JUSTIN HERBERT: QB
STATS: 18/32, 202 yards passing, 2 TD,
DRAFT STOCK: 1st Round
Justin Herbert had one of his most modest games of the season. Facing the No. 7 Washington Huskies at home, Herbert seemed to have trouble getting into a rhythm all game, although his pass completion percentage would suggest otherwise.
The Huskies have a tough defense and they put pressure on Herbert all game by blitzing him and disguising their defensive schemes. Yet when in doubt, when Oregon needed a big play he found Dillon Mitchell (8/119) time and time again.
The Ducks travel to Pullman Saturday for a match-up with No. 25 Washington State. Head Coach Mike Leach is more known for his offense, yet Leach has the Cougars playing exceptional defense (15th in total defense) anchored by senior linebacker Peyton Pelluer.
Herbert will not see anything tricky or complex come Saturday. He should have no problem reading the blitz or deciphering what defensive schemes they’re in by utilizing pre-snap motions. The issue will be controlling his emotion and not let the crowd rattle him or his teammates. The WSU defenders are going to be pumped up from ESPN’s College Gameday on campus and potentially a little too aggressive.
If Herbert can use their over-aggressive play in his favor, the Ducks will walk out with the win.
PENEI SEWELL: OG
DRAFT STOCK: Freshman
Sewell continues to impress everybody with his play. It’s not easy to come in and start as a freshman. The speed and strength of the game usually take a year to get used to, but Sewell has stepped in and played like a fifth-year senior.
He was a big reason for the Ducks having 177 yards rushing and a part of a group that allowed only one sack and four QB hurries. He showed tremendous grit returning to the game in the second half after suffering a high ankle sprain; unfortunately for him, he will now miss roughly six weeks because of that same ankle.
The Ducks seem poised to move right tackle Calvin Throckmorton to left tackle in place of Sewell and insert backup Brady Aiello at right tackle. Next man up mentality.
JORDAN SCOTT: DT
STATS: 3-tackles, 2 solo-tackles, 1 TFL
DRAFT STOCK: Sophomore
Jordan Scott continues to be an anchor for the Ducks run defense. His huge body and quick feet make him near impossible to block one-on-one. The Ducks did give up over 400 yards of total offense, with 194 yards on the ground, but when push came to shove the Ducks kept the Dogs out of the end zone. Not to mention holding Washington to only 10 points in the second half and overtime.
The Washington State Cougars always seem to be an offensive juggernaut. Scott and Jalen Jelks are going to need to have monster games to keep this game close. WSU’s starting QB Gardner Minshew II leads the country with 2,422 passing yards while throwing 19 touchdowns and only four picks. That’s deadly accurate.
Not to mention he has speedy receivers and stands behind an O-line that has only allowed five sacks all year. For the Ducks to be successful, Scott must dominate the line and put pressure on Minshew; otherwise, he is going to have a field day against the Ducks.
JALEN JELKS: OLB
STATS: 4 tackles, 2 solo tackles,
DRAFT STOCK: 3rd Round
Jelks is a beast and that’s all there is to it. Against Washington, Jelks was masterful by keeping containment by not allowing any of the Husky running backs to get the edge. For an edge rusher, that is one of the most essential elements to the game.
Despite the Huskies having a committee of running backs rushing for almost 200 yards, the Dogs were unable to break anything longer than 25-yards.
The one poor spot on the defensive side was not being able to bring Husky QB Jake Browning to the ground. He consistently broke tackles and rolled out to find open receivers. That cannot be the case come Saturday. The Ducks must be able to finish tackles for losses when the opportunity strikes.
Like stated above, the Cougars have a dangerous passing attack with a great QB. Jelks and the rest of the Oregon rushers must put pressure on Minshew and bring him down when they get their hands on him.
If the Ducks cannot put any kind of pressure on the QB, then that will result in a landslide of points from a QB who not only leads the country in passing yards but has only four picks.
TROY DYE: LB
STATS: 10 total tackles, 7 solo tackles, 1 QB hurry
DRAFT STOCK: 4th Round
Dye again was everywhere. He continues to be the leader of the defense and makes play after play. To come away with seven solo tackles against a team with speed like the Huskies shows just how good Dye is in the open field.
His sure tackling helped keep the big plays at bay which allowed the Ducks to stay in the game. When playing a team like the Huskies, if you can’t keep them from making big plays by missing open field tackles, then the outcome is going to be bad. Troy Dye made sure he made all the right plays to help his team jump up to the No. 12 ranked team in the country.
WSU is known more for their passing game than the running game. Therefore it’s going to be imperative that Dye and the Ducks put pressure on the QB. It may mean the Ducks will have to blitz, and with sure handed receivers, look for Dye to bring pressure up the middle.
The key is making the QB throw before he’s ready. Dye must be precise timing the snap count properly and busting through the line. I see Dye coming up with his season high in sacks against WSU with perfectly timed blitzes.