Photo by Troy Wayrynen / USA Today
Oregon Football

Tale of the Tape: Offense

October 9, 2018

The Oregon Ducks face off against the Washington Huskies on Saturday in what is not only a big rivalry game, but also one with conference championship implications. It’s also the first time in years that both teams come into the game ranked.

Let’s break down both teams’ offenses.

Washington is led by senior quarterback Jake Browning. The team averages 29.2 points and 442 total yards per game -- 272 through the air and 170 on the ground. It is the first year under offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan (who replaced Jonathan Smith, now the Oregon State head coach), but after a slow start the Huskies' offense is starting to click.

So far this season Browning has completed 66.9 percent of his passes, with 9 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Browning is also running the ball more this season, including a critical 49 net yards and 1 TD in last week's 31-24 win over UCLA.

Despite key injuries, the Washington offensive line has done a good job of giving Browning enough time to throw the ball while also creating holes for the running backs. As new players work into the rotation, they clearly still have room to grow.

Browning has talented players out on the wings as well.

Leading receiver Aaron Fuller will be a dangerous threat all day long; he has gone up and made some incredible catches this season, so the Ducks will have to work hard to contain him. Fuller has 35 completions for 574 yards and 2 touchdowns. Filling the shoes of the graduated Dante Pettis is no easy task, but Fuller is doing everything he can to help Browning.

In the backfield, the Huskies rely primarily on senior Myles Gaskin and sophomore Salvon Ahmed. Gaskin appears to be on his way to a fourth straight 1,000-yard season, averaging almost 100 yards a game with 5 total touchdowns. Ahmed has been little-used at times, but he is averaging 43 yards a game with 2 total touchdowns.

Looking at the numbers, it’s obvious that Browning and the Huskies rely heavily on their air attack. But that doesn’t mean Gaskin and Ahmed should be overlooked; they are solid running backs and give the Huskies nice options on the ground.

On the other side of the field, the Ducks are coming off a bye week after beating Cal two weeks ago in their first road test of 2018.

Oregon’s offensive line received praise in the past week when Pro Football Focus announced that the top three lineman in the Pac-12 statistically are Oregon's Shane Lemieux, Calvin Throckmorton and Penei Sewell. The group is strong, but like Washington’s offensive line has room to grow.

Justin Herbert is having an incredible season, completing 64.7 percent of his passes for 1,411 yards and 15 touchdowns. But he has struggled to connect with his wide receivers at times, resulting in a lot of missed scoring opportunities.

In conference play, Dillon Mitchell has clearly become WR1 for the Ducks. The Memphis native's emergence couldn’t have come at a better time, because Herbert is going to need all of his weapons to be on point on Saturday.

The Ducks' run game is led by freshmen CJ Verdell and Travis Dye, who have gained 420 and 253 yards respectively. An ankle injury limited starter Tony Brooks-James to special teams in Berkeley; he has amassed 200 yards on the season, but is averaging just 8 carries per contest.

This game is going to be a really tight offensive match-up, and it’s hard to pick an obvious winner between the two. I have to go with the Ducks by a hair, because I think their offense has a little bit more of an X-factor.

Tags: Football, Oregon
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