Game Analysis - Oregon

Over the past 12 years, Washington has taken the field against Oregon 11 times and all 11 of those games have resulted in blowout wins for the Ducks. Saturday night was no different as UW's rivals to the south ran up 554 yards of offense and posted a 45-20 win over the Dawgs. Here's a closer look at what happened and some areas to focus on moving forward for the Dawgs...

Turning Point/Play of the Game: You could say any number of plays were back-breakers for the Washington’s confidence level – RB Royce Freeman running for a 37 yard touchdown on 3rd and 8, Oregon scoring two touchdowns on 4th and goal – but Oregon S Erick Dargan’s interception of Cyler Miles, the Husky QBs first of the season, couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time for the Dawgs. Down 21-6 with 2:36 remaining, the thought had to be “If we can score a touchdown before halftime and then get the opening kickoff of the second half, we still have a chance”, but Dargan’s pick off of an overthrow by Miles and his subsequent return to the Washington 23 killed pretty much all hope of a win for the Huskies as the Ducks punched it in shortly before the end of the half to go into the locker room with a 28-6 halftime lead.

Offensive Player of the Game: If he hadn’t turned the ball over twice, it probably would have been Cyler Miles, but his two turnovers – the pick by Dargan and a fumble while not being hit midway through the third quarter as the Huskies were driving – were killers. We can give Troy Williams a nod in his first extended playing time, but it’s hard to judge how effective he was considering Oregon was playing a soft zone and letting the underneath stuff get completed to keep the clock moving. The redshirt senior completed five of his 10 pass attempts for 37 yards, but he used his legs as a weapon when he rushed for a first down on 3rd and 4 and he also scored from seven yards out to cap the scoring for the Dawgs.

Defensive Player of the Game: Senior DE/LB Hauoli Kikaha continues to shine on defense. He really provided the only consistent pressure on the quarterback throughout the evening and finished with 2.5 sacks while also notching 10 tackles (six solo) and 2.5 tackles-for-loss.

Handouts to the standouts: Starting RB Dwayne Washington was lost to a rib injury midway through the first quarter, so we saw a lot more of senior RB Deontae Cooper and, while he wasn’t explosive, still had a solid multi-purpose night, rushing for 23 on five carries and showing good hands out of the backfield, hauling in six receptions for 48 yards; John Ross had one of the most explosive plays of the game, taking an end-around and scampering 32 yards to the Oregon 12, setting up Washington’s first touchdown of the night in the third quarter; freshman S Budda Baker was all over the place, posting nine tackles (seven solo); DT Danny Shelton looked worn out at the end of the game, but he played his heart out, posting eight tackles (five solo) , half a sack and 2.5 tackles-for-loss.

Stat of the game: Oregon went three of four on fourth down including two that resulted in short touchdowns. Washington also lost the turnover battle for the first time this season, losing two (one interceptions, one fumble) while getting none from Oregon.

Needs work: The running game continues to be anemic when the Huskies need it most. Washington finished with 133 on the night, but they couldn’t run the ball until the game was already out of hand, totaling just 33 midway yards through the third quarter. Keeping the ball out of Marcus Mariota’s hands would have really helped the defense, which wore down late in the second quarter, but because the Huskies couldn’t run the ball, they gave up the time of possession battle and thus the game.

Bottom line: Let’s face it – Oregon is just a better program. They have more speed, more talent and they just know how to win. Washington is improving and I don’t believe the score was indicative of the gap between the two programs, but you can’t argue with the fact that the Ducks know how to grind a team into the ground and take their heart out of it, while the Huskies just do not have it within them, at least not yet, to push through the adversity and beat their rivals to the south. Luckily for the Huskies, they have yet another opportunity to lick their wounds and return to the warm and friendly confines of Husky Stadium next week and they still have a great shot to finish strong with the up and down natures of the programs in the conference. Things will get better, but in 2014, the Huskies just aren’t good enough yet to play with the big boys like Oregon.




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