With eight years of losses to overturn, the odds would appear greatly stacked against the Washington Huskies this weekend as they travel to Oregon hoping to prevent it from becoming nine consecutive losses.
However, Washington’s 3-1 record would suggest that they have the ability to record an underdog but will need several individuals to perform is that’s to happen.
The Ducks faced off against Washington State last week but will have an altogether different challenge on their hands in this year’s edition of the Border War.
Having traded playing duties with Justin Glenn all season thus far, Will Shamburger will most likely get the chance to shine once again at Autzen Stadium on Saturday.
Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas account for a major portion of Oregon’s attacking responsibilities and will need to be restrained to some extent if the visitors are to have any chance of recording an upset.
Shamburger had a breakout game against San Diego State earlier in the season, recording a 44-yard fumble return and making a great impression in the process.
The strong safety will have a massive game on his hands but if Barner and Thomas are allowed to roam free, the Huskies could easily be on the wrong end of a rout.
The talents of Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas mean that the rushing game is Oregon’s most potent weapon, but the pass is far from an aspect of the Ducks’ game to ignore.
As a result, it’s essential that Desmond Trufant is on hand to suppress the likes of Daryle Hawkins and Bralon Addison.
In a game against No. 2 in the nation, it’s vital that the team captain stand up and be accounted for in fixtures such as these.
The senior won’t come across many other opportunities to lead as important as he will this Saturday.
Trufant’s late interception against Stanford last week effectively secured the victory for Washington, a performance the cornerback will need to mimic against the offensively fearsome Ducks.
An inevitably huge share of the Huskies’ attacking burden falls upon one of their most senior members and quarterback, Keith Price.
In eight years of unhappiness against Oregon, offensive inefficiency has been the main contribution to the Huskies’ losing record, a record it’s up to Price to overturn.
Looked upon as a possible Heisman candidate, Washington will need their offensive line to be in full effect if they’re to maximize Price's potential.
In the win over No. 8 Stanford last week, defense was far from a problem for the Huskies; protecting the quarterback sometimes was.
With five TDs and two interceptions, the QB has developed a strong link with Kasen Williams on occasion this season and has to rekindle that partnership if his team is to topple No. 2 Oregon.
In what turned out to be a breakout matchup for the sophomore tailback, Bishop Sankey ran for 144 yards against Stanford last week from 20 carries.
Bearing in mind that Stanford had only allowed 124 rushing yards in their previous three games, Sankey’s emergence begins to look all the more promising.
While the 200-pound, Spokane-born running back isn’t the explosive talent that some like to see, he churns out yardage on a consistent basis, and as long as Sankey is in possession, it means the Oregon offense is not.
Since grabbing his first star against LSU, Sankey’s performance has done nothing but soar, and if momentum is anything to value, the Ducks’ defense may find it difficult to stop the youngster.