The annual Border War is upon us. This Saturday, Oregon will face Washington at Autzen Stadium, looking for their 11th straight win over the Huskies. The Ducks added some fuel to the fire yesterday when they unveiled the retro uniforms they'll wear for the game, These are the same uniforms the Ducks wore against Washington on Oct. 22, 1994 when Kenny Wheaton picked off Damon Huard and changed the landscape of Oregon football forever. Trolling level: Expert.
After a crushing loss to Arizona, the Ducks rebounded with a dominating 42-30 win over UCLA. The score made the game look closer than it actually was as Oregon led 42-17 with five minutes left to go in the game.
Now, the Ducks will face Cyler Miles and the Huskies. If you think this game will be close, think again. Gone is Keith Price. Gone is Bishop Sankey. Gone is any chance at Washington's chance at snapping a losing streak to the Ducks that started in 2004. But since you're here, you might as well take a look at what the Huskies do have on offense this year.
Leading Washington's offense is sophomore Cyler Miles. This season, Miles has thrown for 896 yards, nine touchdowns and no interceptions through his first five games. Miles was suspended for the season opener against Hawaii. In last week's win against Cal, Miles completed 22-of-29 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns. Miles is a dual threat quarterback, racking up 209 rushing yards and three touchdowns (Technically, he only has 111 net yards, but I don't believe sacks should count as "rushing attempts"). His three rushing touchdowns tie for the team lead. Washington coaches have wanted Miles to stay in the pocket more, but Oregon will certainly need to be ready to stop him not just when he's in the pocket, but when he's on the move as well.
Lavon Coleman is Washington's leading rusher with 94 carries for 410 yards and one touchdown. His best game of the year so far came against Eastern Washington when he ran the ball 17 times for 118 yards and a touchdown, his only time reaching the end zone so far this season. Since that game, Coleman hasn't rushed for more than 66 yards.
Dwayne Washington is more of a scoring threat than Coleman is with three rushing touchdowns, but like Coleman, has also gone cold since Pac-12 play started. His three touchdowns this year came against Eastern Washington and Illinois in consecutive weeks. Since then, Washington has rushed for only 116 yards in three games. Washington nor Coleman should cause any sorts of problems for the Ducks on Saturday.
Through the air, John Ross leads the Huskies with 358 receiving yards and four touchdowns through five games. He has just 13 catches all season, so he is a threat to make some big catches, averaging 27.5 yards per catch in 2014. In last week's win over Cal, Ross had four catches for 118 yards and a touchdown. Earlier this year, Ross had a 91-yard touchdown catch against Hawaii, the second longest pass in school history. Against Cal last week, Ross hauled in an 86-yard touchdown pass. All of his touchdowns this year have come on plays going for 20 yards or more. Ross also leads the team with 637 all purpose yards.
Jaydon Mickens is Cyler Miles' favorite target this season as Mickens leads the Huskies with 33 catches so far in 2014 for 301 yards and two touchdowns. Last week against Cal, Mickens had a season-high 10 catches for 69 yards. Mickens has yet to break the century mark for receiving yards in a game this season, but that could come on Saturday against an Oregon secondary that has been vulnerable at times this year.
Who to Watch For
Cyler Miles has limited weapons on offense, but I am curious to see if John Ross can bust out any big touchdown catches against the Ducks. Two of his touchdown catches this year have gone for 86 and 91 yards, so it'll be interesting to see if the Ducks can stop something similar happening. Ross only gets a few looks his way all game, but he sure knows how to make them count.
This is probably one of the more less intimidating offenses the Ducks have faced so far in 2014. The Huskies don't have a rushing game, and Cyler Miles is still learning the ropes in his first year leading the offense. Don't get me wrong, Miles is certainly talented. His accuracy is astounding as he's yet to throw a pick this year, but he just doesn't have enough weapons to keep this game competitive. I'd say this is going to be another blowout win over the Huskies for Oregon. For the 11th straight year, Oregon will not only win this game, but will do so by more than one score....easily.