Updated 4:54 pm
Oregon Ducks football entered the match today against the Washington State Cougars having won the past four contests, including last year’s thrilling 4th quarter rally in Pullman to come away with the victory, 44-41.
Oregon won the coin toss and deferred.
WSU started their first possession from their own 25 yard line. They were only able to advance 15 yards before being forced to punt, and the Ducks started from their own 21 yard line.
The Ducks came out strong with a 33 yard toss from Bo Nix to Terrance Ferguson, followed by a 15 yard run by Bucky Irving. Oregon stalled, but then picked up a TD that was negated by a holding call. At 4th down on the WSU 29 yard line, the Ducks sent out Camden Lewis who missed yet another field goal, having missed a critical kick last Saturday.
The Cougars had better success in getting the ball downfield on their second possession, largely with their passing game. WSU reached the red zone, but the Oregon defense stiffened, and the Cougars put the first points of the game on the board with a field goal, and were up 3-0.
Nix came out passing again, with a 14 yard pass to Troy Franklin, and a couple of plays later Nix connected on a 46 yard pass to Tez Johnson. The Duck could not generate anything on 2nd and goal and then 3rd and goal, and Camden Lewis’ second FG attempt of the game was good; a 27 yarder that tied the game 3-3.
Back with the ball, the Cougars did a quick 3-and-out, and punted, and the Ducks started on their 25 yard line. Nix completed a 32 yard pass to Franklin, but otherwise Oregon could not get anywhere. On 4th and 10 on the Cougars 37, the Ducks offense lined up and Bo Nix surprised everyone with a short yardage punt that put WSU on their own 3 yard line.
It did not take Cam Ward very long to torch the Oregon secondary with a 47 yard pass, followed by a 20 yard pass. A four yard run and incomplete pass gave WSU 3rd and 6 on the Oregon 20. The Ducks then gave up a 16 yard pass for first down, and the Cougars finished a seven play, 93 yard drive with a TD and were up 10-3.
Cameron Ward making it look easy pic.twitter.com/WBZK6vrNYY— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) October 21, 2023
Oregon very much needed to respond. They did so with the run game finally showing up, highlighted by a Jordan James 37 yard run that put the Ducks just outside the red zone. James ran a couple more times for 12 yards total, and Bucky Irving took the rock into the end zone. The game was tied at 10-all with 5:57 left to go in the half.
WSU picked up a couple of long passes, but at the Oregon 39 yard line they petered out on 4th and three, turning the ball over on downs. Bucky Irving and the Oregon line blistered WSU on a 40 yard run and a Jordan James run put the Ducks in the red zone, where Nix ran it into the end zone, capping a 61 yard drive in four plays with 44 seconds on the clock.
The Cougars again torched the Ducks with explosive passing between the 20s, but could get no further than the Oregon 16 yard line, and kicked the chip shot with 6 seconds left in the half. The Ducks would go into the 3rd quarter with a 17-13 lead and the first possession of the second half.
At halftime, the statistics are what would be expected. WSU had 275 yards to 295 for the Ducks, but their yardage was overwhelmingly slanted to the pass, having run 8 plays to 27 passing plays. Those eight rushed totalled 28 yards. The Ducks were more balanced with about half their yardage coming from rushing.
Oregon got the ball to start the third quarter but could only advance to midfield and had to punt, pinning the Cougars on their 13 yard line, but a WSU holding penalty put them on their 7 yard line.
This time the Ducks defense did not give up the big play, and Wazzu had to punt, giving Oregon excellent midfield positioning to start their next drive.
As it turned out, this next drive was the Bucky Irving show. Irving was responsible for all 53 yards in four plays for the TD, highlighted by a 42 yard TD pass reception. Oregon had the lead, 24-13.
Starting on their own 25, the Cougars were able to drive to the Ducks 31, kicking a 50 yard field goal after a Blake Purchase sack, and the score was 24-16.
Dean Janikowski hits from 50! @deanojanikowski— Washington State Football (@WSUCougarFB) October 21, 2023
3rd career 50-yard FG, tied for 4th-most in WSU history
32nd career FG, tied with Rian Lindell for 7th-most in WSU history
WATCH | @ABCNetwork #GoCougs | #WAZZU | #CVE23 pic.twitter.com/iTg1A9HMN0
Oregon quickly and methodically drove for their next TD, needing only a couple of minutes for Bucky Irving to run 42 yard for the score, putting the Ducks firmly in the lead, 31-16.
With Oregon finding a groove, Washington State had to generate a solid scoring drive if they were going to stay in the game. They started on their 25 but after picking up a few first downs, the Cougars turned the ball over on downs at the Oregon 36 yard line.
Jordan James rushed for 20 yards and a 19 yard connection to Terrance Ferguson put the Ducks on WSU’s 9 yard line, where Oregon promptly shot themselves in the foot with penalties that pushed the Ducks back to the WSU 24. Facing third and goal from the WSU 17, Bon Nix threw a beautiful TD pass to Tez Johnson, giving the Ducks a commanding 38-16 advantage.
Time was running out for Washington State, but at this point the Cougars had the look of a defeated team. But just when you think they’re out of it, the Cougars popped off two big passes to reach the Oregon 17. They could not make any further progress, and the Ducks took over on downs with 3:38 left to play.
It was Oregon’s turn to do nothing, and they punted after going three-and-out, then compounded their position with a delay of game that had the Ducks punting from their own 13 yard line.
With under two minutes left in the game, this one was over and WSU was playing for pride points. They got it too, with a garbage time touchdown and a successful 2-pt conversion to take us to the final score of 38-24.
The Ducks finished with 541 yards total in this game, nearly evenly divided at 248 rushing yards and 293 passing yards.
Bo Nix finished his day with 293 yards on 18/25 passing with two TDs. Nix added 4 yards rushing, but one of his two attempts was for a touchdown.
Rushing was led by Bucky Irving, who had 129 yards on 15 carries with two TDs. Irving alsi had 51 receiving yards and one TD, Jordan James had a productive after as well, with 103 yards on 13 carries.
Tez Johnson was just shy of 100 yards receiving, with 94 yards on 6 catches. and one TD.
Coach’s remarks after the game:
Drop by again, as we will add coach and player interviews as they become available.