Saturday night features a battle of two of the top teams in the nation as the No. 10 Utah Utes (8-2) take on the No. 12 Oregon Ducks (8-2). The Ducks will host this one at Autzen Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for 10:30 pm ET.
After beating Stanford last week 42-7, the Utes have now won four in a row since their loss to UCLA. Against Stanford, Cameron Rising threw for 219 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. Tavion Thomas led the way on the ground with 180 yards and another two scores.
For Oregon they are trying to bounce back from a heartbreaker at home, where they lost 37-34 to No. 15 Washington last weekend. Bo Nix threw for 279 yards and two scores in the defeat, while Mar’Keise Irving and Noah Whittington combined for 255 yards and a score on the ground.
Utah comes in as the slight favorite despite playing on the road. They are -137 to win, while the Ducks’ moneyline sits at +114. The spread features Oregon +2.5 (-105), and the over/under for total points is 60.5.
Utah Looks To Stay In PAC-12 Hunt
At 8-2 overall and 6-1 in the conference, both Utah and Oregon sit a single game back of No. 7 USC for the conference lead. With only a couple of weeks left, Utah knows this road game is basically a make-or-break if they want to contend for the conference title.
Leading Utah under center is Cameron Rising. The junior quarterback has thrown for 2,225 yards, 19 touchdowns, and just four interceptions this season. He has helped lead them to the 17th-best offense, averaging 35.6 points per game (28.3 on the road).
Rising’s favorite targets to date have been tight end Dalton Kincaid (649 yards, seven touchdowns) and wide receiver Devaughn Vele (546 yards, five touchdowns).
On the ground, junior running back Tavion Thomas has led the backfield. He has rushed 123 times this season for 632 yards (5.1 yards per carry) and seven touchdowns.
Defensively, the Utes rank 26th in scoring defense, allowing opponents just 21.4 points per game (25.3 on the road).
Ducks Hope Home Field Advantage Will Propel Them To A Win
The last four times that Oregon and Utah have matched up, the home team has not only won, but they have covered the spread as well. On Saturday, Oregon will look to keep the trend going as they host this one in Eugene.
Oregon’s offense ranks eighth in the nation, averaging 39.1 points per game (41.3 at home). This is in large part due to Bo Nix, who has thrown for 2,775 yards, 24 touchdowns, and five interceptions. Nix has also rushed for 516 yards and another 14 scores.
Bo Nix suffered a knee injury last week, though, and is considered questionable for this one. He did finish last week’s game, but if he can’t go, then it will be Ty Thompson taking over at quarterback. Thompson has thrown for just 72 yards and two interceptions in 21 attempts this season.
On the ground, sophomore Bucky Irving leads the Duck’s rushing attack. He has rushed 119 times for 831 yards and two scores. Defensively, Oregon ranks just 80th in the nation, allowing an average of 28.9 points per game to opponents.
Keep An Eye On Nix
Oregon opened as the favorite in this one, but with the uncertainty surrounding Nix’s availability, Utah now sits as the mild favorite. As such, it is imperative to keep an eye on the injury report.
If Nix is able to go, there is a lot of value in taking Oregon at home, where they are 19-1 in their last 20 games. If not, Utah has a significant advantage in this one.
Taking Utah at -137 might be the safe play for now, but that can easily change on a dime if Nix is able to go.