“Great effort from everybody," remarked Oregon headman Mark Helfrich of his team's performance. "I’m really proud of that. Defensively, it was huge in the first half containing them to field goals, and the offense responded with touchdowns. We didn’t finish it exactly how I would’ve liked, but I’m really proud of our effort overall.”
The only time the Oregon offense sputtered was on the first drive of the game in which the Ducks were forced to punt after five snaps in the possession, but from that point on, Oregon and specifically Royce Freeman ran over a Washington defense that been thought as one of the better units in the conference. Freeman ended the game rushing for 169 yards and four touchdowns and would have had a fifth had not a holding penalty been called during the play.
“We saw some of his elusiveness that was legendary during fall camp, as far as being able to run through guys and make people miss a little better than you think," Helfrich said of Freeman. "He’s starting to play free of thought and is letting his natural gifts take over.”
Freeman was the leading rusher for the game with Byron Marshall contributing 30 yards and Kenny Bassett had 21 yards. Marcus Mariota had 17 yards rushing on two carries but was sacked three times for minus 18 yards and finished the night with minus one yard net rushing.
Thomas Tyner had three carries but did not have any positive yards before he left the game. Tyner was on the sidelines with pads and helmet in the second half.
Mariota was pinpoint sharp throwing for 336 yards on 24-for-33 passing and two touchdowns. The first one was to Byron Marshall on a 23 yard play in the second quarter. Later on Mariota hit Dwayne Stanford in one of the best throw and catch of the year in the east endzone. Mariota found Stanford on a fade to the Northwest corner of the endzone from 16 yards out and Stanford leaped high into the air landing just inside the endzone for the score. The play gave Oregon a 35-6 lead following the successful point after by Matt Wogan. For Mariota it was a fun night especially after meeting a living Oregon legend.
“These are the reasons you come back to school, to enjoy experiences like this," said Mariota of the game. "To see those guys, especially Kenny Wheaton, enjoying that moment just signifies such a huge turnaround in this program. It was awesome to be a part of and something I will remember for the rest of my life.”
Oregon had a 28-6 halftime lead with Freeman racking up three touchdowns and 81 yards rushing to lead the way. Oregon had 380 yards of total offense in the first half and finished the game with 554 yards of total offense, 336 passing and 218 rushing.
Three Ducks had five receptions with Darren Carrington leading was with 75 yards followed by Stanford’s 55 and Byron Marshall with 48.
“I’m really proud of Darren Carrington," commented Helfrich of Carrington. "He’s practiced a lot better over the last couple of weeks and he’s really starting to grow up. I’m really happy that that’s showing up in the game.”
Pharaoh Brown again had a strong outing with three receptions for 99 yards with a long of 66. This was his second week in a row that Brown has come up big.
“Nothing has really changed," said Brown after being asked what has changed in his performance. "I come out every week, work hard and do what I do. I can’t control where the ball goes during the game, but in my mind I know that every time I get it I want to catch it, run with it, and make plays.”
Defensively the Ducks controlled the tempo for most of the game and held Washington to six points until midway through the third quarter when Washington scored a touchdown on 3-yard pass from Husky starter Cyler Miles to Deontae Cooper from 3-yards out. Washington scored again in the fourth quarter when Troy Williams ran the ball in from the Oregon 7.
Rodney Hardrick was the co-leading tackler with eight tackles (five solos) including two tackles for loss. Derrick Malone also had eight tackles (two solos) while Joe Walker had seven tackles, all solos. DeForest Buckner had two and a half TFLs with Tony Washington credited with assisting on the tackle.
Christian French had two TFLs but both French’s were sacks. One of French’s sacks dropped Miles 17 yards behind the line of scrimmage and during the sack French forced a fumble that was recovered by Tui Talia. The recover was Talia’s second game in a row that he has recovered a fumble. It also was the second time that Oregon was able to convert the turnover to a score when Freeman scored his fourth touchdown of the game.
Erick Dargan had an interception in the first half that led to a touchdown in the first half. The Ducks had a total of seven pass break ups and a quarterback hurry.
Washington was led in tackling by Hau’oli Kikaha with 11 tackles (six solos) including two and a half sacks of Mariota. Danny Shelton was given an assist on one the third sack. Shelton also had a two TFLs along with Travis Feeney and Scott Lawyer.
Matt Wogan was 1-for-2 in field goal kicking, booting one successfully for 26 yards but went left on his first attempt of 33 yards.
Washington had two field goals from Cameron Van Winkle from 33 and 45 yards out.
While Oregon had over 500 yards of total offense, Washington was held to 317 of total offense – 133 yards rushing and 184 yards passing.
Oregon was flagged seven times and lost 90 yards because of penalties while Washington drew four penalties for minus 24 yards.
Oregon won the turnover-takeaway contest by recovering Washington’s only fumble and an interception. Oregon did not have a turnover during the game.
The game is always an emotional, important game and the Ducks may have played the most complete game since the win over Michigan State in the third game of the season. Freeman solidified his role as starting at the running back and Mariota, well he obviously made another case for the Heisman Trophy.
This will be a short week for the Ducks as they travel to Santa Clara, Calif., for a show down with the California Bears at Levi Stadium, the new home of the 49ers and the future spot for the Pac-12 playoff game following the conclusion of the regular season, a game the Ducks very much have on their radar screen.
•Oregon extended its winning streak against Washington to 11 straight games - the longest such streak by either team in the 113-year history of the rivalry.
•Marcus Mariota passed for a touchdown for the 33rd straight game - every game of his career. His streak is second among current players behind Marshall’s Rakeem Cato (39), who set the NCAA record in the Thundering Herd’s win over Florida International earlier in the day.
•Mariota extended his streak of passing attempts without an interception to 238. He now owns the first (353) and second longest such streaks in Pac-12 history.
•Mariota’s 336 passing yards were a season high. He surpassed 8,000 passing yards for his career and now has 8,299.
•Mariota also surpassed 10,000 yards of total offense in his career and now has 10,055.
•Royce Freeman had a career-best four touchdowns, including three in the first half. Freeman also set bests with 29 carries and 169 yards on the ground - his second straight 100-yard performance.
•Freeman has rushed for multiple touchdowns in 4 of 7 games this season and leads the Ducks in scoring with 11 TDs. The true frosh has also passed for a score.
•Erick Dargan made his team-high fourth interception of the season and 10th of his career.
•Christian French had a career-best two sacks and forced a fumble.
•Tui Talia recovered a fumble for the second straight game.
•Pharaoh Brown led the Ducks with 99 receiving yards, including a career-long 66-yarder.
•The Ducks have a passing touchdown in 60 straight games, the longest streak in Pac-12 history.
•Oregon improved to 17-0 when scoring at least 30 points in the Mark Helfrich era.
•UO defeated a Chris Petersen-coached team for the first team. Petersen was 2-0 vs. the Ducks while at Boise State.
•The Ducks have defeated four different coaches during their 11-game winning streak against the Huskies: Keith Gilbertson (1), Tyrone Willingham (4), Steve Sarkisian (5) and Petersen (1).
•With their sixth win, the Ducks are officially bowl eligible.
•Oregon, which was celebrating Homecoming this weekend, wore a modernized version of its 1994 uniform to pay tribute to that team and the 20th anniversary of Kenny Wheaton’s iconic interception against Washington.
•The crowd of 57,858 marked the 101st consecutive sellout at Autzen Stadium.