Huskies Insider Blog

Tale of the tape: Oregon 45, Washington 20

FROM EUGENE -- Let's get to our postgame tale of the tape for a capsulated look at Washington's 45-20 loss at Oregon on Saturday night.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME -- Either Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota, who completed 24-of-33 passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns, or freshman running back Royce Freeman, who gashed the Huskies time after time for 169 yards and four touchdowns on 29 carries. This wasn't quite as good as Mariota's performance at Husky Stadium a year ago, but it was plenty good enough to lead the Ducks to a comfortable victory.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME -- Kind of hard to justify picking a Huskies player due to the numbers they allowed, but Hau'oli Kikaha did post some pretty impressive statistics: 10 tackles, a game high, and 2.5 sacks, which puts him at 12.5 for the season. That leads the nation and is only two shy of the UW single-season record of 14.5, set by Jason Chorak in 1996. Kikaha is also only a half-sack away from Daniel Te'o-Nesheim's UW career record of 30. ... Ducks safety Erick Dargan gets consideration here for his interception -- the first off Cyler Miles this season -- and subsequent 15-yard return. Rodney Hardrick had eight tackles and two tackles for loss, and DeForest Buckner had 2.5 tackles for loss.

PLAY OF THE GAME -- There really wasn't a distinct turning point, though Miles' fumble in the fourth quarter was the play that totally, completely killed any thought of a UW comeback -- if any still existed by then, which is probably a stretch. Dargan's interception was also pretty crucial, as the Huskies did, in theory, have a chance to cut Oregon's lead to a single score before halftime with a quality drive. Instead, the Huskies were penalized for illegal substitution on first down from their own 20, and two plays later, Miles threw a pass right to Dargan. The Ducks quickly scored a touchdown to go ahead 28-6, and that was basically that.

STAT OF THE GAME -- Take your pick. But the number that jumped out most to me was Oregon's yards-per-attempt on passing plays: 10.2, compared to 4.8 for the Huskies. That probably best illustrates the difference in explosiveness between UW's offense and Oregon's.

QUOTABLE -- “Pretty disappointing. When you play an elite team like that, one side of the ball’s got to be able to step up a little bit, make something happen to give the other side a spark. And we get down in the red zone a couple times early, have to settle for field goals, that’s not going to be good. Can’t slow them down in the run game. If you can’t slow those guys down a little bit, it’s going to be a long, long evening, like it was.” -- Huskies coach Chris Petersen

WHAT IT MEANS -- Another blowout victory proved it yet again: Oregon is a better team than Washington. That's the short version. The long version was probably summarized best by Petersen after the game. He was asked what UW has to do to reach Oregon's level, and said, in part: "They’ve had it going for quite a long time. It’s not any one phase of their program. Their recruiting’s good, their weight program’s excellent. They know this offense and the defenses inside and out, and that’s what we’ve got to get to, eventually.” The troubling part for Huskies fans is that once again, on this night, at least, it doesn't appear as if UW is even close. This is 11 consecutive losses to Oregon now by 17 or more points, and this time, the Huskies couldn't even say they were in it in the fourth quarter. It was 28-6 at halftime and didn't even feel that close. That's the big-picture view. As it pertains to this season, Saturday's game was probably most concerning because of the way the Huskies failed to stop the run -- or run the ball themselves. Their leading rusher was sophomore receiver John Ross, who had 44 yards on two carries. No UW running back gained more than 28 yards. That won't cut it against anybody, but certainly not Oregon. Speaking of which -- Arizona State, another up-tempo, big-offense team, is on the schedule next week. Plenty to fix in the next six days.

UP NEXT -- Arizona State at Washington, 7:45 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25 (ESPN).

Christian Caple can be reached at christian.caple@thenewstribune.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple

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