Check out our new college football “Fab Five” in this quick video:
When and where: November 10, 2018, Rice Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT, 5:30 PM ET
Fresh off a spectacular win over UCLA, the Oregon Ducks will head on the road for a Pac-12 divisional showdown with the Utah Utes. The Ducks hope to build a little momentum after rebounding from back-to-back losses to Washington State and Arizona. Meanwhile, the Utes are coming off an upset loss to Arizona State.
Need to see more Zach Moss from Utah
In what was easily Utah’s most disappointing game of the season, we didn’t get to see nearly enough of running back Zach Moss, who gashed Arizona State’s defense for 128 yards on 18 carries. It was a night where quarterback Tyler Huntley clearly didn’t have his best stuff. Even when he went down with a season-ending injury and backup Jason Shelley was handed the reins, the offense still appeared reluctant to pound the ball on the ground.
It’s even more surprising considering Moss was averaging a ridiculous 7.1 yards per carry. He was clearly the hot hand last Saturday that the Utes failed to utilize.
The defensive meltdown was also apparent for a Utes team that was only allowing an average of 19.1 points per game.
👉 3 touchdowns
👉 161 yards
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) November 3, 2018
Arizona State was able to move the ball on the ground effectively for 251 total yards. They also struggled in pass coverage against quarterback Manny Wilkins, who lit up the secondary with 19 completions for 285 yards and three touchdowns.
Oregon finally gets the run game going
Oregon has been a better football team when they can move the ball on the ground consistently on offense. Trying to win games with the arm of Justin Herbert against decent defenses has been a recipe for disaster for the Ducks. That was evident in their loss to Washington State when he dropped back 44 times in a 34-20 loss on the road.
It was 48 times against Arizona’s defense in a game where he finished with 186 passing yards, two touchdowns, one interception and a 35.8 QBR. Oregon lost that game in a 44-15 blowout.
However, last week, the Ducks finally found some balance on offense. Freshman running back CJ Verdell broke free for 90 rushing yards and one touchdown, and his effort was followed by a strong rushing day from Tony Brooks-James. The senior tailback contributed five carries for 73 yards and one touchdown.
"Speed will kill you every time." – @TimBrando
— Oregon Football (@oregonfootball) November 4, 2018
Oregon isn’t a sound team defensively, which means most of their games tend to be high-scoring affairs. They’ll need that balanced approach to carry over into this Saturday if they have any hope of pulling off the upset over Utah.
- Utes are 21-8-1 ATS against teams with a winning record
- Utes are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after a loss
- Utes are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games
- Utes are 17-8-1 ATS in their last 26 games after allowing more than 450 total yards in the previous game
- Ducks are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in the previous game
- Ducks are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games
- Ducks are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games played on the road
- Ducks are 1-10 ATS in their last 11 games following a straight up win of more than 20 points
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
If Oregon is highly-dependent on success running the football, they could face big problems going on the road against a Utes defense only allowing an average of 100 rushing yards per game. That number has obviously ballooned after the loss to Arizona State as well. That last part is worth mentioning to drive home just how good that defense has been against the run.
It could be an uphill battle if the Ducks are forced to rely on Herbert to carry the offense. The magic number in this game is 40. If Herbert drops back to pass 40-plus times, the Ducks are probably in trouble. Utah should come in with a little extra motivation to not only bounce back from a disappointing performance against Arizona State, but they are also deadlocked in a race to the top of the Pac-12 conference.
The loss of Huntley bears watching in this game, but Moss will be able to save the day against Oregon’s generous run defense, which is allowing 143.2 yards on the ground per game.
Prediction: Utah Utes (-3.5)
Full-Game Total Pick
The over is 5-1 in the last six head-to-head meetings between these two teams. While the Utes typically don’t give up many points on defense, I do believe the game against Arizona State exposed them in ways, particularly up front against the run. This will be another offensive shootout with the Utes coming out on top this year.
Prediction: Over (56.5)