EUGENE, Oregon - The No. 5 Washington Huskies (6-0) remained unbeaten on Saturday after their utter demolishing of Oregon, 70-21, from Autzen Stadium. With the victory, Washington snapped their 12-game losing skid against the Ducks. Oregon allowed 682 yards of total offense to the Huskies.
The last time Washington defeated Oregon (2-4), R. Kelly was searching for a key to stick into his “Ignition” (2003). Nevertheless, the Huskies didn’t need a jumpstart in this contest, as it was seemingly over after 15 minutes of play and 21 purple points.
On most occasions, the opening score of the second half is sign of things to come. That was not the case on Saturday, as the Huskies’ first score of the second half placed them ahead of Oregon, 42-7. Don't refresh your screen, you heard me right.
Ducks’ defensive coordinator Brady Hoke had no answer for the Washington attack, but he accepted the responsibility.
“It starts with us as coaches. We got to do our job,” Hoke stated.
Washington quarterback Jake Browning was magisterial, scoring a total of eight overall touchdowns, including four first half scores. The sophomore signal-caller completed 22-of-28 passes for 304 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions. He also added 21 yards on the ground, including two rushing scores.
His two main men were receivers John Ross and Dante Pettis who accounted for five total touchdowns from their gunslinger. Pettis hauled in eight passes for 134 yards and two scores of his own. Meanwhile, Ross scored three times including catching nine passes for 94 yards.
In Justin Herbert’s first collegiate start, the freshman from Eugene’s first pass of the day was deflected into the hands of Washington for an early interception. Three plays later, the Huskies were in the end zone when quarterback Jake Browning rushed in from a yard out.
“It was really cool,” Hilbert said of his first starting experience.
Head coach Mark Helfrich was disappointed with his team’s results, but impressed by the poise of his true freshman quarterback.
“He made some great plays. Kept his poise,” Helfrich stated. “I apologize for that score.”
Yet, the head man was very disappointed by his defensive approach on Saturday.
“Be accountable. Let that sting and refuel you for the future. That is not how we represent ourselves,” said Helfrich. “It’s an all too common occurrence. It’s about seizing moments.”
The lone high note for the Ducks: Charles Nelson passed Duck great De’Anthony Thomas for first place in kickoff return yards on Oregon’s all-time ranks.
“Doesn’t mean a thing,” said Nelson.
Washington followed an Oregon three-and-out with another quick score. Ross caught a 3-yard pass from Browning for a quick 14-0 lead. The drive accumulated 4:08 off the clock, taking 10 plays and amassing 67 yards of total offense.
Following a solid Duck drive that resulted in zero points, the Huskies needed just one play as Myles Gaskin scampered 65 yards to the house. With the score, No. 5 Washington was leading Oregon 21-0 before the end of the first quarter.
“They seized on every opportunity and we didn’t,” Helfrich said.
The Huskies’ running back rushed for an incredible 154 yards in the first half, amidst a total of 197 rushing yards on 16 carries for the evening. Gaskin handled the lion-share while plunging into the end zone for his fifth score of the season.
For a true freshman being thrown into the fire literally, facing the No. 5 ranked team in the country in his first collegiate start; Herbert showed some serious patience in the pocket. He has a great arm, alongside some sneaky athletic ability. All told, he was quite impressive considering the horrendous circumstances abounding from the game.
The local boy completed 21-of-34 passes for 179 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Overall, he has a great deal of upside and poise that will keep him in the driver seat moving forward. Herbert has at the very least earned himself another start against California in two weeks.
“Dakota (Prukop) should get a lot of credit for how he handled it (the quarterback switch),” Helfirch said. “His poise, his composure was excellent. I see (Herbert) him going forward.”
Taj Griffin led the Ducks’ offensive attack, or lack their of, with seven carries for 60 yards and score. Nelson caught seven passes for 45 yards.
The Ducks found themselves in deep water from the start on Saturday, going 0-for-7 on their first seven possessions in the game. Three Oregon drives ended in punts, while two possessions concluded after failed fourth down attempts. Royce Freeman then uncharacteristically fumbled on the 7-yard-line as he was headed in for a score accounting for the Ducks’ second turnover of the contest.
Following a much-needed bye week, the Ducks will get set to play the California Golden Bears (3-2) on Friday, October 21 at 7:30 p.m. local time from Kabam Field at California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, California.
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