EWU, UI, UW previews
EWU at UND
Kickoff: 12:35 p.m., Alerus Center, Grand Forks
Records: EWU (3-2, 1-0)North Dakota (2-3, 1-1)
Overview: Both defenses have faced rugged schedules, giving up plenty of yards and points along the way. Eastern (32.2 points and 416 yards allowed per game) and UND (37.8 and 442.4) are still seeking improvement, but the Eagles have the easier task: UND is averaging just 3.7 yards per rush, and depends heavily on big-play receiver Greg Hardin (25 catches, 542 yards to rank eighth in FCS). Eastern’s offense is getting more run-heavy every week with 37 rushes at Sam Houston State and a season-high 44 in an easy win last week against Weber State. Belying Eastern’s pass-first reputation, the Eagles have passed the ball 163 times and run it 190, getting 4.9 yards per rush.
Idaho at Ark. St.
Kickoff: 4 p.m. PDT, Liberty Bank Stadium, Jonesboro, Ark.
Records: Idaho (1-5), Arkansas State (2-3)
Online/Radio: ESPN3/ 1080/1280-AM
Overview: The Vandals will get a taste of what it will be like to be in their future (and former) league with a road game against the back-to-back Sun Belt champions. The Red Wolves, in their first year under former Boise State assistant Bryan Harsin, are 24.5-point favorites. Idaho coach Paul Petrino said this matchup will give his team a good read of where it’s at as it ramps up to rejoin the Sun Belt next season. The Vandals are coming off their worst home loss in program history, and they’ve allowed 537 yards per game, second-worst in the FBS behind New Mexico State.
Oregon at UW
Kickoff: 1 p.m., Husky Stadium, Seattle
Records: (2) Oregon (5-0, 2-0), (16) Washington (4-1, 1-1)
At stake: This is UW’s final chance to make the Pac-12 North more than just a race between Stanford and Oregon. The Huskies’ gutty effort in a loss at Stanford last Saturday gave credence to their rebuilding, but getting back into the Rose Bowl race would be put on hold for another year with a loss to the Ducks. Oregon starts a stretch of four straight against teams with winning records.
Key matchup: Oregon’s offense vs. Washington’s defense. The Huskies certainly believe they have never been more prepared for Oregon’s speed thanks to the decision by coach Steve Sarkisian for their own offense to go up-tempo this season. But what the Huskies have faced in practice may not match the precision and gear at which the Ducks operate. UO averages nearly 50 points and 630 yards per game.
Players to watch:
Oregon: QB Marcus Mariota. The Ducks have been so dominant that Marcus Mariota has been mostly a fourth-quarter spectator this season, making his 1,358 yards and 14 TDs passing even more impressive.
Washington: QB Keith Price. Price comes off one of the best games of his career, throwing for 350 yards in the Huskies’ 31-28 loss to Stanford. This will be Price’s fourth career start against the Ducks, and he has not thrown for more than 150 yards against them.
Ducks on a run: Oregon has won nine straight in this series, the longest win streak by either team.