The 12th( AP)/11th (Coaches poll) ranked University of Washington Huskies ( 7-1 overall, 4-1 Pac-12) have been practicing all week for the unexpected in their preparations for Saturday Nights ( 7:00 p.m. PT ) game against the Oregon Ducks ( 5-4, 2-4) at Husky Stadium. With just four games left in the regular season, Husky head coach Chris Petersen has been stressing attention to detail to his players and coaches. Safe to say this is the business end of the Huskies season.
The meticulous attention to detail mantra will need to be adhered too in Saturday nights 110 meeting between the two northwest rivals. No one on the Washington side is really sure who will start at quarterback for the Ducks. Oregon head coach Willie Taggart has been coy on whether he will start sophomore Justin Herbert or freshman Braxton Burmeister. Herbert was in injured during the Ducks 45-24 victory over Cal. Herbert left after the first quarter and Burmeister has been the starter ever since.
The Ducks were 3-1 before the Herbert injury and are just 2-3 in their last five games with Burmeister behind center. Burmeister had a decent game during last Saturdays 41-20 Ducks victory over the Utah Utes in Eugene. Burmeister completed 9 of 12 passes for 47 yards and one touchdown. Herbert practiced this week with the Ducks first team but has not been given medical clearance to play
“We prepare for the system and whoever they put out there, we gotta go play,” Petersen said Thursday after the teams practice. “Like I said, we may emphasize different things for different quarterbacks, it’s the same. It’s the same system.”
The deciding factor in the Ducks beating the Utes was there ability to run the ball. Running back Royce Freeman one of 18 semifinalists for the Maxwell Award, an annual award given to the best all-around player in college football. Freeman gained 139 yards on 20 carries in the Utah game. James Brooks gained 106 yards on six carries. The Ducks had 347 rushing yards against the Utes.
Saturday nights contest like most football games will be about who is able to impose their will on their opponents. The Husky defense will serve as the toughest test to date for the Ducks rushing attack. The Huskies defense ranks second nationally against the run, eight against the pass and is allowing just 12.1 points per game. Ducks coach Willie Targett is well aware of the Huskies nationally ranked defense.