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Royce Watch: Maxwell Award semifinalist runs through No. 2 ranked defense in country

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Freeman wasn’t phased by Washington’s stout run D

Oregon v Washington Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Royce Freeman, the Maxwell Award semifinalist ran over the No. 2 ranked rush defense in the country. The Washington Huskies were ranked the No. 2 overall defense nationally before Freeman dissected them on Saturday at rainy Husky Stadium.

Even with their senior’s noteworthy performance, Oregon was unable to escape the grasp of their bitter rivals. Freeman gave UO a glimmer of hope with 122 rushing yards on 22 carries. It was his seventh 100-yard performance of the year and 29th of his career. Nevertheless, Myles Gaskin was the game’s leading-rusher by one yard (123).

“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.”

OREGON’S CAREER RUSHING TD

#1 - Royce Freeman (54)

#2 - LaMichael James (53)

Freeman is the Ducks’ all-time leader

UO CAREER RUSHING LEADERS

#1 - Royce Freeman (5,364 career rushing yards)

#2 - LaMichael James (5,082 career rushing yards)

#3 - Kenjon Barner (3,623 career rushing yards)

Freeman is the Ducks’ all-time leader

PAC-12 CAREER TOUCHDOWNS

#1 - Ken Simonton, 60 (Oregon State)

#2 - Royce Freeman, 58 (Oregon)

Tied - LaMichael James, 58 (Oregon)

#3 - LenDale White, 57 (USC)

#4 - Skip Hicks, 55 (UCLA)

#5 - Charles White, 53 (USC)

Freeman is currently 3 TDs from being the Pac-12’s all-time scoring leader from scrimmage

FREEMAN’S SWAN SONG

  • 206 carries (6th)*
  • 1,218 rushing yards (7th)*
  • 5.9 yards per carry
  • 10 rushing touchdowns (20th)*
  • 12 catches
  • 144 receiving yards
  • 12.0 yards per reception

*Nationally Ranked

Oregon v Washington
A week before the Washington game, Freeman made it known who deserves all the credit for his stellar senior season. “Those guys help me out a lot. They take the pressure off me. All praise to the offensive line.”
Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

PRIMETIME PLAYER

Freeman always has great success against Washington. His 122-yard showcasing against the No. 12 team in the land would have been a cherry on top of his career with a victory. That hope was derailed on Saturday evening.

After rushing for 169 yards and four TD vs UW during his freshman season, then dominating for 139 in his sophomore campaign, Royce concluded the only way he knew how after an 11-carry, 50-yard night vs them last year. Overall, Freeman averaged 120 yards and a score in every game against a stout defense laden with future NFL players.

If there were any remaining questions about his ability by NFL scouts, they were put to rest on Saturday. No matter the effort of the offense as a whole, it’s remarkable Freeman rushed for over 100 yards when his QB totaled 31 passing yards with a defense keying to stop the run.

BACK TO THE FUNDAMENTALS

The Ducks are on their bye week, but this is not an excuse for UO to relax. In fact, it’s quite the opposite for head coach Willie Taggart and his staff. This week, Oregon is focused on getting back to the fundamentals with Arizona on the horizon.

“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.”

Oregon needs to be sharp entering their final two regular season games. If they snag a win, the Ducks will buy themselves a bowl game appearance.

Freeman has two regular season games remaining in his legendary collegiate career. After accumulating 5,364 rushing yards over the last four years, ‘Rolls’ wants to end his time with the Ducks with three straight wins, including one at a bowl game.

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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