Marcus Mariota improved his Heisman Trophy chances with a strong out by throwing for 366 yards on a 24-for-31 effort, hitting for three touchdowns along the way. Mariota also rushed for 88 yards, scoring once.
"He played really smart and very productive," said Helfrich of his quarterback. "A bunch of guys made a bunch of plays for him too."
The game started out with the Huskies staying close in the first quarter in front of 71,833 fans aching for the Oregon winning streak to end at nine. Oregon scored first on a 1-yard run by Byron Marshall then Washington answered when Husky signal caller Keith Price found Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the back of the endzone for an 8-yard TD. However despite being tied 7-7 at the end of the first quarter Oregon opened up in the second quarter as Mariota scrambled and hit Bralon Addison on the first of two TDs for the day. Later on in the period Marshall broke loose and went 13-yards for a score. At halftime it was 21-0 but the third quarter kept the Husky faithful in the stands. The Huskies took the opening kickoff and looked to go three and out. With the ball on the Washington 40, Bishop Sankey ran the ball off the left tackle and headed 60-yards for a touchdown. The newly renovated stadium erupted and as there was hope for the long suffering Huskies as the score was cut to 21-14 following the successful PAT.
Oregon's philosophy must be one explosion play deserves another because on the ensuing kickoff Mariota hit Thomas Tyner for a 14-yard gain and followed up handing the ball off to Marshall for 3 yards. Then on the next snap, Mariota hit Josh Huff in stride resulting in a 65-yard scoring play and following the PAT Oregon was back up by two scores, 28-14. The amazing thing about Huff's TD, besides the perfect pass from Mariota was that Huff was knocked out of action in the first half and had to be carried off the field. Did he have to campaign with his head coach to get back into the game?
"He didn't have to campaign at all," responded Helfrich to the question of Huff's playing status in the second half of the game. "Our sports medicine people do a great job and that guy (Huff) is a competitor. He is a competitive dude and came up big."
When the Huskies got the ball back, Price engineered a drive lasting 5:11 and a Travis Coons 30-field goal cutting the Ducks lead to 28-17. Oregon responded with a 3:11 drive and Alejandro Maldonado booted through a 34-yard field goal giving Oregon a two-touchdown lead again at 31-17. As the final moments of the third quarter ticked off, Sankey again scored from 25-yards out making it 31-24 after the successful PAT.
Following Oregon's Mariota's running touchdown early in the fourth quarter, the Duck defense then went to work. Trailing 38-17 Washington was forced to rely solely on the pass in order to have a chance to stay in the game but the Oregon defense would not cooperate stalling the Washington's drives. Consequently, the Huskies were shutout in the fourth quarter and when Mariota hit Addison on a 3-yard score the score went to 45-24 following the PAT and that was the ball game. Mariota has now thrown at least one TD pass in 19 games he has played.
"I don't have a Heisman vote but I'd be hard pressed to say we'll see a better quarterback this year," responded Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian when asked if Mariota had put on a Heisman (Trophy) worthy performance. "That guy is special. I don't know when he is planning on going to the NFL, but when he does, I think he'll be a top five draft pick He's a hell of a player."
For the season, Mariota has accounted for 25 touchdowns (17 passing, eight rushing) and has no turnovers.
Oregon racked up 631 yards of total offense to Washington's 376. The Ducks rushed for 265 yards led by Marshall's 106 yards on 19 carries and two TDs. Mariota was the second leading ground gainer with 88 and a score. Thomas Tyner contributed 57 yards and Ayele Forde had 10 in late game action. Marshall now has four games this season with over 100 yards rushing.
Bralon Addison turned in another big game of receiving by catching eight balls for 157 yards and two touchdowns. This was the second straight game Addison has had more than 150 yards receiving. Huff recorded six grabs for 107 yards and a TD. This was Huff's fourth 100-yard plus receiving game this year. Five other receivers had double-figure yardage headed by Keanon Lowe's three catches for 26 yards.
Washington was led in rushing by Sankey who was the game's top rusher with 167 net yards on 28 carries and two TDs. Price had 18 yards net running ball but was 19-for-32 for 182 yards a touchdown and an interception. Sankey was also the leading pass catcher with five receptions for 38 yards.
Defensively, Oregon was led in tackling by Derrick Malone with 10 tackles (four solos) including a sack and a half. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu also had a tackle for loss among his four solo tackles. Taylor Hart had a sack in the fourth quarter and Tony Washington was given credit for half of a sack plus full credit for an additional TFL. Wade Keliikipi notched two and a half TFLs including one and a half sacks while Erick Dargan had an interception.
Washington gave up the ball twice on turnovers while Oregon did not have a turnover.
"I thought that both of our turnovers occurred in their territory so they (the turnovers) took off away potential points off the board for us and gave them (Oregon) possession," observed Sarkisian of Washington's two turnovers in the game. "So I thought that both of those plays really had an impact on the outcome of the game."
The Ducks now improve to 6-0 for the season and 3-0 in conference play. The win marks the tenth straight time Oregon has beaten Washington and all 10 games have been wins by double-figure margins. Oddly enough, today's six touchdowns scored are the lowest offensive output of the year for the Ducks.
"It is a great achievement," said Helfrich of the Ducks' winning streak over the Huskies. "For the fans, for the alumni – it is huge, it's a big deal. By the same token, it's number six. We had to get through the sixth game. Now we need to rest, recover and rehab and get ready for number seven."