Oregon vs. Washington: Why De'Anthony Thomas Will Lead Ducks to Victory

Ryan DavenportContributor IOctober 5, 2012

EUGENE, OR - SEPTEMBER 15:  De'Anthony Thomas #6 of the Oregon Ducks runs for a touchdown in the 1st quarter against the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles on September 15, 2012 at the Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

He doesn't need much time to make a difference. 

That's the beauty of De'Anthony Thomas' presence in the Oregon Ducks offense. 

So far this season, Thomas has been a quick-strike specialist both through the air and on the ground, and he's easily Oregon's most dynamic threat when the team needs to put points on the board. 

Fortunately, that hasn't happened often this season, as the Ducks have won each of their first five games by at least 17 points. 

However, that may change on Saturday night, as the Ducks take on a surging University of Washington Huskies team. 

The Huskies, fresh off their 17-13 upset against No. 8 Stanford, will get another opportunity to take down a Top 10 team, but they've yet to face a talent as versatile as Thomas. 

He hasn't been a game-breaker so far this season, but he hasn't had to be. 

In a close game though, Thomas will be on the field, and he'll be the catalyst of the Ducks' star-studded offense, whether it be on the ground or taking opposing secondaries deep. 

As the Ducks' leader in receiving yards and the second-leading rusher, Thomas is a dual-threat that is difficult for opposing defenses to prepare for. 

Unless this game turns out to be a blowout, Thomas will be getting more touches from the backfield and will force the Huskies to respect his speed on the outside when he lines up as a receiver. 

Either way, Thomas will be the Ducks' key to success on Saturday, because an athletic defense like the Huskies' won't be as easy to beat as Oregon's previous opponents. 

At the beginning of the season, Thomas was considered by many to be a Heisman Trophy favorite, and though his numbers haven't been as gaudy as some might have expected, a signature performance against a Top 25 opponent like Washington would put him back in contention.