Pac-12 Weekly Recap and Preview of Washington-Oregon
During a weekend of offensive showcases, the Pac-12 featured some high-powered performances of its own; while a major upset saw another team emerge as a possible contender for the conference title. The two Oregon schools remained unbeaten and are both ranked in the top 15 (Oregon #2, Oregon State #14) after wins this week.
The week began early on Thursday in the Pac-12 with a highly-touted matchup between Washington and #8 Stanford. Stanford had just come off its biggest win of the year, an upset of previously #1 USC, but the Cardinal couldn’t keep the mojo going and fell to the unranked Huskies 17-13.
The impressive part of the win was Washington’s defense; a squad that struggled at times last year, limited Stanford to just 235 yards of total offense and forced two turnovers. Stanford only picked up 10 first downs all night against the stout unit.
Although the Huskies offense was nothing to write home about, they came through in the clutch, scoring the go-ahead and eventual game-winning touchdown with just under five minutes to go on a 35-yard strike from Keith Price to Kasen Williams.
Although still early in the season, Washington certainly threw their hat in the Pac-12 title race with the win. Next up for the Huskies though is a road showdown with the #2 ranked Oregon Ducks, so we will see if a week where Washington stands in the race.
After the USC loss two weeks ago, the Oregon Ducks were the lone Pac-12 team amongst SEC giants in the top five. Oregon continued their dominance Saturday with a 51-26 win against Washington State, but only led by four at halftime and looked a bit shaky early.
However, in typical Oregon fashion, Chip Kelly’s Ducks came out of the locker room prepared and ran away with the game in the second half on some big plays from Kenjon Barner and defensive back Avery Patterson. Patterson jumped in front of a Wazzu pass and took it in for six points late in the third quarter and Barner enjoyed the second longest run of his career, an 80-yard score early in the fourth quarter.
Unlike in years past, the Ducks defense has received a lot of the credit so far this season and they shined once again on Saturday, particularly the run defense, which was beyond controlling, as the Cougars ended the ballgame with -8 rushing yards.
Looking ahead to next week, the Ducks will host the Huskies in what is now a much more meaningful game. Washington has jumped into the polls at #23 after its big win last Thursday, while the Ducks held firm in the #2 spot. The Huskies defense was impressive against Stanford, but they will have a much bigger challenge on their hands with the speedier Ducks. Stanford has a more straight-forward rushing scheme, whereas the Ducks like to spread it around and if last year’s game between these two is any indentation of how things might go this time, Washington is in trouble again.
The other concern for the Huskies is if they can’t establish a run game on offense, it will be hard to control the game and if they can’t control the game, Oregon will get more possessions. And I’m sure you can figure out why that would be bad for Washington.
Obviously we don’t have a spread yet on this game, but don’t be surprised if Oregon prevails by more than 20 points. Washington might hang tough for a while, but a 60 minute game with the Ducks will wear anyone down.