The Pac-12 gifts us with another excellent game this Saturday when the eighth-ranked Oregon Ducks travel to take on the No. 13 Utah Utes, a matchup with conference title implications all over it.
Both of these teams sit at 6-1 and 3-1 in Pac-12 conference play this season. Oregon took care of business last week, beating Washington State 38-24 at home. Utah pulled off a last-second victory over the USC Trojans last week, winning on the road 34-32.
Utah is looking to play for its third straight Pac-12 championship, while Oregon looks to make it to the title game for the fourth time in the last five years.
What Channel Airs the Oregon-Utah Game?
Oregon @ Utah
- Start Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
- Channel: FOX
- Odds: Oregon -6.5
- Over/Under Total: 47.5
Oregon is one of the best teams in the country offensively. The Ducks are the only team in the country to sit in the top 10 in both passing and rushing yards, a feat that seems almost video-game-like compared to other offenses in the country right now.
Quarterback Bo Nix has thrown for over 2,000 yards on the season and has 19 touchdowns with just one interception. He’s operating Oregon’s offense well and getting the ball out quickly to his skill-position players. However, he’s not doing much outside of the offense to elevate it, something he’ll have to do plenty of if Oregon wants to beat a tough Utah defense.
Nix has struggled when off of his first read, and the Oregon offense hasn’t developed much downfield. You can’t build the whole game plan off of yards after the catch against a Utah defense that can tackle better than anyone else in the conference.
The Ducks have the talent to win, and it starts with their dynamic duo of running backs Bucky Irving and Jordan James. The duo has combined for 1,112 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns on the year. Irving is one of the best backs in this upcoming NFL Draft class, with excellent explosiveness and contact balance that belies his small frame.
Oregon wide receiver Troy Franklin is second in the Pac-12 in receiving yards and tied for first in touchdowns with eight. Franklin is an excellent height/weight/speed wide receiver with great acceleration off the line of scrimmage and has the speed to separate and win downfield.
Oregon’s offense will have to square off against the best defense in the Pac-12. Utah is a physical, tough team that has allowed just 15 points a game this season. Getting to Nix is going to be a must for this Utah defense, and it starts with Jonah Elliss, who leads the Pac-12 in sacks with 11 on the season.
The Utah defense, led by safety Cole Bishop, has allowed just five passing touchdowns all season and held Caleb Williams to zero touchdowns through the air last week. Opposing QBs are completing just 55.4% of their passes on the Utes this season.
Utah’s offense has found its stride over the last two weeks with Bryson Barnes under center. Utah has scored 34 points in both of its last two games after scoring more than 30 just once in its first five games.
Safety-turned-RB-but-still-playing-safety Sione Vaki has been the hero of this resurgence. Vaki has given Utah’s offense a shot in the arm off of its bye week, tallying up 376 yards of offense in its last two games and four total touchdowns. Barnes is operating the offense well and won the USC game for Utah almost single-handedly with a gutsy game-winning drive.
Oregon’s defense was gashed by Washington State last week through the air, but despite this, the Ducks’ defense is second in the Pac-12 in yards per attempt and passing yards per game allowed.
Utah will have to stay ahead of the sticks offensively and make plays passing and rushing against the Ducks. Oregon’s scheme is more about controlling the line of scrimmage than getting to the quarterback, but Brandon Dorlus and Jordan Burch can get after the quarterback on passing downs, something Utah will need to stay out of if it wants to win this one.
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