Any questions, Huskies?
Even hiring a former Duck—Washington defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox—wasn't enough to help the Huskies stop the flock. Oregon put a major hurt on the Dawgs and won it going away 52-21 for their ninth straight victory in this Northwest rivalry.
Washington's last seven points were scored with 34 seconds remaining in the game and an emptied Oregon bench. If you are a purist, the score should have been 52-14; and if you like cliches, the proper one for this game is "Ducks take Huskies to the woodshed."
In the electrifying atmosphere of Autzen Stadium, the Huskies were never really in the game. It was as if Chip Kelly and the team had read the keys to the game earlier in the week and decided to follow them completely.
Oregon's offense shook off the lethargy of its past two games—if you can call wins of 49-0 and 51-26 lethargic—and showed the nation why they are ranked No. 2. A quick, impressive start had Oregon up 21-0 at the end of the first quarter. The Ducks were full throttle from the first series and never took their foot off Washington's throat.
Maybe Nick Saban doesn't like the spread offense, but the Duck faithful love it. While I'm on this subject, someone needs to tell Saban that he and his team are boring. Let's tack a measure on November's election ballot and ask the country if they would prefer to see Alabama or Oregon play in the National Championship Game.
I guarantee Oregon wins that election.
But back to Oregon vs. Washington. The Huskies came into Autzen ranked No. 23 in the AP poll. That ranking proved to be optimistic. How on earth this Washington team held Stanford to 13 points is beyond me. While the Huskies bottled up running back Stepfan Taylor in that game, Kenjon Barner ran circles around the Dawgs tonight, going over 100 yards rushing yet again.
While the Huskies have improved defensively from last year, both LSU and Oregon have not been fooled.
I'm tempted to point out that Oregon beat Washington more soundly than LSU did, but that seems like piling on, considering what happened to the Tigers today.
The Huskies simply could not stop Oregon's offensive weapons. Marcus Mariota had another very solid night quarterbacking the Ducks and was named the player of the game. Of course, life is good when you have running backs like Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas to hand off to, and receivers like Colt Lyerla, Josh Huff, Will Murphy, Bralon Addison and Keanon Lowe to catch your throws.
De'Anthony Thomas put to rest the creeping notion of the SI cover curse, getting a terrific TD and several energetic, entertaining runs.
Oregon's defense stopped Washington's anemic offense all night. The Ducks' front four and linebackers made life miserable for QB Keith Price, and they also made running back Bishop Sankey work for every inch he gained on the ground.
Kiko Alonso was all over the place, and if anyone in the NFL is paying attention, that kid should be a very high draft choice come April. Alonso would be the Duck that I would least like to run into in a dark alley, primarily because I think it's possible he is a little crazy.
Oregon cornerbacks Terrance Mitchell and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu are playing as well as any CB duo around. Youngster Issac Dixon also got into the CB mix on Saturday while safety Avery Patterson's pick-six had to make his mentor John Boyett proud.
Going into this game, Oregon's scoring average was 52.4 points per game. Tonight's effort will probably bring that all the way down to 52.3.
The Ducks are making this game look awfully easy. Balanced offensive power, coupled with a lean, mean defensive machine and great coaching make them the team to beat.
Night game? Autzen Stadium? Fuhgeddaboudit.