No. 7 Washington, No. 8 Oregon prepared for marquee matchup
So just how big is Saturday's matchup between No. 7 Washington and No. 8 Oregon?
It's the first time both programs have been ranked in the Top 10 when meeting in the rivalry's 123-year history.
ESPN's "College GameDay" will be on hand in Seattle.
And the matchup features a pair of quarterbacks who are Heisman Trophy candidates: Oregon's Bo Nix and Washington's Michael Penix Jr.
"This is what we tell young people: This is why you come to UW, for games just like this," Huskies co-defensive coordinator William Inge said.
Both the Ducks (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) and Huskies (5-0, 2-0) are coming off bye weeks that helped them get healthy.
Huskies wide receiver Jalen McMillan is expected to return after missing the past two games with a leg injury suffered at Michigan State. Fellow receiver Rome Odunze appeared to injure his midsection while recovering an onside kick Sept. 30 at Arizona, but UW offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb said Odunze is "ready to go."
Two starters in Oregon's secondary, cornerback Khyree Jackson and safety Bryan Addison, are also expected back after getting banged up Sept. 30 at Stanford.
The Huskies defeated the Ducks 37-34 last season in Eugene, Ore., on a 43-yard field goal with 51 seconds remaining.
Penix threw for 408 yards and two touchdowns, including a 62-yarder with 3:07 to go that tied the score. Nix passed for 280 yards and two TDs and rushed for 55 yards and another score.
Penix is the current Heisman frontrunner at +200, while Nix is the No. 3 betting favorite at +600, according to the latest odds from BetMGM.
Penix is averaging 399.8 yards per game with 16 touchdowns; Nix has an 80.4 completion percentage with 15 TDs.
Ducks coach Dan Lanning, previously the defensive coordinator at Georgia when the Bulldogs won a national title, said he's never seen a conference with the quarterback talent the Pac-12 has this season.
"I think it's really impressive. There's great quarterback play in this league right now," Lanning said. "And we're going to see all of them. So this is certainly, I think, one of the best, if not the best, that we've seen so far."
This will be Lanning's first trip as a head coach to Husky Stadium, one of the loudest venues in the country.
"Hostile can be fun," he said. "I think this one will be one of those environments where there's gonna be a lot of distractions, a lot of pieces going on outside the puzzle, but we're really focused on being the eye of the storm, the calm within the storm. And I think our guys will handle that well."
Huskies coach Kalen DeBoer, like Lanning in his second season, also learned a lot about the rivalry last year.
"It's fun, and it's special," DeBoer said. "It was big going on the road at that time, getting a win there. ... You get so caught up just preparing, and you live in your own little world just as far as what the game plan is going to be.
"You learn a lot just so far as the excitement and the passion ... Obviously, (Nos.) 7 and 8 in the country. So, a lot of great football is going to be played on (Saturday) for sure."
--Field Level Media
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