No. 17 Utah (9-3, 8-1 Pac-12) vs. No. 10 Oregon (10-2, 7-2 Pac-12)
- Kickoff: Friday, 6 p.m. MST
- Venue: Allegiant Stadium (65,000 capacity)
- TV: ABC (Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Holly Rowe)
- Livestream: WatchESPN
- Radio: ESPN 700 AM
- Series: Oregon leads 23-11
- Weather: Domed stadium
For Oregon: After losing 38-7 to Utah at Rice-Eccles Stadium, the Ducks rebounded and won the Pac-12 North with a 38-29 win over Oregon State that wasn’t as close as what the score indicated. The Ducks outgained the Beavers 506-393, Anthony Brown threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns, and Travis Dye rushed for 99 yards and two touchdowns.
For Utah: Utah closed the regular season on a five-game win streak, including the win against Oregon, who was then No. 3 in the College Football Playoff rankings.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Once again, the battle at the line of scrimmage and the run game will be the key to the game.
Against Oregon two weeks ago, the Utes stopped the Ducks’ rushing attack, limiting Oregon to 63 total yards rushing and forcing Oregon quarterback Anthony Brown to throw the ball. Brown threw for 231 yards and a touchdown but was never able to get in a rhythm and couldn’t lead Oregon down the field for more than one touchdown, posting just a 48.6% completion percentage.
Utah sacked Brown three times and had six total tackles for loss.
On the other side of the ball, Utah’s offensive line protected Ute quarterback Cam Rising well and the Utes rushed for 208 yards, with 94 yards and three touchdowns coming from Tavion Thomas. Utah also neutralized Kayvon Thibodeaux well.
Both teams have some of the best rushing offenses (Utah No. 1 in Pac-12 at 218.2 yards per game and Oregon No. 4 at 214 yards per game) and rushing defenses (Oregon No. 2 in Pac-12 at 124.3 yards per game and Utah No. 3 at 126.6 yards per game) in the conference.
The Utes will need to control the line of scrimmage to beat the Ducks again and go to the Rose Bowl.
Anthony Brown, QB, Oregon
As mentioned above, Utah stopped the run well, including containing Brown on the ground. Brown averaged about 54 yards of rushing per game in 2021, but was held to just 8 rushing yards against Utah. Brown has had big rushing performances in many of Oregon’s wins, including a 65-yard performance against Ohio State, an 85-yard performance against UCLA and a 123-yard performance against Washington State.
Brown needs to have a better success rushing and throwing against the Utes this time if Oregon is to beat Utah and win the Pac-12 championship. He’s coming off of a good game against Oregon State, where he was 23 for 28 (82.1%) for 275 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 83 yards and a score.
Utah, like Oregon, has the one of the best rushing defenses in the Pac-12, so Brown will likely have to pass a little bit more.
Brown has been good so far this season, Utah game aside, leading Oregon to the No. 2 passing offense in the Pac-12, with 2,966 total passing yards.
“No major overhauls is probably the overall bottom line, but you do tweak some things and make some subtle adjustments here and there. Not a lot of things have changed with either team in eight days or nine days, but really, it’s the execution, the energy and that type of stuff that’s more critical than any minor schematic adjustments that you make.”
— Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham on facing Oregon again
“There’s a significant amount of pressure from Utah on first and second down, as well as third down. Some great and exotic looks on third down that are hard to block. I think there’s always carryover, there is always retention, but it is a brand new game with coaches that are working on both sides because everybody wants it, right? Everybody wants it, and wants it bad. There’s always going to be something extra, right? There’s going to be a wrinkle, there’s going to be an adjustment, there’s going to be a different look, there’s going to be different play or a different scheme, whatever it may be.”
— Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal on facing Utah again
Bowl games for Utah and Oregon. The winner of the Pac-12 championship will play in the Rose Bowl, while the loser will likely play in the Alamo Bowl.
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 — Utah 37, Oregon 7
Nov. 26 — Utah 28, Colorado 13
Dec. 3 — Pac-12 Championship vs. Oregon (6 p.m., ABC)
All times MT