Byron Marshall carried the load for the Ducks as they continued to rest De'Anthony Thomas for the third straight week. Marshall totaled 246 all purpose yards and three scores as the Ducks defeated the Cougars 62-38 Saturday night. Connor Halliday threw the ball an astonishing 89 times and tallied 557 passing yards in a losing effort. Halliday also accounted for 4 interceptions, one returned for a score by Terrance Mitchell early in the fourth.
Oregon was looking to run away with the game early as they led 27-7 with the ball but Washington State suddenly made the game interesting as they were able to capitalize on Marcus Mariota's first and second fumbles of the season, the second being run back 29 yards by Xavier Cooper to bring the Cougs within 6 after getting two scores in under a minute. Thomas Tyner would respond with a 66 yard run for a score and a WSU field goal levied the half time score of 34-24.
Oregon took over in the second half as they rattled off 28 consecutive points to stretch their lead to 62-24. At that point, it was about getting experience for the backups. Despite that, Nick Aliotti was frustrated with the opposition and their propensity for throwing the ball late, when the outcome was not in doubt.
"I'm pissed off they scored those last two touch downs," Aliotti said, "I think it's low class and bull**** to throw the ball when the game is completely over against basically our scout team."
Aliotti went on to say that despite WSU getting their stats that Oregon got the win and that's what he was most concerned with.
After Mariota found Josh Huff from 17 yards out capping a 6 play 50 yard drive, it was the defenses turn to get on the scoreboard for Oregon. Mitchell picked off Halliday for the fourth and final time weaving his way to the end zone from 51 yards out.
Mitchell said, "I was just trying to go. I wanted to score bad. I hadn't scored since the spring game in 2010."
Almost in contrarian fashion to the way Oregon moved the ball, the Cougars only tallied 2 yards of rushing on merely 12 attempts for the entire game. While they were able to move the ball through the air, Oregon stifled a Washington State running game that had been used to keep defenses off balance to this point in the season.
It's unlikely Oregon will see a passing attack like that again this season. After all, Halliday set the FBS record for pass attempts in this game. Oregon's task changes as they face a team in UCLA who suffered their first loss of the season in Palo Alto. Brett Hundley will be looking for redemption from the loss and Oregon needs to be ready for one of the conference's higher profile signal callers.