Quarterback Marcus Mariota and the No. 2 Oregon Ducks face their first ranked opponent in the No. 16 Washington Huskies on Saturday afternoon at Husky Stadium.
Scoring points at a 59.2 per game clip, and boasting the second best defense in the country, the Ducks have plowed through the first part of their schedule virtually unscathed. The Ducks have had a relatively easy schedule, as Oregon's first five opponents have a combined .440 winning percentage. Meanwhile, the Huskies are coming off their first loss of the season, a heartbreaking 31-28 affair on the road to Stanford despite a 489-284 yard differential.
Mariota is tied for seventh in the nation with 14 touchdown passes, and also leads Oregon with seven scores on the ground. Sophomore rusher Byron Marshall is first on the Ducks with 448 yards and four touchdowns, reaching the century mark in three out of five games this season.
But the Huskies can put a stop to Oregon’s party quickly with their Pac-12 best defense. Washington has snatched seven interceptions, and opponents are only completing 49 percent of their passes while averaging 287.8 total yards per game. The Huskies have also racked up 15 sacks, led by junior defensive ends Hau’oli Kikaha and Josh Shirley.
Pac-12 rushing leader Bishop Sankey could have his most busy day of the season keeping the ball away from the Mariota and the Ducks. Sankey’s gained 732 yards and seven touchdowns on 131 carries this season, and has gained at least 100 rushing yards in 11 games over his college career.
Senior quarterback Keith Price has 1,394 passing yards and 11 touchdowns, but has thrown a pick in consecutive games for the first time this season.
The Huskies could be distracted by recent speculation surrounding head coach Steve Sarkisian and the recent opening at USC. Sarkisian spent seven years as a quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator for the Trojans, and his work turning the Huskies around hasn’t gone unnoticed around the country. Unseating Oregon could only further pad Sarkisian's resume.
The game kicks off at 4 p.m. ET and will be broadcast by Fox Sports 1. You can find the channel in your area here.
Betting Odds: Oregon favored by 14 points
Over/Under: 76.5 points
Prediction: Oregon 40, Washington 20