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Ducks Whip Huskies: Instant Reaction

10 in a row.

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The Huskies put up as much a fight as they have in the past 10 years, but the scoreboard didn't reflect it as they Huskies fell to the Ducks by a deflating 21 point margin, 45-24.  It was the 10th straight defeat of UW by Oregon.  The Huskies, who never led in this game and, in fact, haven't held a lead since in any game with against the Ducks since 2009, went into the fourth quarter of this game only trailing by 7 games.  But the Ducks demonstrated that they do, in fact, have the resolve to "finish" and put a tough opponent away as they dominated both sides of the ball in the fourth quarter en route to victory.

Some Dots:

  • The ESPN College Gameday experience was an absolute home run.  The crowd in front of Suzzallo was rowdy, respectful, well-signed and decked in purple.  Yes, "old Crimson" flew (under Police escort) and there was one irritating Oregon fan signing the "vagina" hand signal.  Otherwise, it was a great success for the university and our fans.  I'm guessing there will be a return visit (Stanford 2014?  Just sayin'...).

  • Marcus Mariota was the best player on the field and probably won the Heisman with his performance tonight.  His numbers were fantastic as he racked up over 400 yards of total offense.  Beyond that, he just kept making the right plays, over and over.  He showed a quick release, a strong enough arm and elite play-making ability when the pocket broke down (which wasn't very often). 

  • The next best player on the field was Bishop Sankey who put up over 200 yards of total offense and two TD of his own was a beast again.  Bishop has now faced the two best defenses in the Pac 12 - and I mean by a LARGE margin - and demonstrated that he is without a doubt the best RB in the conference.

  • The Ducks secondary was outstanding tonight.  Keith Price had several plays develop where he had more than enough time to make a play.  The Ducks elected to cover everybody and limit their blitzing.  In doing so, they dared Keith to make plays with his legs.  He just wasn't up to the task.  I wonder if the Ducks will be able to employ that strategy against Cyler Miles next year.

  • The Huskies showed today that they belong in the upper echelon of the conference, but that they aren't close to competing with Oregon.  To close the gap, the Huskies are going to need a more competent offensive line, a better "tools" QB, and a D-line that can win their one on ones at least half the time against an upper tier opponent. 

  • The Husky LBs were pretty good tonight.  However, the secondary was burned over and over.  I'll be curious what the tape looks like because it wasn't like the Duck receivers were winning 1:1 battles to pad Mariota's stats.  The Duck receivers were routinely finding wide open spaces without having to break coverages or run screens.  Clearly the Huskies were playing the run first, but the number of plays that resulted in wide open receivers tells me that there were likely scheme issues.  We needed a big day from Justin Wilcox and we didn't get it today.

  • Bralon Addison was a beast today.  He absolutely killed us.
  • I'll give a shout out to Austin Seferian-Jenkins.  He made some big plays today.  I'm starting to get the mindset that his humble numbers to date may be more on KP than on ASJ.

  • Unlike the Stanford game where there is little disagreement that the Huskies outplayed their foe, they were never "the better team" in this match-up.  The Huskies held serve in both the 1st and 3rd quarters but got killed in the 2nd and 4th.  If this were a boxing match, I don't think you could say that the Dawgs won any of the quarters, but they sure did lose big chunks of ground in two of them.

  • John Timu should get some credit for a huge game.  He played gritty in the face of a ton of pressure.

  • Tre Watson got a lot of run today.  Not sure why.  Maybe I missed an injury or something.

  • Duck fans may brag about the score, but I think they know that they got all that they could handle.  They should feel good about how well their QB performed when the game was still in question.

  • We need to discuss the Husky offensive line.  While this unit is definitely serviceable - which is a huge upgrade over last year - it is frustrating to see how much pressure Keith Price was under with just three and four men rushing.  Pass protection is a glaring weakness of this unit and is hindering our ability to develop a down field passing game.

  • The Husky Special Teams are hot garbage right now.  Anthony and I had a little Twitter debate about the nature of the problem.  AC noted that the presence of the starters with no appreciable improvement means it must be a coaching problem.  I'm more concerned that our kickoffs - which are both short AND low - are not giving our coverage units a fair chance to get a bubble around the returner.  Either way, there is little doubt that we will be burned times over against inferior competition if we can't find a solution.  Unfortunately, if it really is a kicker issue, I don't see any easy solutions.

  • Finally, the refs.  The Pac 12 should be absolutely embarrassed about the horrible performance of the refs in this game - in particular in how badly they officiated (or missed calls) against the Huskies.  This is not to say that the Ducks weren't clearly better - they were - but the Dawgs aren't good enough to beat Oregon without at least a fair playing field with the zebras.  Instead, they had to play the refs in addition to the #2 in the nation Ducks.  The big "whiffs":  the Duck fumble at the goal line should have been a touchback, the ridiculous miss of KP's horse-collar which would have extended a red-zone drive, a "I'm bigger than my guy so I must be" holding call on ASJ, and the inexplicable illegal block called on Jamaal Kearse that came when the Ducks were kicking from deep.



    I'm sure I'll get flagged for sour grapes here, but it isn't like I'm the only guy making these observations.

Washington has now completed their mini-gauntlet against two top-5 teams having lost both games by a total of four TDs.  I think Husky Fans can take some solace in the fact that the Huskies played both of these games straight up.  While Oregon showed us how much of a gap remains, I didn't come away from this one thinking that we were physically overmatched or concerned that we won't be able to compete at a high level against every other team left on our schedule.  This still feels like a different team than last year and we go into the second half of our schedule healthy and well-positioned for a big run.  While the Rose Bowl is now far out of reach, there is a lot left to go get out there ... including the opportunity for a 10 win season.  I hope the Husky players see the same thing.