Washington coach Don James sees some familiarities when he looks at the Oregon Ducks.
"It seems like their defense has really replaced a lot of experience with a lot of good athletes," James said of the 19th-ranked Ducks. "It would appear to have taken on a little bit of the look that we have."It seems like we're a better running team and a faster team and it looks like they are, too. They have a lot of good athletes."
James' No. 17 Huskies host Oregon in Seattle on Saturday, two weeks after the Ducks upset Brigham Young and quarterback Ty Detmer 32-16.
But Washington (4-1 overall and 2-0 in the Pac-10) is in the driver's seat in the Pacific-10 Conference's Rose Bowl race. The Huskies are rated 6-point favorites against the Ducks (4-1 and 0-1).
Washington is the only team that hasn't lost a Pac-10 game. The Huskies have the inside track in the conference race because they have beaten three-time defending Pac-10 champion Southern California. The score was 31-0 and Oregon coach Rich Brooks is wondering how his team can move the ball in Seattle.
"That's the best Washington defense I've seen since their teams in the early 1980s," Brooks said. "It's scary."
Oregon leads the Pac-10 in total offense (467.4 yards per game) and Washington is the conference leader in total defense (255.4). The Huskies lead the nation in rushing defense (55.6).
Washington hasn't been to the Rose Bowl since the 1981 season. If the Huskies are going to get back to Pasadena, Calif., in January, they figure they're going to have to stop the Ducks and quarterback Bill Musgrave.
Musgrave is the Pac-10's top passer with a 139.6 rating. Musgrave is averaging 254.2 yards passing per game, hitting 61% of his passes.