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Huskies Fail in Fourth Quarter; Fall to Oregon 35-31

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The chance at a North division title ends in a brutal defeat

NCAA Football: Oregon at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

As Puka Nacua fell (and/or was interfered with) to the turf with under a minute left the Huskies saw their season goals falling with him. The ball zoomed over his head on 4th and 3 and Oregon held on to sink the Huskies by a final of 35-31 behind a collapse from the UW run defense.

Oregon marched down the field on their first drive of the game and it appeared that the Dawgs were in for a long day. But Justin Herbert looked off and short hopped a number of throws as the Dawg defense got 4 stops in a row.

Meanwhile, Jacob Eason and Salvon Ahmed looked dynamic against an Oregon defense that had given up just 25 points in their last 5 games combined. Ahmed was able to take an option pitch from Eason for a 9 yard score to tie the game at 7’s on a grind it out 13 play 52 yard drive. Eason later found Jordan Chin streaking open deep and hit him in stride for a 48 yard score to put Washington up 14-7.

The Ducks were able to answer though and converted on an 8 play 69 yard drive to tie the game up with 3 minutes left in the half. Washington’s offense hasn’t been able to capitalize in 2 minute drill situations this year but they moved the ball as a 27 yard completion to Hunter Bryant set up an Andre Baccellia score on a quick screen to take a 21-14 lead into the break.

Coming out from halftime the Dawgs offense continued to be on fire and in just 4 plays they added on to the lead after Puka Nacua beat his man on a quick throw for 33 yards and a 28-14 lead.

Unfortunately, the Washington defense could never seem to get off the field from that point on. Oregon ran the ball down the Huskies’ throats and the repeated gashing allowed the Ducks to score easily.

Washington got into the red zone but were forced to kick a field goal and bring the lead back to double digits at 31-21. Oregon knew their defense was tired and went ultra aggressive on the next drive as they completed a 4th and 1 on their own 34 and then got a 36 yard TD on 4th and 3 to close the gap to a field goal.

3 consecutive punts (the first 3 of the second half) kept the game in a state of extreme discomfort for both fan bases as the Huskies clung to a 3 point lead. Unfortunately, Oregon broke out of the offensive stupor first and ran 5 times for 40 yards on the next drive to take the lead at 35-31.

The Dawgs had every chance to score the go ahead TD and after a 22 yard completion to Cade Otton on the first play of the drive they took their time to try to score without giving Oregon time to mount a comeback against a defense short on stops. However, Eason took his first sack of the game in Oregon territory and Marquis Spiker’s first catch went for 20 yards to set up the manageable 4th and 3. The refs called a combined 0 penalties in the secondary all game and they kept up the let them play attitude to Washington’s detriment and Oregon was able to run out the clock.

The loss all but clinches a Pac-12 North division title for the Ducks and that it happened in Husky Stadium makes the loss all the more painful. Washington is officially severely beat up on offense and they finally get a bye week before hosting the Utes in 2 weeks.

Bonus Dots

  • As mentioned above, Sean McGrew joined Richard Newton as running backs out due to injury and Aaron Fuller also received 0 offensive snaps after getting banged up during the week. Add to that Chico McClatcher who left in the 2nd half and was in a walking boot after the game. That makes 4 out of the 6 Husky leaders in touches who were unable to finish the game.
  • Washington was one of just 2 power conference teams in the country to start the season with 8 consecutive games. That plus the extra 1.5 days of rest that Oregon received are not going to make Husky fans feel warm and friendly towards the Pac-12 schedulers.
  • Jacob Eason and Salvon Ahmed both played phenomenal games. Eason finished averaging nearly 10 yards per attempt on a defense that hadn’t allowed any previous QB more than 6 and Ahmed averaged nearly 6 yards per carry as the only piece left in the Washington 3-headed monster.
  • The cacophony of criticism towards Bush Hamdan will only increase after the Huskies ran the wildcat for Kamari Pleasant and Malik Braxton on a crucial 3rd and 2 in the 4th quarter which lost 2 yards. Pleasant ran the ball 6 times for 8 yards. Excluding the snap that went over Eason’s head the rest of the game Washington averaged nearly 7 yards per play.
  • The UW run defense was just as bad as advertised. Oregon ran the ball down the Huskies’ throats in the second half and they appeared powerless to stop it. The Ducks have a very good offensive line but there was absolutely no penetration caused by the Washington front 7. Justin Herbert was never sacked and rarely pressured. Only his fits of inaccuracy allowed the Dawgs to get any stops at all. It all contributed to the end of Washington’s streak giving up 30 or fewer points.
  • The questioning of the refs got off to a rough start when Washington’s trick special teams play was called for unsportsmanlike conduct on a play that has been run legally before.