College Football: PAC 12 Championship Game

Utah -6.5 @ Oregon (Game in Santa Clara, CA) O/U 45.5

Utah (26 Implied Team Total)
Duel threat QB Tyler Huntley is averaging 231 passing yards, 21.3 rushing yards, and 1.75 total TDs per game. While the senior does not attempt many passes, he’s extremely efficient. Huntley is completing 75.5% of his passes. He has not attempted more than 24 passes in 7 straight games. The matchup with the Oregon Ducks may force the Utah signal caller to the air. Oregon has only allowed 4 rush TDs this season. Meanwhile, they’re allowing 225.3 passing yards and have surrendered 15 pass TDs. The Utes are run heavy on offense as evidenced by their 65.8/34.2 run-pass split. The offense is averaging 65.6 plays per game.

Stand out RB Zac Moss is one of the nation’s best ball carriers. The senior back has run for 1,246 yards and 15 TDs on 200 carries this season (11 games). The senior has a rushing TD in 7 straight games (2 rush TDs in 5 out of 11 games). The workhorse back has received at least 17 carries in 6 straight games; he’s received 20+ carries in 3 out of the last 4 games. Moss is also effective in the passing game as he’s caught 22 passes for 317 yards. He has 1 TD reception on 25 targets (5th most on the team). This will be the toughest matchup the talented runner has encountered all season long (as noted above).

The Utes spread the ball around in the pass game. TE Brant Kuithe leads the team in all relevant pass catching stats. He has 29 receptions, 550 yards receiving, and 6 TDs on 38 targets. He’s also ran for 73 yards and 3 TDs on 5 carries this season. His last 3 games he’s posted (most recent listed first): 3/63/2 receiving and 2/59/1 rushing against Colorado, 4/81/0 receiving and 2/9/2 rushing against Arizona, and 5/132/1 against UCLA. He’s clearly the best play maker amongst the pass catchers. Slot WR Demari Simpkins has 28 receptions, 321 yards receiving, and 1 TD on 35 targets. He has 6 receptions, 69 yards receiving, and 1 TD on 9 targets in the Utes’ last 2 games (9 targets in 2 games to lead the team). Jaylen Dixon will also man the slot like Simpkins. The elusive speedster has 22 receptions, 313 yards receiving, and 1 TD on 32 targets. He has 3 receptions in each of the last 2 games. Bryan Thompson and Samson Nacua can’t be ruled on a single game slate. Thompson has 17 receptions, 452 yards receiving, and 3 TDs on 30 targets. The sophomore has 4 receptions of 40+ yards this season. Nacua has 13 receptions, 269 yards receiving, and 3 TDs on 18 targets. Both guys are boom or bust plays. Other secondary pass catchers include: Derrick Vickers (18/199/0 on 19 targets this season) and Cole Fotheringham (11/110/1 on 14 targets this season).

In 2019 (12 games), Utah is 14th in passing yards allowed with 185.3 yards/game. They are 1st in rushing yards allowed with 56.3 yards/game. The defense has given up 4 TDs on the ground (.33 TD/game) and 12 TDs through the air (1 TD/game) this season.

Oregon (19.5 Implied Team Total)
Justin Herbert is averaging 261.7 passing yards and 2.67 TD passes per game. The future pro had cleared 214 yards passing in 11 straight games before throwing for 174 yards in Oregon’s 24-10 win over Oregon State. The matchup with Utah is brutal though it’s more favorable for the passing game. The Utes have (arguably) the nation’s top run defense; they’re holding opposing backfields to 56.3 rushing yards per game. They’ve only surrendered 4 rush TDs. Utah is also strong against the pass (185.3 yards passing allowed per game) though they’ve given up 12 pass TDs in 12 games this season (it’s still tied for 5th amongst the teams playing on Championship weekend). The Ducks offense favors the run (52.4/47.6 run-pass split) and averages 69.8 plays per game.

CJ Verdell, Travis Dye, and Cyrus Habibi-Likio make up the Ducks’ backfield. Verdell leads the team with 963 yards rushing on 162 carries. He has 5 rush TDs this season. The sophomore checks in with 14 receptions and 121 yards receiving on 18 targets (0 TD receptions). He’s the RB with the most upside amongst this group. Travis Dye has 642 yards rushing on 102 carries. The sophomore also has 16 receptions, 159 yards receiving, and 1 TD on 21 targets. Despite starting in the season finale, he was outcarried 15-12 by Verdell (who was probable with an injury). Habibi-Likio is the short yardage back; he has 310 yards rushing and 10 TDs on 76 carries. He’s always a good bet to vulture Verdell if Verdell doesn’t break off a long TD run. Carry counts in the last two games of the season: Verdell 33, Dye 17, CHL 7.

Johnny Johnson 3 leads the Ducks’ pass catcher in targets (75), receptions (49), and receiving yards (731). He has 6 TD receptions this season (T-2 on the team). JJ3 has been a monster lately as he’s posted the following box scores in the last 3 games of the season (most recent listed 1st): 4/39/1 (OSU), 10/207/2 (ASU), and 4/89/1 (AZ). Jaylon Redd checks in with 47 receptions, 430 yards, and 7 TDs (leads team) on 65 targets. Redd has at least 2 receptions in all 11 games that he’s played in this season. Redd caught 5 of 8 targets for 34 yards in last week’s rivalry win. He started after missing 1 game due to injury. Juwan Johnson has played in 9 games after missing the early part of the season with an injury. The former Penn State WR has 23 receptions, 349 yards receiving, and 4 TDs on 40 targets. The big bodied pass catcher has 4 TDs in the last 4 games. Secondary pass catchers like Spencer Webb and Bryan Addison are viable on the single game slate. Webb, the TE, has 18 receptions, 209 yards receiving, and 3 TDs on 27 targets. Addison has 16 receptions, 189 yards receiving, and 1 TD on 26 targets. The freshman caught 2 passes for 32 yards on 4 targets in last week’s win. JJ3 will likely carry the most ownership amongst the pass catchers. Redd could go under the radar (due to JJ3 and Juwan Johnson’s recent success) despite catching a TD in 5 straight games at one point this season.

In 2019 (12 games), Oregon is 64th in passing yards allowed with 225.3 yards/game. They are 10th in rushing yards allowed with 106.1 yards/game. The defense has given up 4 TDs on the ground (.33 TD/game) and 15 TDs through the air (1.25 TD/game) this season.

Both Kickers are viable on DK. Camden Lewis is the Ducks’ kicker and he’s recorded at least 4 points in 8 consecutive games. Jadon Redding is the Utes’ kicker and he’s recorded at least 5 points in 5 straight games.

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