Mariota leads the way, as Huskies' futility continues
SEATTLE Oregon faced its stiffest test Saturday, and quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Marcus Mariota rose to the occasion.
Mariota threw for 366 yards and three scores, rushed for 88 yards and the key touchdown in the fourth quarter as the Ducks beat Washington 45-24 at Husky Stadium, extending their winning streak to 10 games in the Northwest rivalry.
Oregon offensive threat De'Anthony Thomas was dressed for the game, but basically stood on the sideline as a decoy? while continuing to recover from a sprained ankle.
But Mariota and play-makers Bralon Addison, Josh Huff and Byron Marshall made the plays as Oregon moved to 6-0 (3-0 Pac-12).
Mariota completed 24 of 31 passes, without an interception.
And Oregon's defense made some key plays against Washington and quarterback Keith Price and running back Bishop Sankey, who had a couple TD runs and 167 rushing yards (6.0 per carry) as the Huskies (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12) proved to be competitive with the country's No. 2 team.
The Ducks (6-0, 3-0) play Washington State at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 at Autzen Stadium.
The Ducks, coming off five consecutive blowouts, fended off the Huskies in the closest Oregon-UW game in years before 71,833 at revamped Husky Stadium on the shore of Lake Washington.
The teams battled through the first quarter, but Oregon scored two second-quarter touchdowns and gained control to lead 21-7 at halftime.
Oregon's defense, which stepped up in the first half, appeared to stop the UW offense on the first possession of the second half. But, on fourth-and-1 at the UW 40 gutsy, gutsy call for the Huskies Sankey ran through the UO defense on a draw play and scored on a 60-yard TD run. It was 21-14.
Oregon bounced back with vengeance, though. Huff, who appeared seriously hurt left leg or knee in the first half, broke free of his cornerback and the UW safety and caught a 65-yard TD pass from Mariota to give Oregon another two-touchdown lead. Guess he wasn't too hurt.
The Huskies moved the ball again, but a pretty pass play went bust, as Price's pass went off the hands of Jaydon Mickens and into the hands of UO safety Avery Patterson. It almost felt the key blow of the game, but the play was reviewed and was overturned (ball hit the ground first). Price hit Mickens for 11 yards and Kasen Williams for 12 yards and, after three rushes and a first down by Sankey, the Huskies had first-and-goal at the UO 5. But Tony Washington and Wade Keliikipi sacked Price for a big loss, and then Taylor Hart got to Price on third down. Travis Coons' 30-yard field goal made it 28-17.
The Huskies returned the favor, holding the Ducks to three points on an offensive possession. Mariota hit Johnny Mundt, Huff and Bralon Addison on passes, but a penalty and a Huff run for no gain forced Alejandro Maldonado's 34-yard field goal, and it was 31-17.
Washington, however, showed it had staying power. Price hit tight end Austin Sefarian-Jenkins for 28 yards. Sankey ran for a 25-yard TD as UW drew within 31-24 just 26 seconds before the end of the third quarter.
But Mariota, perhaps, had a Heisman Trophy moment, scrambling out of the pocket and across field for a 35-yard gain as the quarter ended. The Ducks were on the move, and they were in a four-quarter game.
Mariota hit Addison for 30 yards to the UW 6. The Huskies forced third down at the UW 5, but Mariota scooted in for the touchdown on a stretch play, as UO went up 38-24.
A holding penalty on UW's possession set the Huskies back, and they couldn't convert a third-and-26 with about 11 minutes left.
The Ducks put a dagger in Washington's heart. Mariota clicked with his passes. Mariota threw his third TD pass, a 3-yarder to Addison, and Oregon led 45-24. The game had been put to rest, and Mariota had 366 yards on 24 of 31 passing with three TDs, and rushed 13 times for 88 yards. Marshall added 88 yards. No Thomas, no problem.
The tone of the game was set early.
For the first time, an opponent reached halftime within striking distance of the Ducks, although the visitors distanced themselves somewhat with some shut-down defense and two second-quarter drives for touchdowns to lead 21-7.
The Ducks could have led 7-0 after their first drive, but receiver Keanon Lowe, after breaking wide open, dropped a pretty pass from Mariota. The drive stalled two plays later when Marshall's run came up short on fourth down.
But the UO defense showed what was to come, forcing a three-and-out.
Oregon scored on its next possession, although play tightened inside the red zone with three reviews of on-field calls. Addison ripped off a 43-yard run, breaking through seemingly four or five tacklers at the line of scrimmage.
Later, Huff fumbled inside the 1-yard-line on a carry and the ball bounced out of the end zone, with officials ruling touchdown. On review, it was overturned. On the next play, Mariota scored on a 1-yard plunge, but review overturned the play, his knee being ruled down.
Then, Marshall plunged in for a 1-yard TD on a wild play, in which replay showed offensive lineman Hamani Stevens pulling/pushing the back into end zone. Still, it was close and ruled a touchdown, which replay confirmed.
The Huskies burst back, as Price hit on three consecutive passes, including 28 yards to Jaydon Mickens. On third down, Price hit a diving tight end Sefarian-Jenkins on an 8-yard TD pass.
The teams exchanged defensive stops, and the Huskies again stopped the Ducks on the series where Huff, carrying the ball after a short reception, appeared to hurt his left leg when hit by Husky defenders and Stevens, his own O-lineman. He had to be helped off the field, followed by a UO punt.
Washington, driving into UO territory, gave up the momentum. Troy Hill forced a fumble of Washington running back Bishop Sankey, with Torrodney Prevot recovering at the UO 31.
Mariota hit Addison for 38 yards and, later, the two connected on a 4-yard TD score, with Addison adeptly keeping his feet in bounds. It was 14-7, Oregon.
The UO defense kept up its fine play, forcing a three-and-out. Mariota hit Pharaoh Brown for 18 yards and Lowe for 20. Marshall scored his second TD on 15-yard run, untouched. It was 21-7.
Washington again pushed the ball upfield, but Erick Dargan intercepted Price. With another opportunity to score points before halftime, the Huskies had to punt.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
OREGON 7 14 10 14 -- 45
WASHINGTON 7 0 17 0 -- 24
OREGON Byron Marshall 1 run (Alejandro Maldonado kick), 6:22
WASHINGTON Austin Sefarian-Jenkins 8 pass from Keith Price (Travis Coons kick), 3:52
OREGON Bralon Addison 4 pass from Marcus Mariota (Matt Wogan kick), 8:41
OREGON Byron Marshall 15 run (Maldonado kick), 4:55
WASHINGTON Bishop Sankey 60 run (Coons kick), 13:44
OREGON Josh Huff 65 pass from Mariota (Wogan kick), 12:36
WASHINGTON Coons 30 FG, 7:25
OREGON Maldonado 34 FG, 3:16
WASHINGTON Sankey 25 run (Coons kick), 0:26
OREGON Mariota 5 run (Maldonado kick), 13:55
OREGON Addison 3 pass from Mariota (Wogan kick), 7:37