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Huard: No. 12 Huskies can let D, run game lead way vs Oregon

Oregon's front seven shouldn't give Myles Gaskin and the UW run game much trouble. (AP)

The Huskies rebounded from their first loss of the season with a dominant 44-23 victory over UCLA last weekend. As we do before each Washington game, we sat down with 710 ESPN Seattle host and ESPN college football analyst Brock Huard to get his keys for the Dawgs in their 7 p.m. Saturday home game against Oregon.

1. Continue to build your resume in the College Football Playoff chase.

Starting at No. 12 in the initial CFP rankings, the Huskies will have to remain near the top of the statistical charts in order to create further buzz. The UW defense has the kind of metrics and stats to turn heads, and based on Top 10 offensive and defensive efficiency numbers as well as a No. 7 Football Power Index ranking, there is a positive statistical foundation to continue to build from.

2. Back to basics on offense with Hunter Bryant joining Chico McClatcher on the injured list.

Washington is still limited in firepower on the perimeter. Chico and Hunter were two players capable of creating mismatches, and now an offense that needs more production will rely on inexperienced players to get it done. Aaron Fuller and Quinten Pounds are two they are counting on to take the next step. The Huskies will be able to fall back on the ground ground against Oregon, though. The Ducks’ front seven lacks the depth and power to consistently stop the run for four quarters.

3. Lean more on Dante Pettis.

Pettis has no touchdowns over the last three games and didn’t top more than 56 yards in any of those contests. The Huskies are doing a nice job of moving him around in formation and there are plenty of opportunities to get him his touches with bubble screens, jet sweeps, fade routes. Simply put, they need to throw Pettis the ball.

4. Be ready for the return of Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert.

If true freshman quarterback Braxton Burmeister starts again, that is going to be an issue for the Ducks. But Herbert is back practicing after suffering a broken left collarbone earlier this season, and his presence makes the Ducks a much more potent and balanced offense.

5. Let the defense do the talking.

Washington is deep at every level, and with Vita Vea and Greg Gaines up front it wins the math equation at the line of scrimmage every week, thus making it very hard to protect against the Huskies and outnumber them in run game. The Huskies also pattern read and cover down as well as anyone in the country.