First glance: Oregon.
When/Where: 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Husky Stadium (ESPN2, 1000-AM, 97.7-FM).
Coach: Mark Helfrich is 27-7 in his third season with the Ducks. He was Oregon’s offensive coordinator and quarterback coach for four years (2009-12) before replacing Chip Kelly who left for the NFL.
Record: The Ducks (3-3, 1-2 Pac-12) lost at home 45-38 in double overtime last Saturday to Washington State. They’re fifth in the six-team Pac-12 North division.
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Early line: Oregon is a 1.5 point favorite.
Scouting report: Could this be the year Washington finally gets a win against one of its most-bitter rivals? The Ducks have ran roughshod over the Huskies in 11 straight games – all by at least 17 points – dating back to 2004, including last year’s 45-20 win. They’ve averaged 43.7 points in those games compared to 18.4 for UW. However, Oregon has never been as vulnerable as it is this season. The Ducks have lost two straight Pac-12 home games and sit at 3-3 for the first time since 2004. Their quarterback situation has been unsettled since Heisman trophy winner Marcus Mariota departed last season. There doesn’t seem to be an explosive playmaker at receiver. But perhaps most troubling is a defense, which has allowed at least 28 points and 308 yards in every game. … The Ducks have been shaky all season starting with a tougher-than-it-looks 61-42 win over lower-tier FCS powerhouse Eastern Washington. Oregon lost 31-28 at then No. 5 Michigan State, but Ducks fans suspected trouble looming when Utah clobbered UO 62-20 at Autzen Stadium on Sept. 27. … In a preseason media poll, Oregon was picked first in the Pac-12 North division. … The Ducks return 11 starters (six offense, five defense) from a 13-2 team that won the Pac-12 last season and advanced to the College Football Playoffs. … UW leads the regular-season series against Oregon 58-44-5.
Players to watch: If Oregon wasn’t so mediocre, sophomore running back Royce Freeman (5-11, 230 pounds) would receive plenty of Heisman buzz. He had a career day last Saturday against WSU. He finished with a personal-best rushing 246 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries and 46 receiving yards and a touchdown. Freeman ranks first in the Pac-12 and third in the country with 859 rushing yards. He’s averaging 143.2 yards per game. Freeman also has 9 rushing TDs, which is tops the Pac-12 and is tied for fourth in the country. Last year, Freeman stampeded the Huskies for 169 yards and four TDs on 29 carries. … Senior QB Vernon Adams Jr. (6-0, 200), the graduate transfer who was a standout at Eastern Washington, has missed three games – including the last two – due to a broken index finger on his throwing hand. He has 581 yards on 43-for-71 passing with four touchdowns and two interceptions. Adams could return this week. … Junior QB Jeff Lockie (6-2, 205) has started three of the past four games. In five games, he averages 108.9 passing yards per game, which ranks 12th in the Pac-12. He’s completed 64.3 percent of his passes and has five TDs, four INTs and nine sacks. … Sophomore WR Charles Nelson (5-8, 170) made an eye-opening defensive debut last week at safety. He finished with a game-high 12 tackles and two pass breakups. He’s the first Oregon player to start on both sides of the ball in the same season since Mel Renfro (1961-63).
By the numbers:
7.2 – Average penalties per game by Oregon, which ranks last in the Pac-12.
38.7 – Average points per game allowed by Oregon, which ranks last in the Pac-12.
474.7 – Average yards per game allowed by Oregon, which ranks last in the Pac-12.