Humiliated Ducks Get Pounded in the Rain.

Oregon suffered one the most humiliating defeats in the program's history Saturday when arch rival Washington danced on the "O", in the center of the field at Autzen Stadium, prior to kickoff and after the final horn sounded in celebration of a 42-14 victory. The game seemed to mark an absolute low mark in enthusiasm for both the Ducks and their fans for the 2002 season. The Ducks failed to answer the call and slipped to a 7-4 record for the year and 3-4 in the Pac-10 race.

"We started off well on offense and defense and then lost momentum," said Head Coach Mike Bellotti.

The Ducks jumped out to an early 14-point lead on two Jason Fife touchdown passes in the first quarter. Fife hit junior wide receiver Samie Parker for an 8-yard touchdown pass that culminated a 10 play, 80-yard drive. After the Ducks stopped the Huskies on their initial drive in three plays, Husky punter Derek McLaughlin boomed an incredible 80-yard punt that pinned the Ducks on their own 2-yard line. Fife then directed an impressive 98-yard drive in seven plays resulting in a Fife to Jason Willis 37-yard touchdown pass. From that point on, Washington would score 42 unanswered points.

Washington quarterback Cody Pickett found success against the Ducks with a 26 of 37 passing day for 316 yards and four touchdowns. What was incredible was that Pickett was not necessarily relying on the long ball to do the damage - he simply threw slant patterns designed to pick up small yardage. Unfortunately for the Ducks, Pickett found wide receiver Reggie Williams twice on slants and resulting in a 23-yard score and then later in the game a 41-yard score. Not to make it seem like all the Pickett did was throw slant patterns to Williams, Pickett and Willams also hooked up on a crossing pattern that ended up 47 yards later for a touchdown. Williams had an outstanding day of 14 catches for 198 yards and three touchdowns. The Washington running game was supposed to be suffering but try telling Rich Alexis that. The junior ended up racking up 122 yards on 30 carries and two touchdowns.

The Washington defense came to life after giving up the initial two scores to the Ducks and in the second quarter only allowed the Ducks two first downs, 10 yards of rushing and 12 yards of passing. Fife became so erratic that it was clear the coaching staff needed to do something in order to calm the frustrated junior quarterback. The Ducks gave up 21 straight points in the first half, but still showed some signs of life. If Fife could regain his control, perhaps the Ducks would climb back into the game.

"We wanted to change the tempo, get the excitement going," said Bellotti. "I wanted Jason (Fife) to sit and watch for a series or two."

On the first possession of the second half a change was made at quarterback and in came redshirt freshman Kellen Clemens. His first pass was a deep out pattern that was picked off by Washington's Derrick Johnson. The turnover resulted in a Husky touchdown and the route was on. Clemens came back in after the ensuing touchdown and did manage to lead the offense on a drive - a drive composed mostly of rushing plays. That drive too stalled and the Ducks failed to realize any points. Fife returned to finish the game, and did show improvement. By that time though the Dawgs were out of control. Fife finished the day 10 of 20 for 170 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Clemens did not complete any of his three attempts and had the one interception.

Junior running back Onterrio Smith did not play due to a reported injury.

As the game wore on the weather worsened until finally only a few hard-core faithful Ducks remained of the record 57,112 attendance in a stadium that was once known as one of the hardest places for a visiting team to find success. In the 2002 season, the newly expanded Autzen has lost the intensity it once enjoyed.

"Great stadium, just not as formidable as it used to be," said a disheartened Bellotti.

The Ducks now must face Oregon State at Reser Stadium in the Civil War. Oregon can still finish the season with eight regular season wins, and the Ducks are still bowl eligible. However, something or someone must find a spark to ignite the enthusiasm of a team that seemed only to want to leave the rain soaked field Saturday and find shelter. It is hard to imagine an Oregon team not pumped up to play the Huskies - let alone permitting the indignity of opposing players to mockingly jig on the home turf. But that's what happened. The Ducks have their last chance to save face for the season next week in Corvallis, against the Beavers.


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