Friday’s battle for the Pac-12 Conference crown is bound to be intense with major post-season implications. The conference title winner gets an automatic bid to the Rose Bowl, unless the winner gets a berth into the College Football Playoff (Utah has a chance), then the No. 2 team would go to the Rose Bowl.
Oregon is looking for its first win over a top 5 team since the 2015 Rose Bowl against No. 2 Florida State. No. 5 Utah is playing in the Pac-12 Championship game for the second-straight year after winning the Pac-12 South Title outright both years (2019, 2018).
Oregon opened as 6.5-point underdogs to Utah. The total over/under is set at 50 points.
AN OREGON WIN WOULD…
· Tie Oregon with Stanford for most Pac-12 Championship Game victories (3).
· Clinch the program's eighth appearance in the Rose Bowl.
· Give Oregon seven seasons with 11 or more wins (first time since 2014).
A UTAH WIN WOULD…
· Be Utah’s first conference championship.
· Extend its winning streak to nine games, their longest winning streak since 2008 when Utah went undefeated (13-0).
· Keep its college football playoffs hopes alive.
Oregon’s offensive line will be back at full strength for the Pac-12 Championship Game. Ducks center Jake Hanson, who did not play against Oregon State or the second half against Arizona State, is expected to play against Utah.
Backup receiver Daewood Davis did not play against Oregon State and his status remains undetermined for Friday.
In the last four games, freshman Kayvon Thibodeaux has eight tackles for loss and four sacks. Coming off a two tackles for loss, one sack performance, Thibodeaux matched a program freshman record with 6.5 sacks on the season, tying Troy Dye’s 2016 total.
DOMINANT DUCK DEFENSE
Oregon’s defense has held 11 of its 12 opponents under their season scoring average.
HERBERT’S SUCCESSES VS. UTAH
In quarterback Justin Herbert’s career vs. Utah, he’s gone 50-for-76 (65.8%) for 612 yards, six touchdowns and zero interceptions.
The Utes are ranked second in the FBS and first in Pac-12 in completion percentage (.747). Utah’s Tyler Huntley and LSU’s Joe Burrow are the only two quarterbacks who have thrown under 70 percent in two or less games. They are also the only two that have thrown for 80 percent or higher in four games this season.
JOHNNY JOHNSON III CATCHING FIRE
Johnny Johnson III is finishing the season strong, recording 18 catches for 335 yards and four touchdowns in the last three games. 34 of the junior’s 49 receptions have gone for first downs and he has three-straight games with a touchdown catch.
UTAH LEADING THE NATION
Utah leads the FBS in rushing defense (56.3) with opponents averaging just 2.26 yards per carry. The Utes have held 11 of their 12 opponents to under 100 yards rushing and have outscored their opponents 193-61 in the second half this season.