SEATTLE, Wash. — No. 12 Washington scored 38 unanswered points to overwhelm Oregon 38-3 at Huskey Stadium on a wet and cold Saturday evening. It was the Huskies first home win against the Ducks since 2003. UW has now won two straight vs UO after losing 12 consecutive games prior to 2016.
Both Justin Herbert and Braxton Burmeister took the field during warmups. Yet, only Burmeister remained on the turf to the start of the game. The wait continues, for at least another two weeks.
Washington scored 38 unanswered points to conclude the game. They won the total yardage battle 451-278. Nevertheless, the Ducks still need just one more win to become bowl eligible.
“A lot of things we could say, ‘would of, could of, should of,’ but we got to work on things we’re able to control to the best of our ability,” said Royce Freeman after the loss. “We got to get back on track. We have to be more consistent.”
The last time an Oregon offense was held without a touchdown in a game occurred a decade ago. On November 24, 2007 the Ducks did not score a TD against the Bruins at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. UCLA shutout Oregon that contest 16-0.
“It’s hard,” said Jalen Jelks. “Especially after what they did to us last year. Going into next week, it’s going to be a whole different mentality.”
Oregon committed five penalties for 50 yards, alongside enduring two costly turnovers. UO was 7-of-16 on third down, including 0-for-1 on fourth down.
“A lot of guys are ready to go back and watch the film. We feel like we’re a lot better than that,” said Oregon’s workhorse back.
At the end of the day, this team can still win eight games (with an assumed bowl win). That is saying a ton coming from where this program was last season after the Washington loss. Having Herbert on the field after the bye week would be a positive start.
Oregon opened the game with an impressive 15-play, 62-yard drive. Aidan Schneider connected on the field goal for the early 3-0 lead. The senior from Portland is now 5-for-7 in field goals this season.
Tristan Vizcaino then missed a 45-yard field goal attempt on Washington’s opening drive, as Oregon’s defense stiffened at the end of the possession.
Nevertheless, Oregon shot themselves in the proverbial foot when Kani Benoit fumbled away the momentum on the next offensive drive. The Ducks were in control of the game, methodically moving down the field until the turnover.
The Huskies capitalized with a 34-yard field goal by Vizcaino to tie the game, 3-3.
On the following Duck possession, freshman Adam Stack’s poor punt set the table for college football history. Dante Pettis returned the punt 64 yards for his ninth career punt-return score, 10-3.
With the tally, he broke the NCAA all-time record for punt return TDs in a career (8). The single-season record is five and Pettis now has four this season.
Taggart said he wasn’t going to shy away from Pettis during the week and he didn’t.
After three straight punts between the Ducks and Huskies, Myles Gaskin dashed 34 yards for a 17-3 Washington lead with 3:54 left in the first half. UO was ahead 3-0 entering the second, but was outscored 17-0 in the next 15 minutes.
Oregon’s defensive highlight of the first half was local boy Brady Breeze intercepting Jake Browning. It was the first pick of his collegiate career, alongside the only INT of the game for Browning and fifth of 2017.
The scoring would stop there, for the time being, as the Ducks headed to the locker room down just two scores.
Browning completed only seven passes in the first 30 minutes, but found his rhythm in the second half. He located his No. 1 receiver Pettis for a 47-yard bomb to open the final 30 minutes, 24-3. Washington traveled 75 yards on five plays in 1:18 off the clock.
Royce Freeman found some freedom against the No. 2 defense in the land. Not to mention, entering the contest the Huskies were the No. 2 ranked rushing defense in America. Freeman didn’t seem to care.
“We just have to prepare during the week to the best of our abilities,” Freeman replied. “I mean, even if they know it’s coming, you still have to run it.”
The No. 1 RB in Oregon history surpassed the 100-yard mark for the seventh time this season. Overall, it was the 29th time he rushed for 100 yards or more in a game. Freeman carried the rock 24 times for 122 rushing yards. He had a catch for no yards.
Midway through the third, the Huskies added another rushing outburst when Lavon Coleman galloped 31 yards to the house, 31-3. The Oregon run defense was playing solid, but constant turnovers and bad field position placed them in tough situations.
Salmon Ahmed finished off the dreadful 21-point UW third quarter with a 58-yard scoring strike, 38-3. It was the first and only play of the drive for the Huskies. After the Ducks’ opening score, Washington tallied 38 unanswered points in the final 45 minutes.
Jimmie Swain concluded the game with an exclamation point, as much as one can be made in a 35-point loss. He stuffed the Huskies on 4th and Goal on their final drive. With the wrap-up, he corralled a game-high 13 tackles (5 solo) and 1.5 tackles for loss.
Overall, Burmeister completed 7-of-13 attempts for 31 passing yards. He threw one interception, while rushing for 38 yards on 14 carries.
The Ducks incredibly rushed for 247 yards on 55 carries (4.5 YPC) against the UW defense. This was yet another sign that Oregon possesses one of the best offensive lines in the country.
Darrian Felix rushed for 43 yards on eight carries, as the freshman continues to find time on the field. Tony Brooks-James added 37 yards on six carries.
Charles Nelson led all UO receivers with four catches for 18 yards. He had one carry for two yards. Three Ducks had one catch each.
“Coach Taggart and the staff will do a great a job of getting us right moving forward,” Freeman stated. “Mentally preparing for the week, preparing our bodies for such. Really looking forward to that and moving forward.”
Browning threw for 204 yards on 11-of-19 passing, including two touchdowns and an interception.
Gaskin led the way with a game-high 123 rushing yards on 17 carries and a TD. The Huskies, as a whole, rushed for 247 yards on 39 carries (6.3 YPC) and two scores.
Pettis led all receivers with a game-high 87 receiving yards on four receptions and a tally. Aaron Fuller hauled in four passes for 76 yards.
Linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven led the way for Washington with 10 tackles.
Justin Hollins secured six tackles and 1.5 TFL.
Jelks registered four tackles (2 solo) and one TFL.
“Walking in the locker room, everyone is like, ‘we’re not done,’ we still have plenty of games left to play in the season and hopefully we can still make it to a bowl game,” Jelks stated. “It’s still encouraging. We’re still trying to keep the ball rolling.”
Jordon Scott and Henry Mondeaux each record five tackles on the defensive line. The Ducks amassed five TFL and one pass deflection.
Troy Dye exited the game early with a strained achilles.
“He’ll be fine,” stated Taggart after the game.
Oregon has not scored a point in the second half in four of their last five games. Not to mention, the Ducks did not score in the second half during a 42-35 win against Nebraska.
Brady Breeze intercepts Jake Browning
Austin Pettis’ record-breaking punt return touchdown
Oregon (5-5, 2-5) heads back to Eugene for their final two home games of the regular season, but not before a much-needed bye week. The No. 22 Arizona Wildcats (6-3, 4-2) and Rich Rodriguez invade Autzen Stadium on Saturday, November 18.
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