Oregon Ducks Laying 24 At Home Against Huskies
By: Willie Bee
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
We haven't heard much about the Oregon Ducks despite their current No. 2 ranking in both polls and sitting among the top 5 since the start of the season. That probably suits head coach Chip Kelly just fine.
Oregon could start to make a little noise in the national media this week with a ranked conference rival coming to Eugene. The final game on the Week 6 college football betting card finds the Washington Huskies at Autzen Stadium with ESPN's cameras on hand for the boot a little past 10:30 p.m. (ET).
There has been no movement in the spread since the Ducks opened as big 24-point favorites against a Huskies squad that just entered the AP Poll at No. 23. Likewise, the initial 65-point total remains where it started.
Oregon (5-0 straight up, 1-4 against the spread) could spend the next month in relative obscurity unless the unthinkable happens and top-ranked Alabama is upset. Even when the Ducks' schedule picks up in early November with a trip to Southern Cal, the Crimson Tide will still be hogging the news with their annual battle against LSU, a rematch of last year's BCS Championship.
Kelly's crew remains in the shadows of 'Bama and the SEC despite once again having one of the most prolific offenses in the country. Marcus Mariota directs the unit that is seventh in total offense (550.6 ypg) and fourth in scoring (52.4 ppg). The redshirt freshman out of Honolulu has done a fantastic job spreading his aerials around with five receivers having 11 or more catches and his 11 TD tosses being hauled in by seven different pair of hands.
Helping to open up the passing game for Mariota is a deep stable of ball carriers paced by Kenjon Barner. The senior tailback is 10th in the nation averaging 121 yards per game, and third with nine rushing touchdowns. There's little to no drop-off for Oregon when De'Anthony Thomas (302 yards, 9.7 avg, 5 TD) or Byron Marshall (199 yards, 2 TD) are in the backfield.
Things aren't quite so rosy on the defensive side where the Ducks are 54th allowing over 360 yards per game. However, the stop unit has come up with 12 takeaways to offset the dozen turnovers on offense, and the defense posted a shutout the last time a ranked Pac-12 foe came to Eugene with a 49-0 pasting of Arizona State.
Saturday is the middle battle of a 3-game stretch against ranked opponents for Washington (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS), and Steve Sarkisian's toughest job this week will be to keep the Huskies from the dreaded letdown following an upset of Stanford. The good news is that game was a Thursday night affair last week, giving Sarkisian more time to prepare for the Ducks, and more time for his team to put the big win in the rearview mirror.
The Huskies will need another defensive showing like the one they had in the 17-13 upset of the Cardinal. The contest was the second straight cover for U-Dub backers after the embarrassing 41-3 blowout loss at LSU. Washington comes in ranked 21st in total defense (315 ypg) and has held opposing QBs to a 106.6 rating.
Washington holds a commanding 58-41-5 lead in the series with Oregon, but the Ducks have been closing that margin with eight consecutive wins heading into Saturday's clash. Oregon covered seven of those victories with a 'push' in the 2010 battle when the Ducks posted a 53-16 triumph to match the closing 37-point spread.
Last year's 34-17 victory by the Ducks was just enough to cover the 16½ points, and fell well short of a 76-point total to snap a 2-year run for the 'over.' Six of the last eight played at Autzen Stadium have failed to reach the total.
The weatherman is calling for a pleasant evening in Eugene this Saturday. Clear skies are in the forecast with temps in the low-60s, upper-50s at the start.