Originally posted on The Duck Stops Here  |  Last updated 10/12/13
Stanford sacked Keith Price five times, and if Oregon can get that kind of pressure on him, particularly with the defensive line, it's a huge plus in grounding the Husky offense. The Huskies are a team that grinds it out five to eight yards at a time rather than exploding for big plays, and some negative plays will lead to stops. If the Ducks can get the ball back to their offense and keep Price and company from engineering long scoring possessions, they'll win comfortably. Pressure creates mistakes. Price is much more accurate and efficient this year, but last season he threw 14 interceptions. Over his career he's been much more prone to turnovers than Marcus Mariota. Along the same lines, Oregon's young running backs, Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner, have to secure the ball. Reviewing film with his guys, Justin Wilcox had to note the fumbles they made against Cal and Colorado. The Dawgs will be clawing at the ball. The Ducks have to tackle well today. Bishop Sankey is a ground-pounding running back who makes a lot of yards after contact. Oregon has to limit those extra yards, keep him from grinding away. Similarly, the three outside receivers thrive on yards after the catch: the Husky offense features a lot of quick throws that are extensions of the running game. Their physical receivers will be used to test Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Terrance Mitchell and Avery Patterson, particularly after seeing the success Paul Richardson had against them, with five catches for 134 yards last week. UW coach Steve Sarkisian is an old quarterback, and he not doubt took note of the trick play Colorado used to burn Oregon deep in the first quarter. Oregon's secondary charges hard in run support and attacking the bubble screen, something Sarkisian and his offense can play off of with out and up routes, pump and go plays, and reverses, double passes and all other manner of trickeration. The Ducks can't lose their aggressiveness, but at the same time they must keep their eyes right: Washington will empty the playbook to try and avoid the Decade of Dominance. The Oregon offensive line has a chance to to control this football game today. Washington has that big nose tackle Danny Shelton, the 327-lb. lost cousin of Fezzik the Giant, but the rest of their defensive front averages 259 pounds a man. This is where they are vulnerable. If the Ducks can get a consistent push and dictate the game physically, the Huskies Oregon-light approach to offensive tempo and fancy helmets won't matter much. Stanford dented the Dawgs with big plays in special teams. Washington devoted a chunk of practice time this week to shoring up lane responsibilities and assigning starters to the kickoff team. The thing is, though, the Ducks exercise that same commitment to special teams excellence every week. There's a lot of pride and athletic ability among the Men of Oregon assigned to the return team, and it's a big advantage for them in this game, even more so if De'Anthony Thomas throws the warmup jacket off his shoulders and goes out to return the opening kickoff. The De'Anthony factor is big for Mark Helfrich's squad. All week long they've played cat-and-mouse with his availability, and last night Scott Reed of Duck Sports Authority and John Canzano of the Oregonian each intimated that DAT indeed would be playing. Not having him would be something the Ducks would handle in stride, but if The Black Momba is full-go, it's a huge lift, and something Washington was lulled into discounting this week. The boot may have been necessary, but it also served as a mind game from a crafty first-year coach looking for an edge in a heated rivalry.   (Photo by Ron Chenoy, USA Today Sports)  
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