Ducks Soar In Blowout Of Cougs

Ranked 16th and riding a towering wave of confidence, Oregon made quick work of the Washington State Cougars Saturday evening at Autzen Stadium, defeating the visitors from Pullman 52-6.

The game was never in doubt as Oregon scored early and often in the first half, gliding in to halftime with a 42-0 lead that was never threatened by the Cougars in the second half. The Ducks got to work on the scoreboard immediately after receiving the opening kickoff, as Oregon running back LaMichael James capped off an efficient eight play, 60 yard drive with an electrifying 26 yard touchdown run. However, for a second week in a row, the real story on offense for the Ducks was once again the outstanding play of Jeremiah Masoli and Ed Dickson. The two hooked up seven times for 103 yards and a touchdown, with Dickson appearing to be unassailable in one-on-one coverage.

"I think Coach (Chip) Kelly realizes how much of a weapon he is and (is) drawing up stuff to get him the ball," said Masoli, "We're getting the ball to him in the flats early and he's making a ton of people miss and getting good yards out of it."

Despite finishing 14-of-18 for 116 yards and a touchdown, Masoli would have likely targeted Dickson a few more times if it weren't for Masoli going down with what is believed to be a minor knee injury late in the first half.

"I banged it up a little bit in the first half," stated Masoli, "I don't know what really happened, but it was a bit sore and is a little sore right now, but I'm fine."

LaMichael James (ankle) and C.E. Kaiser (shin) also left the game early, with their status for next week's road contest at UCLA not yet known.

Defensively, the Ducks continued their absolute dominance of opposing offenses, limiting the Cougars to a paltry 158 yards of total offense. Washington State started true freshman quarterback, Jeff Tuel, who was knocked out of the game early in the first half with a hip injury. Marshall Lobbestael came on in relief, but was decidedly ineffective, going 7-for-13 for 48 yards and two interceptions.

"The one thing I love about our defense is how they compete," Oregon head coach Chip Kelly said after the game, "Our defense has come to play every game so far this season and we're going to ride them."

Will Tukuafu (two sacks), Javes Lewis (first career interception), and Talmadge Jackson (interception) were a few of the players who stood out on defense for the Ducks this evening, yet it was the play of true freshman linebacker Michael Clay that was arguably the most surprising. Clay finished the game with five tackles and one sack, displaying a keen nose for the football that wasn't overlooked by Kelly.

"He doesn't act like a true freshman," said Kelly of Clay, "It's amazing. You almost forget that he's a freshman with the way that he runs around out there. He's an instinctive football player that kind of just knows where the ball is. He's picked up everything we do defensively and he really doesn't act like a freshman and I think that's the best compliment for him."

With a convincing victory over Washington State in the books, Oregon's focus now turns to the UCLA Bruins, in what will be their first road contest since the debacle at Boise State approximately one month ago. Coach Kelly made no bones about the importance of this next game, citing some of the impressive players and victories the Bruins lay claim to.

"They're a very good defensive football team right now," admitted Kelly, "They have arguably one of the best defensive linemen in the country in Brian Price, and Alterraun Verner is one of the best corners in this league. That team went to Tennessee and beat Tennessee … and we supposedly in the Pac-10 can't play with the SEC, even though we're 11-7 against them since 2000…but UCLA is a very good football team and they will have our attention."

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