Five Things to Watch: Oregon v. Washington

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Oregon Football is putting in the work this week, prepping for their big clash against the rival Huskies this weekend in Seattle. While the Ducks enter the game as underdogs, Royce Freeman's offense and Troy Dye's defense are up to the task and certainly won't back down. 

While the game will provide plenty of fireworks, here are five things to watch on Saturday evening:

  1. Defensive Line - The Washington offense is ranked 17th in the country for points per game, scoring 38.6 on average. The Ducks will have their hands full against quarterback Jake Browning and running back Myles Gaskin. The duo are lights out and are always capable of big-play potential. That means Jalen Jelks, Henry Mondeaux and the rest of the defensive line need to put as much pressure as possible to disrupt Washington's offensive flow.
     
  2. Offensive Line - Left tackle Tyrell Crosby is getting All-American consideration and doing an incredible job anchoring the offensive line this season. The senior standout will need to keep his great play up Saturday, as does the rest of the offensive line, in order for the Ducks to have a chance to win. The phrase "the game is won in the trenches" matters more than ever this weekend and in order for the Ducks to move the football, they'll need big-time play from their big offensive line. 
     
  3. Quarterback Play - While Justin Herbert remains a question mark for Saturday's game, we'll assume Braxton Burmeister gets the nod to start until we hear otherwise. With that said, the freshman will no doubt look to continue his progression as a Pac-12 starting quarterback. Burmeister protected the football and played smart against Utah and will need to do much the same against the experienced Washington defense if the Ducks have a chance to win. 
     
  4. Field Position - The Huskies have a dynamic enough offense that they can make big plays and put up big points. This means the Ducks need to move the ball on offense and the kicking game needs to come up big, whether that be punting or on kick offs. It's vital Oregon pins the Huskies as far back on their side of the field as possible, as often as possible. Every yard counts!
     
  5. First Quarter Success - Husky Stadium is an intense place to play and it's crucial for the Ducks to keep the Seattle fans as quiet as possible early on. Get them going, get the Huskies going and it's that much harder to stop them. If Oregon can score early and make big stops on defense, the squad can carry over that momentum and keep things in their favor. 

As expected, Oregon v. Washington is going to be a great game. The Ducks are talented enough to compete with the Huskies, it all comes down to execution. Let's Go Ducks!