The Washington Huskies lost their 10th straight game to the Oregon Ducks, 45-24 Saturday afternoon. It didn’t feel like a 21-point blowout, however.
The Huskies kept it close through much of the game, even into the fourth quarter – it was the first fourth quarter that Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota played in this season. There were too many missed opportunities for the Huskies to win, but it was far from a blowout.
Through the first quarter, the Huskies looked like the better team. They were driving with relative ease offensively and were able to stop Oregon, getting a few key third down stops. The tides turned in the second quarter, when the Huskies were outscored, 14-0.
They once again made the game close in the third quarter, bringing the deficit to within seven, 31-24. But another 14-0 quarter in favor of the Ducks sealed the game for Oregon.
When Washington was able to run its offense like normal, it was driving the ball against one of the best defenses in the nation. Despite only running 74 plays – a number that was far too low for head coach Steve Sarkisian’s liking – the Huskies put up 24 points and 376 yards. Those aren’t great for Washington’s standards, but are vastly superior to anything any other team has put up against Oregon this season.
When the Huskies had to abandon the run game in the fourth quarter is when they began to struggle on offense. Oregon’s elite secondary was able to key in on Keith Price’s throws and shut down Washington’s wide receivers. That, in addition to attempting too many deep passes, did the Huskies in in the fourth quarter.
Washington has come out of the locker room firing in the second half in virtually every game this season, but it didn’t make the necessary adjustments to stop Oregon’s attack in the second half. The Huskies outscored the Ducks, 17-10 in the third quarter, but when they needed to get off the field defensively, they weren’t able to get a stop.
A loss is a loss, no matter the score. Sure, it would have been a nice moral victory for the Huskies to have kept the score close or beat the spread, but the Huskies are still 4-2, and the Ducks are 6-0. Oregon clearly still owns the last decade or so, but this game should put faith in the Huskies that their time is coming. This seemed like the year to me – I picked Washington to win, 38-31 – but I was apparently a little early.
The score indicates a Ducks domination, but it was far from that. There were a lot of bright spots in Saturday’s game that should instill confidence in the team the rest of the way.