A snap that sailed over the head and into the back of the end zone when Washington elected to punt the ball while down 24-16 with just over 2 minutes left helped paint the picture of their current state as they fell 26-16 to the #4 Oregon Ducks on Saturday night.
Throughout the night, there were upset-sized opportunities that came knocking on the door of the Huskies’ offense time and time again but they never answered the door which resonated tiresome groans throughout Husky Stadium.
The rivalry between these two teams, which once dominated by UW, then was dominated by UO has reached a point where the two teams have produced fireworks in their last two meetings. Saturday’s meeting didn’t have those fireworks, but it was another clash between the pacific northwest foes that ended with Oregon taking their third straight win in the matchup.
While Husky Stadium wasn’t as packed as it usually is for this meeting, it was all the bit lively when Carson Bruener picked off Oregon quarterback Anthony Brown and raced 50 yards down the sideline to the six-yard-line where UW running back Sean McGrew needed just two attempts to score the games opening touchdown and put Washington up 7-0.
The Ducks were able to answer on the following possession by drilling a 46-yard field goal to trim that lead to 7-3, then after the Husky offense stalled - Porter sent a punt to Oregon’s 1-yard line and UW’s defense finished the job by swallowing the Ducks in the end-zone for a safety; giving them a 9-3 lead.
At this point, the crowd was rocking while the Husky defense was playing some of their best football all year but disaster struck when quarterback Dylan Morris forced a pass into triple coverage which was plucked out of the air by Oregon. It felt as if there was a momentum shift but the UW defense was able to force a punt and then things began to fully shift away from the Dawgs’ control.
On 4th and 1 on the next Husky drive, McGrew was bottled up by the Ducks who then went 76 yards on 7 plays and found the end-zone to take a 10-9 lead. That score would be the final of the half and while it wasn’t pretty, UW was sitting within striking distance.
The Husky offense came out and locker room stale which forced them to punt the ball away and Oregon was able to capitalize on that by driving 70 yards and finishing with a touchdown to gift them with a 17-9 lead.
Both defenses began to make an impact and set the tone for the third quarter until the Ducks were able to return a punt into UW territory towards the end of the period and punched it a touchdown on two plays to put them up 24-9.
With desperation mode sinking in, Washington’s offense came alive and took the ball 75 yards down the field in 11 plays where McGrew capped it off with a 2-yard touchdown to trim the lead down to 24-16 and put themselves back within striking distance.
The following Oregon drive took 8:59 off the clock, picked up just 43 yards in 15 plays but eventually stalled which gave the Huskies’ a shot of a lifetime. But a drive that began with 2:09 left finished with 1:57 still sitting on the clock after a three-and-out that failed to pick up a single yard. UW elected to punt the ball with hopes that a miracle would happen but instead, the snap sailed over Porter’s head and gave the Ducks a game-sealing 26-16 lead.
The Huskies’ offense again faltered as Morris went 15/27 and threw for 111 yards and an interception while McGrew only picked up 48 yards on 15 carries but had the two scores. In total, Washington totaled 166 total yards on the night.
The defense played inspired but eventually, Oregon’s rushing attack began to wear them down, they only allowed 98 yards through the air and had the interception but gave up 329 yards on the ground.
The Huskies are now 4-5 and will look to right the ship against Arizona State on Saturday, Nov. 13 at Husky Stadium.