Oregon football vs. Utah: How to watch, keys to the game
The College Football Playoff is now out of reach, but a win over the No. 10 Utes would put the No. 12 Ducks on the cusp of another Pac-12 championship game appearance. Oregon's chances of avenging the two one-sided losses to Utah in 2021 probably rest upon the health of Ducks quarterback Bo Nix.
How to watch
When: 7:30 p.m. PT, Saturday, Nov. 19
Where: Autzen Stadium, Eugene
RADIO: AM 1080
What to watch for
For months, this has looked like the toughest game on Oregon's schedule. That hasn't changed — though next weekend's game at Oregon State shapes up as a real challenge, too. What's changed is the Ducks enter this game with more questions than any game this season. The big one, of course, is the health of quarterback Bo Nix. If he plays, and if he's able to be his usual dual-threat self, then the Ducks figure to put up points on a Utah defense that is solid, but as dominant as the Utes' recent units. UCLA and USC, the two best offensive they have faced, each scored 42 points.
It's a safe bet Oregon will need to be its usual productive offense to win this game. The Utah offense throws a different challenge than the one-dimensional passing attack that Washington shredded Oregon with a week ago. Certainly Cam Rising presents a challenge somewhat similar to what Bo Nix gives Oregon: He's thriving as a thrower and is enough of a threat as a runner to keep defenses honest — and is a tough competitor who is one of the emotional leaders for a team focused on winning a second consecutive Pac-12 title. Rising is Utah's second leading rusher, averaging 6.4 yards per tote. Throwing the ball, Rising is completing 66.3% of his attempts with 19 touchdowns and four interceptions. As usual, his big target is a tight end. Senior Dalton Kincad (6-4, 240) has 50 catches and averages 13 yards per reception with seven touchdowns. The Utes will line up with two, three and four tight ends and want to pound the resistance out of the Ducks, which they did with impressive efficiency twice last season. Leading rusher Tavion Thomas has played through. injuries, but last week ran for 180 yard in a throttling of Stanford.
Now, this is a home game. And one loss (in a game the Ducks should have won) doesn't evaporate that advantage. Especially in the final home game of the season, the Ducks — and their fans — should be in the right frame of mind. Whether or not they are up to the physical requirement might be another question. Again, if Nix is Nix, it's fair to project this as a Ducks win. If he's not? Ty Thompson must play a clean game and get help from running backs Bucky Irving and Noah Whittington if the Ducks are going to win — or even just hang in. It's hard to have a lot of confidence in the Oregon defense, but players such as Brandon Dorlus, DJ Johnson and Noah Sewell should be primed for big nights among those who will have their last Autzen experience.
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