Marcus Mariota and the Oregon offense won the day in Oregon's 10th straight victory over Washington, 45-24 in Husky Stadium.
It was 31-24 after UW tailback Bishop Sankey blasted right for a 25-yard touchdown run at the end of the third quarter. Sankey gashed the Ducks in the period, 11 carries for 117 yards and 2 scores, easily shedding some listless arm tackles as the home team threatened to make it a shootout.
But in the fourth Mariota and his mates were crisp and poised on a pair of scoring drives, building a lead that made Sankey a nonfactor. Getting pressure on Keith Price, Oregon's defense woke up, forcing a pair of three and outs as the Ducks pulled away. (Marcus Mariota file photo, Steve Dykes, Getty Images.)
This may have been Marcus Mariota's most complete game as a college quarterback, 24-31 passing (77.4%, with four drops) for 366 yards and 3 tds, 13 timely rushes for 88 yards and a 5-yard touchdown. He dissected a physical Washington defense with some pinpoint passing and great reads, taking off to run when receivers were covered, including a weaving, 35-yard scramble on 1st and 15 in the opening drive of the 4th quarter, getting his team out of a hole.
Receivers Josh Huff and Bralon Addison each went over 100 yards, Huff with a 65-yard bomb, shedding a defender as he neared the goal line, Addison with a couple of nifty catches in the right corner for tds, 8 receptions in all for 157 yards. The twin playmakers outside helped the Ducks compensate for the absence of De'Anthony Thomas, sitting out his 2nd game in a row after being injured during the opening kickoff versus Cal. Byron Marshall provided a capable inside running game, getting 106 yards on 19 carries.
Senior wide Keliikipi stood out on defense, stuffing a running play in the first quarter, throwing down Keith Price on a sack, combining with DeForest Buckner for another. Oregon's secondary kept Washington's receivers in front of them, holding the opponents to 5.7 yards per pass play, forcing them to piece together long drives to score, inducing enough negative plays to keep the game out of reach. Derrick Malone led the defensive effort with ten tackles and a sack.
In all Sankey had 28 carries for 167 yards and two tds, including a 60-yard scoring run bouncing left on a 4th and 1 play, but the Washington offense could not keep pace with a prolific Oregon attack. The Ducks outgained their hosts 631-376. Mariota has not been intercepted in his last 233 pass attempts.
Washington committed two turnovers, the first a fumble by Sankey at the Oregon 31 that the visitors turned into an 8-play scoring drive, Addison working the sideline perfectly on a 4-yard touchdown catch as Mariota scrambled out of trouble. Later in the quarter Erick Dargan ended a Washington scoring threat with an interception, swooping in from his safety position to pick off an errant Keith Price throw at the Duck 12 yard line on 3rd and 8.
The Ducks pressured Price into throwing several balls away, sacking him four times. In all he was forced to run 11 times for a net 18 yards. He responded decently to the pressure, completing 19-32 passes for 182 yards, but Mariota was masterful, the best player on the field today in a convincing Oregon win.
I just visited gohuskies.com. Greg Bell says that you can't cover Oregon's fleet receivers for 10 or 12 seconds when they are making "Etch-a-Sketch" cuts. Also, Marcus "threw on his receiver's hands away from defenders" and his five yard TD run to make it 38-24 was the penultimate nail. UW's next 3 and out and Oregon's resulting TD was the coup de grace. That was that. Officially, the dawgs recognize talent. Junction City Justin (Wilcox) said MM is "as good as he has ever been involved with." Tortured grammar but succinct.
What's most impressive to me after 6-0:
* The players seem to have taken on Mariota's calm and unarrogant confidence. I really like it. (Just imagine the team's personality if they had annoying Manziel at the helm.)
* Despite some people's complaints, I think the play-calling is very smart this year: trying some things, and if they don't work, mix in others, but don't completely abandon the harder stuff --- at some point it will open up. Kelly was sometimes extremely stubborn; Helfrich/Frost are more flexible.
* Our secondary: great as advertised. Except for a little sloppiness at Colorado. The way they shut down Washington's receivers was outstanding.
* Our linebackers: great despite advertised to be a question mark. Still room for improvement, but learning fast.
* Our D-line: getting better every game. And really all 6-8 of them.
I raise a glass to the best Oregon team I have ever watched (in 18 years of being an Oregon fan).
P.S This and last week, Oregon knelt down at the opponent's 10 yard line to end the game. Classy. (Poor Ayele Forde, though, he would really deserve a TD!)
The topic de jour in the media for the last nauseating week has been "how will Mariota and the Ducks respond if they are forced to play into the 4th quarter with the game on the line." The answer: A lot like they play in the first three, and the game wasn't on the line for very long.
What will the next doubt be? Who will invent the next demon that becomes the buzz, that we'll be subjected to ad nauseum, 24/7, by every non-thinking pundit in the land? Colt who? No DAT? No problem.
For those who doubted Mariota's accuracy problems this year, I think he answered that call tonight. If you count balls that should have been caught, he was almost 90%, 77% overall. The streak of no interceptions will end one day, and only then we'll look back and realize just how special this streak really is. That's saying a lot, because right now, it's pretty freaking cool.
Good observations on the play calling selection tonight, although I was a little frustrated with it in the first half. The tempo in the first half was pathetically slow though, and only good things happened when that tempo increased.
Overall, it was another blowout in a long string of blowouts over the once-mighty fuskies. May the streak never end.
Pass protection for MM was outstanding. Most of his passes were thrown after having enough time to hum through the first verse of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Bruddah Iz, including the long ukulele intro. Don't get me wrong MM was slicing UW like a surgeon, but a huge shout-out to the OL for providing unbelievable blocking. Only one sack and very few hurries. One of the game balls needs to go to the O Line.
There are few things better in college football than beating the Huskies. Salute to the team for doing it 10 years straight. At this point it's hard to see how it won't be 11 in a row given that Price leaves and MM may well stay. Even without MM, it looks like the Ducks have revolving depth at most, if not all, positions. This game was particularly satisfying to this Duck fan.
Unfortunately where I was the game was not on tv. But, I was tracking the play by play, and though i was a little disappointed the D gave up those few big plays that kept Washington in the game for awhile, the ducks proved thier superiority. Mariota was excellent. It really was the Marcus Mariota show today, and he certainly showed his Heisman caliber today. Great win for the team, and a confirmation of the best team in the country in the ducks today. Washington is better than Stanford, and as I thought, down goes the tree!! I thought they were over rated, and now the polls will reflect that. The ducks just beat the second best team in the PAC 12 on the road. A very good sign of things to come. They are a complete and well rounded team , with many stars who can make big plays at any time.
This is the greatest Oregon team. The offense was superlative. The defense was great as well. No one in the backfield to defense Bishop Sankey and how does a 280 pound tight end get behind the defense? Other than that I love my defense. The superiority of the offense was self evident and undeniable. GO DUCKS!!
Stanford is overrated. Next up Wazzu.
This game could have easily been 59-24 if Lowe doesn't drop the sure TD and UO punches it in late. In reality, though, I like the way it ended. Oregon was sufficiently dominant. Also, Sankey is good, but take away his two large gains, 25 and 60 yards, and he was 26 for 81 rushing. I thought Oregons defense did an overal fine job of containing one of the nations best backs. Great game! I can't wait until DAT is back in the mix.
@DrakeMallard That's some good info, Drake. Greg Bell can really write. "Etch-a-Sketch" cuts--very descriptive.
@profem Really good analysis. Mitchell, Ifo and Hill really battled yesterday.
@profem Agree on all points, and to your PS, Had Lockie not taken a knee, they had time, position and momentum to score another TD and PAT, thereby winning ME that darn Tshirt! Seriously that was a fine performance, especially was blown way by Huff's huge TD score. Huh? Huff? He should have been carried off the field again.
Even Jon Wilner had to be impressed.
@zduckfan It was amazing how Mariota and the offense responded to every challenge yesterday with an answering score.
@zduckfan I wondered about the slow play in the 1st quarter. I think that (a) Oregon wanted to wear out the fans (if you have to scream during a 6-minute drive you are much more exhausted...), (b) but seriously, they were studying the Washington defensive sets --- and clearly learned from them to march down in the second quarter (could go faster because they knew the sets!)
@DuckNV Very good point about the pass protection.
@DuckNV Very good point about the blocking, superb effort containing the Washington rush. Absolutely a complete and satisfying win. Stanford's loss to Utah underscores what an achievement it is for Oregon to consistent take care of opponents in games they should win.
@DuckNV and 24/7 now has 2 ducks 2014 class recruits ranked 5 stars,, things are looking good.
@nyduck The Tree got much of its acclaim from beating Oregon last year and winning their bowl game. They aren't as good this year, it just hadn't been proven until tonight.
In my mind, Oregon beating the fuskies after the fuskies beat the tree only confirm that at some level.
Oregon improved year over year, the fuskies improved by getting healthy (but still aren't that good), and Furd is like that giant redwood tree you can draw a car through...
@nyduck Mariota was superb today, and I will get Mike Wine's highlight video up for you as soon as it's available tomorrow.
@SonomaDuck Sankey has almost DAT speed and AS-J (280 lb TE) rivals Mario'ta in the 40.
@SonomaDuck Everything so far points to the truth of your assertion, SD. Thinking too that they did this without their most explosive offensive weapon for three games.
@1pac12fan taking a knee late in the game while up 21 pts, highlights what could have been but wasn't necessary. Ducks had already covered the spread.
@1pac12fan Good observation about the other runs. Nick Aliotti and the defense will continue to work on limiting the explosion plays; so far they seem to give up a handful every game.
@Dale Newton Too bad David Pollack is not.
@Dale Newton Yet Pollack picked Huskies to upset. Assume Wilner did too. Waah Waah.
@Duckbill @nyduck lol,,we will soon see, if UCLA is 2 they will beat Stanford next Saturday,, you may be right,. they could be 2, but its close between 2 and 3 in the conference, Utah? not sure how good they are now,, and it is the perpetual now that matters when speaking of how good teams are relatively speaking,, meaning teams grow, change, injuries, etc, though course of a season, some go up, some go down, and some do both, ,, but there are tells, there are things which give strong indications, ,, I also agree the pac 12 conference overall is on the rise , and that the sec is seeing some cycles changes too,, some weaker sec teams improving, and some top sec teams weakening by degrees, Alabama for one!! Georgia another,,the wheels are turning and churning,,
@Duckbill @nyduck Oh, it's not a lack of respect by any means, at least not on my part. Proving they aren't doormats is Utah's job, not yours or mine, and Furd showed they were human against a team that was bound to show up sooner or later, especially at home.
Whatever I think is irrelevant to the Ducks, which is rather plain when you watch any interview they give. The Oregon boys will go out and give it their all, and if the gods of Saturday Night continue to shine down for them, they will continue to win. If we are meant to see them play in the Natty again, it will be because hard work and preparation really do pay off in the form of a lucky/fortunate bounce on any given Saturday..
Or a made 42 yard field goal...
@zduckfan @nyduck i've been talking the over rated tree all year,, the struggled against army in their second game!! Trust me the ducks beat army everyday all day by 50 points,, out of respect for not running up the score! And, I have said and received some criticism for saying it, but , I will say again, Stanford was not the better team than Oregon last year. Oregon, blew that game two key ways, and all on CK's decision making;Kicker that cant kick!!, and stubborn Kelly,
As for this year, Fuskies were better than Stanford, but robbed by ref's. Forget the scoreboard and the final print, I think you like me would agree that if you knowwhat you are seeing, you can usually see who is better, and why. And if you really understand what you are seeing, then you can see how that compares and contrasts versus other games and teams. Agree about Oregon;s having improved more than its key opponents, and relatively too. Reminder, Washington gave up and decided to COPY Oregon, and that's why they are better, THE CK SYSTEM is a better system generally speaking, but it is a holistic system, in every area and direction, so though Washington is showing uber respect to Oregon in trying to copy and become a version of the ducks, and where i also think sarkisian shows great wisdom in doing so, the original is and will always be better. Stanford is not hard to defeat schematically for the ducks, they just have to make the correct play calls, adjustments. CK could have easily done as much and beat the tree last year, but he was stubborn But MH and Frost I believe learned that lesson while under and watching CK in those games. They will not make the same mistakes CK did. They will find ways and call plays and switch strategies, and tactics, to utilize their superior talented players to dominate the tree again, and crush them at palo alto, and silence the faulty analysis that Stanford under Shaw has the prototype team to beat the ducks. CK destroyed the furd under harbaugh a few times, and i see that coming again this year, Stanford in the recent years has never dominated a game against the ducks. They only squeaked out a victory in overtime,, The ducks are way better than Stanford over the last 5 or 6 years.
@zduckfan @Duckbill @nyduck Utah is a middle of the pack team to my eye, much tougher at home. They seem a mirror image of Arizona State last year, tall gangly quarterback, tough runner, decent defense. UCLA is the class of the South, but SC will give some teams trouble with a new-found energy and some talented players.