When the Oregon Ducks’ electric offense met the Washington Huskies’ aggressive defense, Oregon was clearly winner after two quarters of play. The No. 9 Ducks lead the Huskies 28-6 at halftime.
Washington was thought to have an advantage with its defensive line against Oregon’s patchwork offensive line. The Huskies entered Saturday’s game in Autzen Stadium tied as the nation’s second most prolific team in sacks. However, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota hasn’t been harassed, because the Ducks have been able to establish the run which set up a strong passing effort.
While it’s been a struggle at points this season for the Ducks’ offense, it hasn’t been Saturday. Oregon already accumulated a whopping 380 total yards.
The Ducks were particularly effective running the ball despite Washington’s stout defensive front. Freshman Royce Freeman and junior Byron Marshall combined for 111 rushing yards on only 18 carries. Freeman took full advantage of his opportunities with three first-half touchdowns.
A strong running game allowed Mariota to get comfortable in the pocket. The junior quarterback is 16-of-23 passing for 239 yards and a touchdown.
On the flip side, the Huskies struggled to move the ball, while Oregon’s defense stood tall.
Washington’s sophomore quarterback, Cyler Miles, was 12-of-19 passing for only 98 yards. The young signal-caller also made a poor mistake throwing a pass into coverage over the middle of the field, which eventually resulted in another touchdown by the Ducks.
The Huskies also found Oregon’s defense difficult to run against. The Ducks only allowed 27 rushing yards in the first half. Washington’s leading rusher is actually sophomore wide receiver John Ross, who had one carry for 12 yards.
As the second half approaches, Washington needs its defense to step up and make a few plays. The unit disappointed through two quarters and allowed Oregon to do too much on offense. If the Huskies can make the Ducks one-dimensional, Washington could mount a second-half comeback (although, it’s unlikely).