Its an annual tradition at this point. Two years ago, the Ducks went to Pullman and struggled for a half, before going on to beat the Cougars by three touchdowns. Last season was much of the same, with Oregon sporting only a five point lead at half before winning by 25. So it shouldn't come as a shock that the Ducks again played a difficult half, going into the locker room up only four before dominating the second half en route to a 25 point victory.
The turning point in the game came late in the second quarter. Washington State was able to largely match the Ducks for most of the first half, and were driving late in the second quarter looking for the lead. The Ducks had been rushing three and dropping eight for most of the half, and WSU quarterback Connor Holliday was consistently finding holes in the defense. After Marquess Wilson caught a pass at the Oregon 17, Nick Aliotti finally unleashed the hounds, and three straight blitzes led to three straight big sacks, taking the Cougars all the way back to the 45 and forcing them to punt. The Ducks then led of the third quarter with a drive spanning 18 plays in over six minutes, capped by a De'Anthony Thomas touchdown to restore order to the game.
Kenjon Barner was the star of the night for Oregon, with 195 yards on 20 carries and three touchdowns, plus three catches and another score. Defensively, the Ducks had seven sacks and a pick-6 by Avery Patterson.
There were struggles. Marcus Mariota threw two interceptions, both on really bad throws that shouldn't have been made. And the offensive line is a real work in progress, as on several occasions, WSU had multiple defensive linemen blow up running plays at the mesh. Also of concern was that Michael Clay left the game just before halftime and was seen on the sideline in sweats for the second half.
Ultimately, it wasn't pretty, but Oregon never seems to beat Washington State pretty. But it was still a four score margin of victory that went pretty much every Oregon-WSU game goes.
Its now officially Happy I Hate washington Week. I'd be willing to bet that Kenny Wheaton is going to score.