When the Washington Huskies take the field on Saturday against the Oregon Ducks, it will mark the latest chapter in a heated rivalry between two of the top teams in the Pac 12. The Huskies will be trying to end a nine-year streak of futility against the high-powered Ducks and have a team that could get it done. They are as talented and athletic as they’ve ever been and Steve Sarkisian has them focused on breaking through this season. To get it done against Oregon, however, Keith Price is going to have to be on top of his game.
So far this season, Price has been spectacular and making a case for himself as the best quarterback in the conference (which is saying something with the class of quarterbacks in the Pac 12 this season). He ranks No. 23 in the country averaging 278.8 yards per game and is completing a phenomenal 71.3 percent of his passes (10th best mark in college football). He’s making great decisions with the football as he leads Washington’s up-tempo attack this season with 11 touchdowns and just three interceptions.
Last week, he turned in one of his best performances of his career on the road against a tough Stanford Cardinal defense. Price completed 33 of 48 passes for 350 yards and two touchdowns. He had one interception that was the result of a tipped pass near the goal line that could have been another touchdown and may have been the difference for UW in their upset bid. Despite falling short, it was a gutsy performance from Price who played most of the game with the thumb on his throwing hand taped up.
This week, he faces another daunting challenge. Oregon boasts a surprisingly stout pass defense with some of the best personnel in the country roaming their secondary. While they rank just No. 29 in yards per game (204.8), Oregon is one of the toughest teams in the country against the pass. The raw yardage numbers are inflated because they see an average of 41 passes per game (8th most in the country) as teams turn to the air to try and rally from deficits. They rank No. 7 in quarterback rating allowed (91.67), No. 12 in completion percentage allowed (50.7) and have only allowed three touchdown passes on the season.
We will learn just how good both sides are this weekend, however, as Price and his talented receiving corps match up with the dynamic secondary of the Ducks. As these I-5 rivals square off in Seattle this Saturday, the winner of this matchup could decide the game. Keith Price vs the Oregon secondary: Who you got?