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Prognostication Station: Oregon vs Arizona, Pac-12 Picks

The Ducks await Khalil Tate and Arizona’s rushing attack

NCAA Football: Arizona at Southern California Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon enters their showdown against Arizona with renewed confidence after quarterback Justin Herbert was medically cleared to play on Thursday. Quite possibly, this could be called the game of the year for the Ducks. This season comes down to the next two weeks.

Welcome back for ATQ’s series Prognostication Station! Each week of the Pac-12 season, I will take a look back at my preseason projections and make a few new ones for the week ahead. Let’s break down the first full slate of games on the Pac-12 calendar:

PAC-12 PICKS (31-12 OVERALL, 9-2 LAST TWO WEEKS)

Comment: Once again, ASU prevented me from a perfect week. Can’t get a decent read on them

Arizona State vs Oregon State

Well, I’m rolling with the Sun Devils and Manny Wilkins yet again. Prove me wrong, Beavers

Final Score: ASU 27, Oregon State 24

UCLA vs No. 11 USC

Not many saw that second-half outburst coming by Bruins last week, but it won’t matter vs USC

Final Score: USC 42, UCLA 31

California vs No. 22 Stanford

The Cardinal look to stay hot against an inconsistent Bear team. The Bryce Love show continues

Final Score: Stanford 38, Cal 14

Utah vs No. 18 Washington

I’m not going to push my luck by predicting losses for UW, as they right themselves vs Utes

Final Score: UW 31, Utah 13

Oregon v Arizona State
The wait is finally over! On Saturday, Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert will return to the field in a much-anticipated meeting with the Arizona Wildcats and their superstar QB Khalil Tate. Herbert has not appeared in a game since his injury during Week 5 against the Cal Bears.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

vs Arizona, W (6-5)

Well, it seems like Justin Herbert will finally return on Saturday against Arizona. Of course, I always like to hear straight from the source (aka Willie Taggart) before jumping to conclusions, but his medical clearance was confirmed. Regardless, a player may never be more welcomed back by a program and its fans like Herbert will on Saturday at Autzen. The hometown kid has made incredible progress in his recovery from a fractured collarbone suffered vs Cal in Week 5. Obviously, Milk does a body good with Herbert healed just seven weeks later. The Wildcats boast the best rushing attack in the Pac-12 and the third-best in the nation. Quarterback Khalil Tate will create problems with his legs, but Oregon can capitalize when he’s in the pocket. The Ducks have the second-best rush defense in the conference, so this game will come down to Oregon’s offense vs Arizona’s defense. With Herbert back, I like UO’s odds. Taggart should look to keep his QB healthy, by making the game plan simple and without harm. Therefore, don’t be looking for many scrambles out of No. 10 on Saturday. A heavy dose of the Duck run game is a recipe for success. Look for Royce Freeman to finish his college career strong, amassing over 150 rushing yards in his each of final two home games. ‘Rolls’ will score a touchdown this week, setting the table for his record-breaking performance vs OSU. Herbert will throw for 223 yards and two scores. His main man Charles Nelson will inhale eight receptions for 124 yards and a tally. Jacob Breeland will catch six for 65 yards, as well. As for the defense, who else but Troy Dye will lead the team with a game-high 14 tackles. He will need to be the spy of Tate. Thomas Graham Jr. will intercept a pass, while freshman Brady Breeze will force a critical fumble. The Ducks will hold Arizona to their fewest yards on the ground this season, but Tate will still break loose for a 50-plus yard run. With the huge victory, the Ducks will become bowl eligible for the first time since the 2015 campaign. Final Score: Oregon 34, Arizona 31

Oregon’s (5-5, 2-5) ready for their final two home games of the regular season. They need one win. The Arizona Wildcats (7-3, 5-2) and Rich Rodriguez invade Autzen Stadium on Saturday. Kickoff is slated for 4:00 p.m. PT via the Pac-12 Network.

Stay tuned, if you want to; Twitter @TheQuackFiend Gram @eugene_levys_eyebrows