NOTES/QUOTES/PLAYERS TO WATCH
-- Jordon Scott, NT: Scott will have to play much bigger than his 6-foot-1, 329-pound frame if the Ducks want to leave Utah with a win. It’s no secret that with a backup quarterback running the offense, the Utes will turn to running back Zach Moss and a physical offensive line for success. That means Scott must be the neutralizing force to counteract Utah’s power. An extremely gifted nose tackle, Scott has been the Ducks’ most unheralded star this year but if Oregon leaves Salt Lake City with a victory, Scott won’t be unheralded anymore.
-- Calvin Throckmorton, OL: He has yet to allow a sack in his last 27 games, serving as a steady power on the Ducks’ offensive line. With center Jake Hanson suspended for the first half against Utah, Throckmorton’s presence, experience and communication will be imperative going up against a Utes defense surrendering just 100 rushing yards per game. The Ducks found offensive success last week by getting back to its roots and running the ball — Throckmorton will be vital if they’re to have any success in the trenches this week.
-- Ugochukwu Amadi, S: The senior has emerged as one of the most versatile and better playmakers in all of college football. He’s the only player in the country with a pick-six and a punt return for a touchdown on the season. He averages 24.3 yards per return, giving the Ducks a much-needed spark and his three interceptions is tied for second in the Pac-12. Extra possessions or special teams scores can turn the game against the Utes, so Amadi’s play is massive.
-- Justin Herbert, QB: Herbert has struggled on the road compared to being at home. At Autzen, Herbert possesses a 164.5 passer rating and averages 275.3 passing yards per game. It’s a different story on the road as he holds a 119.9 passer rating while being held to 227 yards per game. To have a chance, Herbert must be more efficient in leading Oregon’s offense against a very good Utah defense. Simply put, if Herbert plays well, the Ducks will probably win. But if he doesn’t, it could get ugly as night time falls in Salt Lake City.
Series History: 22-9 Oregon. The Ducks currently own a two-game winning streak in the series — a dramatic come-from-behind victory two years ago and last year’s dominating win in Eugene. Herbert dominated in Salt Lake City, throwing for 324 yards and three scores while adding 44 rushing yards and one score. The game was a coming out party for Herbert, showing how good he and the Ducks can be.
Quote to Note: “Overall, more positive than anything and certainly some good momentum as we prepare for a game against, in our opinion, arguably one of the most physical teams in (not just) the conference, but the country,” Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal said following last week’s 42-21 victory over UCLA.
-- LB Kaulana Apelu is out for the remainder of the regular season after suffering a lower leg fracture against UCLA last week
-- Sophomore LB Sampson Niu is now the listed starter, replacing Apelu
-- C Jake Hanson is suspended for the first half against Utah after being ejected for targeting last week
-- WR Dillon Mitchell was added to the Biletnikoff award watch list, given annually to the nation’s top wide receiver
-- S Ugochukwu Amadi is the only player in the nation with a pick-six and punt return for a touchdown
-- S Jevon Holland recorded his fourth interception against UCLA last week, now being No. 1 in the Pac-12 in interceptions
-- QB Justin Herbert has thrown a touchdown ins 24 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the country.
-- Following last week’s win, Oregon is bowl-eligible for the 13th time in the past 14 seasons