Things looked promising in the first drive of the game. The Ducks were able to drive down the field and eventually kick a field goal for an early 3-0 lead.
Oregon would cross the 50-yard line just one more time.
A lack of a passing game led to a stalling offense and the defense could hold off the Huskies just for so long as No. 12 Washington defeated the Ducks 38-3 on a very wet night in Seattle.
The loss dropped Oregon to 5-5 overall and 2-5 in conference action. Despite the loss, the Ducks still have two chances to become bowl eligible and those both come in Autzen Stadium against Arizona and Oregon State.
Oregon will have a bye to prepare for those final homes games and for the Ducks’ sake, they better hope the extra week will be enough time for quarterback Justin Herbert to come back from a broken collarbone.
The 2017 season took a major detour when Herbert went down against Cal in late September and the Duck offense hasn’t been the same since.
Husky Stadium isn’t the best place for a true freshman opposing quarterback to flourish and Braxton Burmeister had his share of problems. Oregon’s signal caller was just 7-of-13 for 31 yards.
The lack of a passing game made an already aggressive Husky defense even more so. The Ducks managed just over 200 yards of total offense after their initial drive.
Oregon took the opening kickoff and kept Washington off balance, going 62 yards in 15 plays to took just over seven minutes off the clock. Aiden Schneider’s 30-yard field goal put the Ducks on the scoreboard.
They were able to get the ball back and threaten to score again, but Kani Benoit injured his ankle and fumbled on the Washington 16-yard line. That turnover turned out to be a major blow to the Duck effort. What might have been a 10-0 lead turned into a 3-3 tie and the Huskies never looked back.
Washington found the end zone for the first time when Dante Pettis returned a punt 64 yards for a touchdown and a 10-3 lead with 10:05 left until halftime.
Although the Oregon offense was going nowhere quickly, the defense did its best to hold Washington down as best as they could. But eventually Jake Browning and company broke through when tailback Myles Gaskin rumbled 34 yards and the score for a 17-3 lead.
That was the halftime score and considering the Huskies hung a 70 spot on this defense last season, giving up just 10 points was a huge win for the Duck defensive unit.
Unfortunately, Washington’s offense was hitting on all cylinders in the third quarter. They found the end zone three times to put the game away.
Browning was 11-of-19 for 204 yards and two touchdowns, while Gaskin rushed for 123 yards and one score. Oregon’s tailback, Royce Freeman, rushed for 122 tough yards.
The Ducks won’t play again until Nov. 18 when they host Arizona.
~ Don Smalley