The history is there. The bad blood, the rivalry, Purple vs. Green, Washington vs. Oregon. It’s all there. Washington knows they’ve lost 15 of the last 20 games. They know they haven’t put up more than 25 points against the Ducks in the last 10 meetings. They know the Ducks are a national title contender, while UW isn’t even ranked.
Guess what? They don’t care. This isn’t the typical Husky team, and if you consider yourself an Oregon fan you should be scared when the Purple and Gold come rolling in to Autzen this Saturday. Led by star linebacker and future NFL player Shaq Thompson, this team is hungry for some long-awaited revenge. So come this Saturday, here are the top three players you Duck fans should be wary of.
#3: John Ross, WR
When I saw that this guy only has 13 receptions through six games I kind of passed over him. Luckily, out of the corner of my eye, I saw his total receiving yards. Are you sitting down? Ross has 358 yards, to go along with four touchdowns, on only 13 receptions this season. For those of you that like me aren’t great at mental math, every time this guy touches the ball he gains 27.5 yards. Oh, and when he plays in away games, he averages 35.7 yards per catch. Oregon is all about preventing the big play, so if we’re really going to follow through with that, this guy better be marked.
#2: Hau’oli Kikaha, DE/LB
He’s big. He’s bad. He’s Hawaiian. He’s also debatably the best defensive player in all of College Football. Kikaha, other than having the coolest name in the world, is pretty good at football too. Through only six games, he’s picked up 70 tackles, 15.5 tackles for a loss, 13 sacks, three passes deflected, and three forced fumbles. Paired with Shaq Thompson, the number one Husky on my list, Washington just might have the most formidable linebacker duos in the country. Oh, and I almost forgot, he and Marcus Mariota are close friends (via seattletimes). Come Saturday though, I don’t expect to see many friendly gestures.
#1 Shaq Thompson, LB
If there were a way to make a number that was greater than one for ranking this guy, I would. The man has four defensive touchdowns on the year, to go along with 46 total tackles, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, an interception, a sack, and did I mention he also doubles as a running back for Washington? In terms of just pure athleticism, it’s hard to beat this guy, and although Kikaha may be defensive player of the year, Shaq Thompson is the leader of this defense. He brings passion and intensity to every play, and you can bet he’s got this team fired up for Saturday. Expect to see No. 7 all over the field on Saturday.
Top photo from seattletimes.com