Ducks Overwhelm Cougars 63-14

Pullman – What can you really say about a 49-point blow out? The Ducks played well and the Cougars struggled. Well, considering the Ducks were untracked last week when they lost another quarterback, this week when that player came back the results were something spectacularly different. Oregon dropped the big one on Washington State, 63-14.

(PHOTO) LeGarrette Blount churns his way through the Washington State defense on Saturday. The win improved Oregon to 4-1 and 2-0 in Pac-10 play while WSU dropped to 1-4, 0-2. (Photo by Chris Wilson)

All week long the Ducks talked about turnover-takeaway ratio. Head Coach Mike Bellotti spoke to it every time he spoke to the media. Linebackers talked about it and so did defensive tackles. The Ducks, especially the defense was on a mission – to get more takeaways than turnovers. Starting off in the first quarter, the Ducks did exactly that.

"I thought it was a total team victory, offense, defense and special teams," was the first thing Bellotti when he addressed the media in post-game interviews. "We got on the right side of the turnover takeaway ratio which is the most important thing in my mind and of which we've been battling."

The Ducks opened things up by tearing at the ball on defense and on special teams and that resulted in two fumbles in the first quarter that led to touchdowns. The short field may not have produced many yards but when the score is 21-0 after the first 15 minutes of play, who can complain?

As always, the Duck defense was determined to stop the run first and then make the other team pass. However, with the emergence of Sonny Harris, the Ducks now find they are creating havoc for the other side's quarterback.

"We got great push on the pocket early by Sonny Harris and Cole Linehan," comment Bellotti. "There was no place to go and each time they (WSU) stepped up, it was into a hornet's nest and defensive ends continued to make plays. Nick Reed is just awesome in that regard."

Harris along with Linehan now has removed any doubts about the Duck interior defense. Harris ended up with four tackles (two solos) and while Linehan may have been shut out of statistical categories, his presence and leadership were felt. Reed again was splendid with a sack and an additional tackle for loss. He also had a fumble recovery and two quarterback hurries.

The Duck secondary, which drew some criticism last week, was back to their ball hawking ways. Patrick Chung was the team's leading tackler with nine (six solos) including a sack and two more tackles for loss. Jairus Byrd had five tackles and Walter Thurmond III picked off two passes.

"Once you get momentum, it's really hard to stop it," said Chung of the game. "We came in and got the momentum we needed and it was all (downhill) from there."

On the offensive side of the ball Jeremiah Masoli left the field last week he was able to forget everything that happened or at least that's what his teammates had teased him about this week during practice. Obviously the effects of the concussion that came on a vicious hit in the BSU game have passed because Masoli managed the Oregon Ducks quite well against the WSU Cougars. Masoli went 9-for-16 in passing for 161 yards and two touchdowns and was only caught once for a sack. He also kept the Cougars honest by running for 36 yards on five carries.

"He did a nice job," observed Bellotti. "He made good choices, good throws."

Jaison Williams was the leading pass catcher for the Ducks by grabbing four balls for 102 yards and two touchdowns including one for 36 yards. The Head Coach thinks Williams is gaining confidence every day and believes Williams is a big, physical specimen that hard for teams to match up with.

"Jaison Williams is always capable of having big plays," Bellotti said. "Anytime he touches the ball because of his speed, strength and athleticism he can go all the way."

The running game again was outstanding with both Jeremiah Johnson and LeGarrette Blount providing something different for the Ducks' arsenal. Blount was the leading ball carrier in the game with 98 yards on 15 carries and three touchdowns. Johnson matched the touchdown out put plus chalked up 89 yards on 10 carries including a long of 45. Remene Alston took full advantage of his minutes and produced 73 yards on five carries with a long 43-yard scamper.

"Jeremiah Johnson and LeGarrette Blount, they mix it up and they do different things running the football and that really keeps defenses off balance," related Bellotti. "Jeremiah is going to run around you, make you miss; LeGarrette is going to run over you or over the top of you."

While the place kickers weren't called upon for any field goal tries the rest of the special teams were ferocious going after the ball.

"Defense and special teams gave the offense a sort field twice and we took advantage of it," confessed Bellotti. "That comes from all of the groups working together and hitting on all cylinders."

WSU quarterback Marshall Lobbestael was 22-of-44 for 192 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Brandon Gibson was the game's leading receiver with 10 catches for 103 yards. For the game WSU had a total of 271 yards offense (79 rushing, 192 passing) compared to Oregon's 507 yards of offense. The Ducks had 346 yards rushing and 161 yards passing. Oregon was 7-of-7 in red zone scoring while WSU was 2-of-2.

Both teams saw their share of penalties. Oregon was called 11 times for minus 69 yards while WSU drew nine flags for minus 93 yards.

The biggest statistic though for the Ducks, was zero turnovers compared to four takeaways.

The 63 points by Oregon were the most ever scored by either team in the series as was the 49-point victory margin.

It was also the most points the Ducks have scored on the road since beating Arizona 63-28 in 2001.

Blount has now scored a touchdown for the fourth straight game.

Chris Harper saw his first action as a receiver today.

Johnson's three touchdowns in the game were the sixth time he has had multi-touchdown games in his career.

Oregon has outscored WSU by a combined score of 75-7 in the first half over the last two meetings.

Josh Kaddu and Dewitt Stuckey made their first playing appearance today.

The Ducks forced the game's first turnover after committing the first miscue themselves in the previous four contests.

Alston ecliped his pervious career rushing total of 42 yards on one rush of 44-yards.

Darron Thomas scored his first rushing touchdown of his career.

The Ducks rushed for more than 300 yards for the third time in five games this season.

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