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#8 Oregon Takes Care of Business Against Washington
Posted By Rob Parness On Nov 7 2011 @ 1:21 am In Oregon | No Comments
Alright Oregon fans, you can officially start thinking about Stanford.
After the #8 Ducks (8-1, 6-0) took down the rival Washington Huskies (6-3, 4-2) 34-17 Saturday night, Oregon has set the stage for the most anticipated game in Pac-12 history.
Since Stanford was on the immediate horizon for the Ducks, many believed that the game in Seattle on Saturday would be a trap game and dash Oregon’s bid at a third straight conference title.
The Huskies did all of the right things coming into the game to set up the monumental upset over their heated rival. The game was the final contest in Husky Stadium before a $250 million renovation. They also honored their 1991 co-national champion football team before the game in front of the sold out crowd. The fans were loud and ready to roll come kickoff.
However, Oregon never appeared to waver under the hostile conditions and held a lead for the entire game.
Oregon safety Eddie Pleasant intercepted Washington quarterback Keith Price twice in the first half, each leading to a touchdown for the Ducks.
Playing from behind, the Huskies did not have enough offensive firepower to pull off the upset.
Price had a rough night in the Husky backfield. In addition to the pair of turnovers, he was sacked a total of 6 times by an aggressive Oregon defensive front. Price, who entered the game among the nation’s best in touchdown passes with 23, was held to just 143 yards passing and 2 scores.
Stopping Price was not the only impressive undertaking by the Ducks defense. They held Washington running back Chris Polk to just 88 yards on the ground and did not allow him to score. Polk entered the game averaging over 127 yards per game.
Oregon has received criticism on the defensive side of the ball because they have been allowing nearly 400 yards per game this season. However, when they needed to step up to give their offense a chance to seal the game they performed.
The Ducks allowed only 278 yards on Saturday night, the Huskies’ lowest offensive output since week 1 against Eastern Washington. The 17 points Washington scored was a season low.
Though the Oregon defense was impressive on Saturday night, the explosive capabilities of the Ducks offense was on display as well.
Running back LaMichael James returned to form in a big way by rushing for 156 yards and a touchdown. James was an emotional catalyst for Oregon all night, showing the nation he is healed from the dislocated elbow he suffered October 6th.
Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas had something to prove as well. Just one week after being benched at halftime against Washington State, Thomas wanted to show why he is the starter on a team that played for a national championship just a season ago.
Thomas did not have to do much in the game but performed solidly by throwing for 169 yards and a touchdown to tight end David Paulson.
Oregon did not put up the statistics they are used to, but it should be noted they had the ball for only 7 minutes in the first half. They finished the game with 381 yards of total offense and the 4 touchdowns scored were by 4 different Duck players.
The balance, defensive aggressiveness and ability to control the ball could prove pivotal for Oregon next week against #4 Stanford.
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