After a 38-24 win over Washington State this past weekend, the Oregon Ducks are 4th in the AP Poll. They face the Utah Utes, who entered the top 25 after a 38-29 road win over Arizona. Utah is a 3 ½-point favorite with an over/under of 59.
Oregon’s big win over Washington State was fueled by quarterback Anthony Brown, who ran for 123 yards for a touchdown and passed for another 135 yards and a score. The rushing game carved up the Cougars for 306 yards. Travis Dye leads a rushing attack that is averaging 227 yards per game with 908 yards and 12 touchdowns. Add in Brown, CJ Verdell, and Byron Cardwell, and the Ducks have numerous ways to beat you on the ground. The passing game gets everyone involved, as nine different players have at least 10 receptions, and ten have found the end zone.
Utah has won three straight games since falling to Oregon State on October 23. The Utes gained 468 yards against Arizona, led by Cameron Rising’s 294 yards and two touchdowns in the air. TJ Pledger paced a running attack that gained 174 yards with 119 yards and two touchdowns. The Utes gained all those yards without leading rusher Tavion Thomas. The Utes are averaging 215 yards rushing this season. In the air, the Utes utilize their tight ends to the max. Brant Kuithe and Dalton Kincade have combined for 10 touchdown receptions.
Oregon has averaged 35.3 points per game and allowed 22.6 per contest. By comparison, Utah has averaged 35.7 points per game and allowed 23.8 per game. The key to the game could be turnovers. Oregon has a decided edge in turnover margin at +8 compared to +1. Another decided edge for Oregon in what should be a close game is the kicking game. Camden Lewis has hit all 10 field goals attempts, while the Utes’ Jadon Redding is only 7-of-10 and just 4-of-7 beyond 30 yards.
Look for a back-and-forth battle with a critical turnover and kick to decide this one.
Call it: Oregon 31, Utah 28