This was the chance. This is when the Huskies were supposed to finally end the streak. No poetic way to put that. No depressed writer prose. This ain't fun. Losing is never fun. We just keep getting kicked. Even with the webbed toes, the Duck feet really dig deep.
Yeah, let's just get to the rundown.
Vernon Adams allayed any concerns about his injured finger with his first pass attempt of the game, and with his second. He eluded pressure and when it looked like he was about to take go down, escaped to his right and bombed it deep over the head of Sidney Jones, on both plays. The Huskies were able to stuff the run on first and second down twice, but the throws over Jones' head overwrote any hard work done by the front seven. 6-0 Oregon after a failed open-gate two-point conversion.
The opening drive the for the Dawgs featured Myles Gaskin and Dante Pettis. Pettis was targeted on each of Jake Browning's three passes more than a yard behind the line of scrimmage, catching two, each for first downs. Gaskin ran the ball three times and also caught a screen for five yards. Instead of relying on the offense to get one yard, the Huskies had Jake Browning pooch punt from the Oregon 39 for 22 yards of field position.
Each team followed on subsequent drives with a few first downs and punts until Washington hit a wall with a three-and out on its second drive of the second quarter. The Washington defense, not to be outdone by its own offense, left the field after three plays.
Stepping further into ineptitude with the ball in its possession, Washington made several good plays in the string of not moving the football, but most of the time they were wiped out by holding penalties. One on Joshua Perkins, one on Trey Adams and another on personal protector Jeff Lindquist, not quarterback Jeff Lindquist. One of the good plays was a punt, admittedly, but it was still yet another good play that was roped off by yellow flags.
Eventually, the guys in green broke through. Needing only 48 yards for a score, the Ducks made it into the end zone. Adams continued to show his mobility on passing plays while the Oregon run game continued to churn positive gains. The run defense wasn't having issues. The pass defense... wasn't really having issues either. The issue was getting Vernon Adams to the ground while also fighting offensive linemen with their fists full of jersey.
Washington was able to get on the scoreboard on their ensuing drive with a field goal that could have been so much more - four points to be exact. Deontae Cooper was filling in as the passing back with Dwayne Washington injured and found himself with a step on his defender with a wheel route. Instead of hauling the pass in, it clanged off his hands and out of the end zone. Lindquist atoned for his hold with another hold, though this time it was good! He was able to snag an errant long snap and set it for Cameron Van Winkle, who added three points to the Huskies' total.
But, then, Oregon matched it with Vernon Adams using the 1:10 and two timeouts remaining to bring the Ducks into field goal range and the half was over with the Dawgs trailing 16-3.
UW opened the second half with a drive that doubled their point total, another field goal. This one was on the shoulder and legs of Browning, who did his best
Russell Wilson Vernon Adams impersonation by moving around the pocket and escaping to make throws on the run. Two sacks that were the result of an over-matched line killed the drive in the red zone and then out of it, but Van Winkle hit a 46-yard field goal and the Huskies scored less points than Oregon did on its next offensive series.
This game was all about Vernon Adams, just like it was the last time he stepped foot in Husky Stadium. He avoided pressure in the pocket, slid away from arm tackles and launched the ball from every which angle. He methodically took the Ducks to Washington's end zone, and essentially scored two touchdowns in the right corner of the end zone when one was wiped out due to an ineligible man downfield.
Another swap of punts and the Huskies had their most productive offensive play of the night. Gaskin took a handoff and was untouched 64 yards later when he was in surrounded by purple turf and basking in the glow of six points, seven after the leather ball flew through the yellow poles. Tristan Vizcaino prevented Bralon Addison from returning the favor on the ensuing kickoff return.
Starting at the UW 14, the Ducks were able to make it backwards five yards and then the kicker was able to slice the kick five yards sideways. The Washington red zone defense has been incredible all season long and it was again flexing its muscles with that
drive reverse. The Huskies weren't able to get any points on its next possession when Jaydon Mickens was the victim of what might have been an uncalled pass interference penalty if Azeem Victor or Brian Clay was the one doing the interfering.
Calves cramping, Adams struggled to hit his receivers but was still able to hand the ball to Royce Freeman and throw the ball in such a way to get a Husky ejected for targeting the opponent's stomach and arm. Adams lofted a pass into the middle of the Husky defense and Clay buried the crown of his helmet into Darren Carrington, by rule a personal foul and by rule an ejection for two halves. Again, the red zone defense bowed its neck.
The Huskies scored on their next possession slowly and there is a Dot about that whole series so keep reading!
One Royce Freeman first down and a questionable call to pass it by Oregon led to a last chance for a Browning-less Husky offense. The freshman quarterback injured his shoulder on the previous drive and wasn't available to sling the ball around the field. Instead, it was K.J. Carta-Samuels. He completed two passes and ran for a first down, but a miscommunication on his first attempt at a deep pass turned into an interception, and the game.
Three short Dots for three quick shots.
- Sidney Jones learned a big lesson today. He learned not to givae up on a play even if time dictates that the whistle should be blown. On the first drive he was burned after Adams escaped the pocket and found a receiver that Jones had either forgotten about or thought wouldn't be a factor in the play any more. Twice it happened, and it directly led to six points.
- The offense is just not good. The line is young and the trenches is the most difficult place for a young player to make an impact just due to the sheer amount of effect physical development has. An 18-year-old kid is going to struggle against a 22-year-old manchild almost every single time. DeForest Buckner reminded everybody of that by setting up an entire campsite and taking a nap behind the line of scrimmage.
- Washington's second to final possession of the game was successful, in the basic sense that a drive's intention is to put seven or eight points on the board. The method behind the madness was madness, with Jonathan Smith not pushing any type of urgency on his players. Chris Petersen pleaded his case with Smith for the Huskies to not need to use a timeout in a normal hurry-up situation but Smith wasn't having any of it. In a time when every second is valuable, every timeout worth even more, the use of that timeout is inexcusable, even more inexcusable than having to use a timeout because a player doesn't know he needs to run out on the punt team. This isn't the reason the Huskies lost but was a contributing factor, and a perplexing one at that.