For the first time this season, Washington held a team scoreless in the first quarter, as the Oregon offense stalled and sputtered in their attempt to climb out of a Huskies 3-0 lead. Fortunately for the Ducks, momentum shifted drastically in the second stanza as a blocked punt by Rory Cavaille and the subsequent recovery by Tyrell Irvin in the Husky endzone resulted in an Oregon touchdown, giving the Ducks the spark they needed in their rout of the Huskies on Saturday.
"I saw the snap, got a good get-off," said Cavaille of his blocked punt, "I thought the gap was close so I turned my shoulder and it opened right up. I saw the ball right there, put my hand up, and good things happened."
Good things certainly did happen, as the blocked punt triggered a feeding frenzy of sorts for the Ducks, who dominated the Huskies in all aspects of the game from that moment forward. Offensively, Oregon appeared to play more at ease, establishing a fast tempo that was paced by a lightning quick ground attack and timely downfield completions to receivers and tight ends. Junior quarterback Jeremiah Masoli started the game for Oregon and looked as sharp as he did before going down with a knee injury that sidelined him for the Ducks' game at UCLA.
"I think as the game went along he gained total confidence," said Oregon offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich of Masoli's play today, "and I'm very proud of him for gutting through it."
Masoli finished 14 of 22 for 157 yards and one touchdown, while adding 54 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Assisting Masoli once again was the exemplary play of LaMichael James, who chipped in 156 yards rushing and two touchdowns, including a brilliant 56 yard touchdown run that would seal the game for good.
"I'm just trying to play hard for my teammates," said James of his performance, "I didn't want to leave here and watch film Monday and be like, ‘I could have done this or I could have done that.' That's how I feel sometimes. This week I wanted to go out and give 100 percent."
The Oregon defense continued its impressive play this season, bottling up Washington quarterback Jake Locker, who threw for 266 yards on 23 of 44 passing. Though he managed to throw a touchdown, the Duck defense put the hurt on Locker, who was also responsible for two interceptions and was sacked four times by a relentless and speedy Oregon defensive unit.
"I think it was our scheme," said Oregon safety T.J. Ward of the defense's effort against Locker, "We're putting pressure on him with our blitzes and things…he couldn't run. It was either throw it, or get sacked and that (the latter) was a good option."
The Ducks also got tremendous play from true freshman cornerback, Cliff Harris, who came up with his first career interception in extended play after Talmadge Jackson went down with an injury. As Harris describes, the interception wasn't necessarily a product of the coverage called.
"That wasn't my play to make," said Harris, "That was just off instinct. My man ran a little stop route…my guy came off the line non-chalant and then I don't know. I was playing both routes kind of, where, if he threw it, I could make the tackle on my man but I was really playing the deep ball and my luck just kind of came through."
Looking forward, the Ducks face a titanic match-up with the USC Trojans next weekend at Autzen Stadium, where Oregon can expect the national spotlight to be shining brightly on them on Halloween night. However, as per usual, the Ducks aren't about to get too far ahead of themselves.
"We won't talk about (USC) for 24 hours," said Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, "I didn't say a word in the locker room about it. They have 24 hours to enjoy a win and 24 hours to feel really bad about themselves and that's it. Then you've got to flip the switch and get ready to go back to work. We'll start thinking about them Monday morning at 6:45."
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