EUGENE, Ore. -- Washington came to Eugene aware of the Ducks’ fancy facilities, the noise at Autzen Stadium and the spiffy uniforms which are a weekly topic when second-ranked Oregon plays.
Those were all worthy points of discussion after the end of the first quarter, because, just like that, the game was no longer a contest.
Oregon zoomed to 21-0 first-quarter and 35-7 halftime leads thanks to three first-half Washington turnovers and superior team speed on its way to steamrolling the Huskies, 52-21, on Saturday in front of 58,792 at Autzen Stadium.
The sliver of purple-clad Huskies fans among thousands in yellow saw a loss that kept an extended theme going for Washington: it hasn’t beaten Oregon in nine years.
It countered a recent theme: Under coach Steve Sarkisian, Washington (3-2, 1-1) kept the previous three games close against the Ducks (6-0, 3-0) heading into halftime.
Washington punt returner Marvin Hall helped get Oregon going. He stepped to his left while trying to catch a punt under pressure in the first quarter.
The ball hit Hall in the hands and went to the ground where Oregon recovered at the Washington 20-yard line. Two plays later, nimble De’Anthony Thomas cut inside flailing linebacker John Timu, then juked past safety Will Shamburger for the 16-yard touchdown with 7 minutes, 28 seconds to go in the first quarter.
That was just the start. Oregon shifted into high gear when it went 80 yards in just four plays in 1:03. A 48-yard play-action completion to Colt Lyerla over the middle set up a 21-yard touchdown pass to Keanon Lowe from Marcus Mariota when cornerback Tre Watson was out of position, leaving Lowe alone in the end zone, putting Oregon up, 14-0.
On Washington’s next possession, Price threw toward DiAndre Campbell, but Oregon free safety Avery Patterson jumped the route and snagged Price’s pass in stride. Price threw his hands up as Patterson sprinted to the end zone for a 43-yard touchdown and a brisk 21-0 Oregon lead with 2:42 left in the first quarter.
Washington settled down to answer with a 1-yard touchdown from Bishop Sankey at 14:27 of the second quarter, cutting the Oregon lead to 21-7. Washington went 73 yards, mostly on the back of Sankey, to try to slow Oregon’s runaway. Sankey finished with 25 carries, 104 yards and two touchdowns. It was his third consecutive game rushing for more than 100 yards.
The positive feeling was short-lived. Mariota scrambled to his right, pump faked, then danced around defensive end Josh Shirley, leaving him sprawled on the turf. Free of pressure, Mariota threw to Lyerla for a 10-yard touchdown and a 28-7 Oregon lead with 10:46 remaining in the half. Lyerla’s touchdown was his ninth TD on 29 career touches. He later caught another touchdown to open the fourth quarter and put Oregon in front 44-14.
Josh Huff stiff-armed Desmond Trufant off him for a 34-yard touchdown catch and run to vault Oregon up 35-7 with 8:04 left in the second quarter. Oregon went 64 yards in 50 seconds on that drive, almost a yard per second, making Washington pay after Price fumbled on a scramble that would have been a first down at the Oregon 34-yard line.
Price, trying to survive behind a young offensive line, was not in sync again Saturday. He has five touchdown passes and four interceptions this year. His fourth happened after Campbell had a pass go through his hands, hit him in the helmet and pop into the air on second-and-goal with 7:31 left in the half for Washington’s fifth turnover of the night.
There was little solace when Erich Wilson II scored a 1-yard touchdown run with 32 seconds remaining.
Shaq Thompson’s first career interception stopped Oregon’s first drive. Mariota threw over the middle and it was batted in the air before Thompson dived to make the pick at the Washington 35-yard line. The Huskies gained only one first down following the turnover, however.
How bad did it get? Washington ran a fake punt on fourth-and-2 with 12:31 left in the fourth quarter from its own 35-yard line. The direct snap to Pio Vatuvei worked when he ran into the middle of the line, progressing far enough for a first down. But, the ball was stripped during the process and Oregon’s Byron Marshall, who isn’t even listed on Oregon’s two-deep roster, scored three plays later to put Oregon in front 52-14. Marshall was the sixth different Oregon player to score.
The shellacking caused Washington take a large step back after taking a big one forward against Stanford. Next week is no relief when 13th-ranked USC comes to Seattle.