No. 23 Utah (7-3, 6-1 Pac-12) vs. No. 3 Oregon (9-1, 6-1 Pac-12)
- Kickoff: Saturday, 5:30 p.m. MST
- Venue: Rice-Eccles Stadium (51,444 capacity)
- TV: ABC
- Livestream: WatchESPN
- Radio: ESPN 700 AM
- Series: Oregon leads 23-10
- Weather: Partly cloudy with temperatures in the high 30s at kickoff.
For Oregon: Since losing to Stanford on Oct. 2, Oregon’s only loss of the season, the Ducks have won five consecutive games. They are No. 3 in the College Football Playoff rankings, meaning they would be in position for the four-team playoff if they win out.
For Utah: The Utes have won three in a row following their only Pac-12 loss to Oregon State on Oct. 23. Utah can clinch the Pac-12 South title with a win against Oregon.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Oregon and Utah enter Saturday’s matchup as two of the best running teams in the Pac-12. The Ducks average 227.4 yards per game on the ground, while the Utes average 214.7.
Without star running back CJ Verdell, who was lost to a season-ending injury in early October, Oregon is led by Travis Dye, who has rushed for 908 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Quarterback Anthony Brown is also a threat to run, having rushed for for 551 yards and eight touchdowns.
Utah is led by Tavion Thomas, who sat out last week’s game against Arizona for precautionary reasons.
Thomas, who has rushed for 742 yards and a league-best 14 touchdowns, will be fully rested and ready to go against the Ducks.
TJ Pledger and Micah Bernard should get a few carries as well, and both have proven to be capable runners.
Whichever team wins the line of scrimmage battle and is more productive on the ground could be the team that wins the game.
Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon
Thibodeaux is perhaps the best defensive player in college football and is projected to go No. 1 overall in the 2022 NFL draft in a number of mock drafts.
The 6-foot-5, 258-pound Thibodeaux missed two games and a chunk of another early in the season with an ankle injury, but still ranks second in the Pac-12 in sacks this season with six.
Thibodeaux has had at least one sack in 13 of his 27 career games played, and has 18 total sacks in his career.
Thibodeaux is fast getting off of the edge and has a knack for getting to the quarterback.
“We have Oregon coming up and they’re a really good football team. Top three or four in the nation and they have tons of talent across the board. Both defensive ends are tremendous players, the quarterback is a big strong kid that runs the ball well, the offensive line is talented, skill positions are loaded and they are doing a good job running the football. So, we have our work cut out for us and we have them at home which a good thing and we hope that Rice-Eccles is rocking and gives us that great home field advantage.”
— Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham on Oregon
“Really talented football team. They’ve recruited really well, got a lot of staff continuity. They’ve done what they’ve done for a long time and worked for a long time together. They do a really good job. A lot of guys who play with power. A lot of speed on that team; explosive players. Again, familiarity from having run the same systems for a significant amount of time. Just an excellent football team. It’ll be a great challenge for us, a great opportunity.”
— Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal on Utah, per The Oregonian
Utah hosts Colorado on Nov. 26; Oregon travels to Oregon State on Nov. 27.
Sept. 2 — Utah 40, Weber State 17
Sept. 11 — BYU 26, Utah 17
Sept. 18 — San Diego State 33, Utah 31 (3OT)
Sept. 25 — Utah 24, Washington State 13
Oct. 9 — Utah 42, USC 26
Oct. 16 — Utah 35, Arizona State 21
Oct. 23 — Oregon State 42, Utah 34
Oct. 30 — Utah 44, UCLA 24
Nov. 5 — Utah 52, Stanford 7
Nov. 13 — Utah 38, Arizona 29
Nov. 20 — Oregon (5:30 p.m., ABC)
Nov. 26 — Colorado (2 p.m., FOX)
All times MT