Ducks Prevail 55-34 Over Dawgs

Seattle – For over three quarters of the game it was a competitive Oregon-Washington match up that folks in these parts come to expect and the reason why the rivalry is so heated. However, behind Jonathan Stewart's 251 yards of net rushing the Ducks overwhelmed the Dawgs in the fourth quarter and took away a 55-34 win.

Stewart, the powerful Oregon running back took on an additional load tonight more than he normally does as he carried the ball 32 times. His effort spearheaded an Oregon running game that totaled 465 yards. Not only did Stewart establish a personal best, fellow running back Andre Crenshaw added 113 yards net rushing of his own to mark the first time in six years that two Oregon backs rushed over 100 yards in a single game. The last time was Oct. 27, 2001 when Onterrio Smith (285) and Maurice Morris (138) did it against Washington State in a 24-17 win. The 465 yards of rushing set a school record, eclipsing the 2001 game (446) at WSU.

Both Stewart scored two touchdowns, and to throw salt in the Huskies' wound, Oregon quarterback ended up a yard short of picking up 100 yards also. Dixon also ran a score in the endzone as did Remene Alston late in the game. Stewart's effort tonight is the second highest out put behind Smith's game against the Cougars.

"When you get that kind of consistency, I mean we've rushed for almost 300 yards almost every game," remarked Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti. "This is probably the best offensive line I've seen here at Oregon."

For the entire prowess the Ducks showed running the ball, the credit has to start at the offensive line. The big Ducks controlled the line of scrimmage and mauled the Husky defenders. Not only did the Ducks run wild on the field; Dixon had a decent passing day going 19-for-30, 196 yards, one touchdown pass to Garren Strong and a meaningless interception at the end of the first half.

"I'm very proud of our guys, especially the offensive line," cited Bellotti of the team's effort. "Jonathan (Stewart) had a great game. Dixon ran the ball (and) Crenshaw ran the ball. I was really, really pleased with our ability to control the line of scrimmage."

Dixon went over the 1,000-yard mark tonight and he got some surprising help from freshman Aaron Pflugrad, who had five grabs for 51 yards -- so much for all the talk about Oregon's depth being questionable. The leading receiver was Jaison Williams with 60 yards on five catches. Strong also had five snares totaling 53 yards. Stewart was Dixon's relief valve catching three balls for 20 yards. Ed Dickson, while so close, so many times had one catch for 12 yards tonight, but the potential for him having game breaking performances is very obvious.

"Had a couple of key catches in this game, big catches," Bellotti said of Pflugrad. "He's not the biggest receiver, he's not the fastest. He just has great hands and makes great plays. It's fun because the team is rallying around him now.

Pflugrad got the starting nod at flanker when Derrick Jones was suspended yesterday for violation of unspecified team rules and Cameron Colvin was lost for the season last week with a broken ankle.

For the game the Ducks racked up 661 yards of offense, 465 rushing and 196 passing. The Ducks secured the ball as only one fumble was recorded and Oregon got back on it. Dixon's sole interception was a last second Hail Mary that was picked up as the clock expired time in the second quarter. Oregon also controlled the clock, 34:23 to 25:37. What may have been the most impressive part of all this was that the Washington Huskies behind quarterback Jake Locker's 257 yards and four touchdowns passing and 78 yards rushing, were still very much in the game up until the start of the fourth quarter. The score board read Oregon 41, Washington 31, and in the final stanza the Ducks rolled up 14 more points while the Huskies managed a field goal on a make-or-break drive that could have cut Oregon's lead to four and really fired up the dominant Husky crowd of 66,481.

Washington finished up with 421 yards offense, 257 passing and 192 rushing.

Locker proved why he is the toast of the town in Seattle as he eluded a stubborn Oregon defense that held the Husky running game to 192 yards, 78 that belonged to Locker and 73 to Louis Rankin. It wasn't that the Duck defense was running on empty, rather it was more a case of Locker being a great player.

"He's a tremendous athlete and a weapon," described Bellotti of Locker. "He'll be a force to deal with in the future."

Walter Thurmond's 10 tackles (seven solos) in addition to a break up led the Duck defense up. Patrick Chung had seven tackles (five solos) and blocked a punt attempt. Cornerback Jairus Byrd recorded his team-high third interception of the season and he eighth of his career in the third quarter. Washington's Darin Harris was the game high tackler with 15 (six solos).

"That was a tremendous play because Jairus had gotten caught earlier in the year in the same situation but he didn't look back," Bellotti commented on Byrd's interception. "It should've been offensive pass interference; that was the most blatant thing I've ever seen, but Jairus fought the guy off and caught the ball. Great takeaway to change the momentum."

Matt Evensen was good on two of three attempts, hitting from 25 and 47 yards but missing a 53-yard attempt.

The Ducks are now 6-1 for the year and 3-1 in the Pac-10 race while the Huskies slip to 2-5 overall and 0-4 in the conference race. While the Ducks now have a four-game win streak over the Huskies, it was the first time Oregon has beat Washington at Husky Stadium in 10 years. Bellotti indicated there were no injuries to his squad tonight.

Next week the Ducks face what could be the biggest challenge of the year when USC comes to Autzen Stadium. While anytime Oregon beats Washington, it is something for fans to be delighted, this game was very tough because of how much the Huskies are improving.

"This game was a vote of confidence for our team, because we were challenged and we responded," observed Bellotti.

Official Box Score.


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