Time, Place and [Radio Waves in] Space • The Utes’ and Oregon both want to snap three-game losing streaks as Darren Carrington II returns to Autzen Stadium as a visitor at 3:45 p.m. MDT Saturday. You can watch on Pac-12 Network or listen on ESPN 700 AM, Sirius 93/XM 197/Internet 971.
Line • Utah is a 3-point favorite as of Friday.
Opposing coach • Willie Taggart is in his first season with the Ducks after four seasons at South Florida (2013-16) and three seasons at Western Kentucky (2010-12). A former Western Kentucky quarterback, Taggart has a reputation as an innovative offensive mind. USF ranked seventh in the nation in points per game (43.6) and fifth in rushing offense (291.75 yards per game) in 2016.
Utah ties • Utah graduate transfer wide receiver Darren Carrington II played three seasons for Oregon. He led the team in receiving yards last season and caught the game-winning touchdown pass to beat the Utes in Salt Lake City.
Game day threads • The Utes will wear white jerseys with red numbers, red and black striped sleeves as well as red and black stripes going down the side of white pants. They’ll wear white helmets with the Circle and Feathers logo on the side.
Pregame quotable • Oregon coach Willie Taggart on Utah’s defense, “I’m watching their defense and they’re making everybody work for what they get. If you score a touchdown, they’re not coming easy. You’ve got to work for them. I know, the film that I watch, they’re not far away. It’s just unfortunately some of those things don’t happen. A lot of teams go through those things. We’re one of those teams that same way. Earlier in the year, we were getting takeaways and we haven’t the last couple games. But we know. We’ve seen the film when they do do it so we know it’s in them.”
Telling stat • Oregon running back Royce Freeman ranks 10th in the country in rushing yards per game (119.63).
Ducks offensive outlook • Oregon returned seven starters this season, including quarterback Justin Herbert. Last season, Herbert became the first true freshman to start for the Ducks since 1983. Since his injury, the Ducks have turned to freshman Braxton Brumeister a resident of Eugene, Ore., at quarterback. Running back Royce Freeman moved into second place on the Pac-12′s all-time rushing leaders list. He enters this week with 5,103 rushing yards and holds school records for rushing yards, all-purpose yards (5,897), rushing touchdowns (54) and 100-yard rushing games (27). Oregon has rushed for 200 yards or more six times this season, and they rank third in the Pac-12 in rushing offense (244.8 yard per game).
Ducks defensive outlook • Sophomore linebacker Troy Dye earned Freshman All-American honors last season. He led all returning Pac-12 players in tackles coming into this season. This season, Dye leads the team in tackles (69) with 28 more than any of his teammates. La’Mar Winston Jr, a sophomore linebacker, logged a career-high 11 tackles and one sack last week against UCLA. The Ducks’ entire starting secondary from last season returned this season. New defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt joined Oregon’s staff after previously being the defensive coordinator for Colorado the past two seasons.
Ducks special teams outlook • Charles Nelson averaged 25.9 yards per kickoff return and 17.8 yards per punt return last season. He entered this season already having broke Oregon’s all-time record for kickoff return yards. Senior kicker Aidan Schneider earned third-team All-America and first-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2015. Schneider came into this season having made 87.5 percent of his career field goal attempts. Freshman punter Adam Stack averaged 38.6 yards per punt this season. His long is 50 yards, and he has had 11 punts down the 20-yard line.
Injury report • Oregon: Quarterback Justin Herbert suffered a broken collarbone in the fifth game of the season. He started practicing with the team this week. Utah: Safety Chase Hansen (shoulder) and linebacker Sunia Tauteoli (unspecified illness/injury) are questionable after missing last week’s game. Wide receiver Raelon Singleton (shoulder) had to come out of the game for the second week in a row, while right guard Jordan Agasiva (ankle/foot) came out of last week’s game late.
Three big questions
1. Which quarterback will Oregon use against the Utes?
Taggart hadn’t ruled out Justin Herbert earlier this week despite Herbert having missed the past there games after a broken collarbone. Herbert completed 68.3 percent of his passes for 1,264 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions in five games. Braxton Burmeister has completed 52.9 percent of his passes for 246 yards with one touchdown and five interceptions in four games. Taylor Allie has played in seven games and attempted just 25 passes (17-of-25) and passed for 125 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. The Ducks’ passing game has been severely limited without Herbert.
2. Does the Utes offense perform any better than last week’s lackluster outing against Arizona State?
Quarterback Tyler Huntley returned to the starting lineup last weekend, but the Utes’ offense scored just 10 points. Huntley threw four interceptions, and the Utes just 265 yards of total offense. Recent struggles have prompted offensive coordinator Troy Taylor to go from the sideline to the press box this weekend.
3. Can the Utes contain Oregon’s running attack and Royce Freeman?
Freeman rushed for a total of 303 yards in the past two games. The program’s all-time leading rusher, he’s 103 yards shy of setting a program record for all-purpose yards. He ranks 23rd in the nation in scoring defense. RoyceFreeman rushed for 160 yards and eclipsed the program’s all-time rushing record last week against UCLA. He became the 22nd player in FBS history to rush for more than 5,000 yards.