double digit receptions already and six guys who are over 100 yards already. Eight different Ducks have also caught a touchdown pass this year showing you the kind of depth they have.
The other standout the Huskies have is tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins who the Ducks shut down last year. He was held to just one catch which went for negative yardage. For the year Seferian-Jenkins has 22 receptions for 221 yards(10.0 YPC) with a touchdown. Outside of Seferian-Jenkins and Williams the Huskies are lacking production. Kevin Smith has six receptions for 68 yards(11.3 YPC) hopefully this week he can return to health. DiAndre Campbell has four receptions for 38 yards(9.5 YPC) with a touchdown reception. Jaydon Mickens has five receptions for 33 yards(6.6 YPC) as he is a true freshman. Kendyl Taylor has two receptions for 17 yards(8.5 YPC) as he is being moved to running back this week. The Huskies going forward need another receiver to step it up to get the passing game going.
He is coming off of a career game last week against the 3rd rushing defense in the nation Stanford. He ran for 144 yards on 20 carries(7.2 YPC) with a 61 yard touchdown run on a 4th and 1. Backing up Sankey now is Taylor who last week ran for only nine yards on four carries. He also has Erich Wilson who has ran for 119 yards on 21 carries(5.7 YPC). The Huskies also have big back Dezden Petty who has ran for 65 yards on 24 carries(2.7 YPC) as he picked up a crucial fourth and one last week. The Huskies running game is in pretty good hands despite injuries and losing Chris Polk to the NFL.
This season Barner has rushed for 605 yards on 95 carries(6.3 YPC) with nine touchdowns. He also has 11 receptions for 111 yards(10.1 YPC) with a touchdown this season. He will eventually make his money playing on Sunday's in the NFL as he is a talented back who the Huskies must contain to have any shot at keeping this game close.
The Ducks have another running back who has done well in Byron Marshall who has ran for 199 yards at a 5.0 YPC clip with two touchdowns. Through five games this year the Ducks are rushing for 1,535 yards(307 YPG) with 21 touchdowns. In 2010 the Ducks ran for 279 yards at a 5.1 YPC clip with six rushing touchdowns against the Huskies. In 2011 the Ducks ran for 212 yards at a 5.4 YPC clip with three rushing touchdowns. The Ducks ability to run the ball down the Huskies throats is the main reason why they have dominated this series lately.
The Huskies have an opportunity to put a scare into the Ducks and then try and upset them. The Huskies have first down NFL draft picks on their roster just like the Ducks do. The Huskies program last year saw themselves ranked and were on ESPN on the road in a big game. They lost to Stanford 65-21 as they are hoping to avoid such a letdown again. For the bulk of this rivalry the Huskies have dominated the Ducks but in the past decade the Ducks have been the ones dominating. Can the Huskies steal back the rivalry down in Eugene? Can Sarkisian pull off back to back top 10 wins something the Huskies haven't done since 1982 when in late November they defeated #9 UCLA 10-7 at home then defeated #3 Arizona State Sun Devils 17-13 on the road. They then famously lost to 2-7-1 Washington State to get bounced from the Rose Bowl. So it has been 30 years since the Huskies won back to back weeks against top 10 opponents. Perhaps this can be the year where the Huskies do it again.