Utah May Open Things Up Against Oregon Ducks On Saturday Night


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When Utah comes into Autzen Stadium on Saturday night they will bring with them the second best Run Defense in the Pac-12 Conference. Oregon will have quite the counter with the second best Rushing Offense. One would think that something has to give when it comes to the Oregon Ducks ground game. Running Back Royce Freeman began the 2015 season rushing for one-hundred eighty yards against Eastern Washington. In fact, all three of Oregon’s Running Backs who played against the Eagles scored a touchdown. They will look to continue the momentum into Pac-12 play.

Gordon Monson from the Salt Lake Tribune believes now is time for Utah to start taking advantage of the passing game – and what better time. The young Oregon Ducks Secondary is a prime target this weekend in a Primetime match up. Last week the Ducks Defense gave up three-hundred eighteen yards to Georgia State. One play was a seventy five yard pass for a touchdown. I fully expect that Don Pellum’s Defense will be tested this weekend and I am not so sure they are ready.

Regardless of who is calling plays behind the Offensive Line, Utah has been very effective this season getting the ball to their Wide Receivers. Travis Wilson is hitting at a 73.3 percent clip. Backup Kendal Thompson is completing passes at just over 77 percent. To compare, Oregon Ducks Quarterback Vernon Adams is hitting just over 66 percent of his passes. Jeff Lockie, in his first career start last weekend hit over 74 percent of his passes. At the moment, both teams are not talking about who will start at Quarterback. I would expect if Travis Wilson is good to go, he will get the start, but Kendal Thompson was solid in relief last weekend in a win over Fresno State.

For the Utes, Britain Covey and dual threat Devontae Booker will be ones to keep an eye on. Covery has fourteen catches for one-hundred twenty seven yards on the season. Booker can play all over the field. He has three touchdowns as a Running Back and also has one-hundred twenty six yards on the receiving end.

One area where the Utes excel is Special Teams. Kicker Andy Phillips has made three field goals from beyond thirty yards. He has missed two beyond forty yards. Earlier this week Oregon Head Coach Mark Helfrich called the Utes Special Teams ‘worth the price of admission.’ If the game is close, one play could give either team the win and it could be a play on a return or a field goal.

Oregon and Utah kickoff on Saturday at 5:45pm Pacific Time on FOX.

Next: Utah Utes vs Oregon Ducks: Three Things I'll Be Watching