After losing their third consecutive game this season (first time since 2007), the Oregon Ducks came into Saturday’s matchup against Washington looking to turn their season around and defeat the Huskies for the 13th straight year.
However, Saturday’s game definitely didn’t go anywhere near as planned, given that Washington virtually dominated Oregon at the end of the first quarter by a score of 28-0 (the first time that the Ducks’ have been shutout in the first quarter since 2014). And unfortunately for Oregon, things didn’t get any better, ultimately falling to Washington by a score of 70-21 (the first time that the Ducks have ever given up 70 points since 1941).
This is the fourth consecutive loss for Oregon, which hasn’t happened since 2006 (losing to seventh ranked USC, Arizona, Oregon State, and #19 ranked BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl) when Mike Bellotti was Oregon’s Head Coach.
After the game, Oregon Head Coach Mark Helfrich said, “We have to be accountable and this is not how we want to represent ourselves”, Helfrich also said that he thought the fans were outstanding, and is apologetic for the score.
Five penalties for 40 yards hurt the Ducks, as costly penalties continue to hamper Oregon. But penalties aren’t the team’s only area of concern, as the Ducks struggled with offensive turnovers, with a fumble and an interception. And Oregon continues to have trouble producing on third and fourth downs (converting only 6-17 on third down and 1-4 on fourth down situations).
The Ducks’ defense once again struggled to make key tackles and contain the running/passing game, by giving up 682 total offensive yards. After the game, Oregon Defensive Coordinator, Brady Hoke, commented on the defensive play, by saying, “it starts with us, and the players deserve better” and that he expected Washington to have a balanced offense and more running plays.
Injuries continue to plague the Oregon defense as Austin Maloata was taken out of the game with an injury during the first quarter.
As expected, Oregon started their freshman quarterback, Justin Herbert, who had a pretty good game and showed promise while working through his progressions, although at times was having difficulty connecting to wide-open receivers. The Eugene native completed 21-34 passes for 179 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. Herbert was forced to scramble away from pressure six times and gained 18 yards rushing.
After the game Herbert summed up his performance saying, “I was very nervous, it was fun to play out there with those guys, but it’s not the way we wanted it to end” and “not the way I wanted play I wanted to get the ball out quicker and make more throws so that I’m letting guys make plays.” All in all, Herbert said, “he wishes he could have kept the streak alive, since he knows how much that meant to everyone around here.”
Oregon Ducks workhorse, Royce Freeman had 11 carries, gaining 52 yards, but didn’t score a touchdown. Running backs Tony Brooks- James and Taj Griffin also combined for 120 rushing yards.
Oregon offensive weapons Darren Carrington and Charles Nelson combined for ten receptions, gaining 92 yards, while Tony Brooks- James and Taj Griffin were able to haul in two of Oregon’s receiving touchdowns.
For Washington, the Huskies put up 304 passing yards and 378 rushing yards totaling 682 yards of offense.
Oregon had tremendous difficulty containing Washington’s running backs, Myles Gaskin, Lavon Coleman, and Jomon Dotson, who combined for 36 carries, rushing for 334 yards, and scored two touchdowns.
And, the Ducks also had difficulty covering Washington’s top wide receivers and stopping them from breaking out into the open field, as John Ross, Dante Pettis and Jamon Datson combined for 19 receptions, 280 yards of offense, and six touchdowns.
Without a doubt, the star of the game from Washington had to be Heisman candidate quarterback Jake Browning, who exploited the Duck’s defense, effectively extending the Huskies’ lead from inside the pocket. Browning completed 22-28 passes, for 304 yards, including six touchdowns, and no interceptions. He also scrambled away from pressure six times, while gaining 27 yards.
Next week, the Ducks’ have a bye, giving players who are banged up more time to rest and recover. However, in two weeks, the Ducks face off against Cal, another air-raid team, with a renewed focus on improving and ending their current four game losing streak.