Scott Olmos-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
The Oregon Ducks still are well ahead of the Washington Huskies, as their lording over the rivalry now spans nine years.
Oregon 52, Washington 21
This one was over quickly.
The Oregon Ducks didn't really mess around in beating up Washington. Their offense, which has struggled to start off games, didn't waste any time in pouring points on the board. After an interception killed one drive and a punt came on the second, the Ducks wouldn't stop scoring and couldn't stop moving. All first half long they were a step ahead of the Huskies defensively, needing only a handful of plays to score two of their touchdowns. The average time of possession was about a minute, with an average of about 15 to 25 yards per play through that stretch.
Marcus Mariota couldn't miss through the air during that first half stretch, which made it almost impossible to stop anything on the ground. Mariota found seven receivers, each of whom accumulated more than ten receiving yards as he hit them as close to the sticks as needed. Colt Lyerla is that dynamo H-back/tight end that really can slip through the cracks if the defense over-commits to any other part of the offense, and he made some big catches that left the Huskies overwhelmed defensively.
Of course, the run game is what really set the Ducks on fire. Kenjon Barner handled the football on the ground, and De'Anthony Thomas was perfectly able to handle his own as the second back. Mariota's additional innate ability to scramble outside of the traditional zone read made Oregon a true 11-on-11 team on almost every play.
Oregon ran the ball 52 times and piled up over 300 rushing yards. That's a sure formula for quick death to the Quack Attack.
The Oregon defense and special teams were their usual opportunistic selves. Three Washington turnovers came off a punt return fumble, a pick-six off a wobbly throw by Price, and a fumble off of a Price scramble. That led to 21 Oregon points and a pretty dominant 35-7 first half lead, and that was the game.
The Ducks went slow in the third quarter and still put another two touchdowns on the board with only minimal resistance. The Ducks executed the fundamentals for four quarters and that was all that was needed to overwhelm the Huskies. It was that kind of Border War.
Oregon didn't have to do that much out of the ordinary to beat Washington, which pretty much indicates how wide the gap is between the two rivals. It's clear the Ducks are in prime form, and the Huskies are still learning how to deal with their own limitations, particularly along the offensive line and in critical areas of the defense. Oregon showed no mercy as they should, and made the rivalry game a cruise pretty early.
While the heat still exists in the Border War (and no doubt it burns brighter with every Oregon win), the sizzle as a college football matchup has been lacking as of late. Oregon has beaten Washington by at least three possessions in every game. It's basically been one long nine year stretch of Duck feasting on Dawg.
There's definite anger on both sides, but one side just seems to be caught in a constant stranglehold. Every season, Washington seems stuck sputtering obscenities while flailing for air while Oregon just shakes their head waiting for the inevitable tap-out.
In terms of the big picture, this game won't tell us much about how good the Ducks really are. Oregon was just so much deeper on each side of the football, and it showed as the Huskies got grounded down on drive after drive. In terms of preparation going into the game, Oregon has been piling it on against the weakest teams on their schedule for weeks, and it was pretty easy for them to roll right past a Washington team that's been battered from weeks of pounding against LSU and Stanford. This game doesn't really tell us anything more than the Ducks being sizably better than the Huskies, which we knew going in and we know going out. The true tests still await.
Beating down Washington will just be a footnote in this season. But damn if it isn't a satisfying one for Oregon fans everywhere that they keep on forcing the Huskies to bow down to them.