Washington vs. Oregon: Postgame Grades from the Ducks' Win vs. the Huskies
The Oregon Ducks invited the Washington Huskies into Autzen for a friendly game of keep-away in Week 6.
The Ducks generously allowed the Huskies to have the ball for roughly 25 of the 60 minutes, and even let them into the end zone a couple of times.
The Ducks also took advantage of Alabama's bye week by making sure they performed with excellence in almost every aspect of the game.
While the Ducks have some issues with consistency and performance, the final score certainly didn't show it.
Take a look at the 10 components of the Ducks' win over the Huskies and see how they did on the Week 6 report card.
Feel free to offer your opinions on the grades in the comment section.
*Statistics from ESPN.com
Quarterback Grade: A
Marcus Mariota picked the Washington defense apart after a slow first-quarter performance. He went 15/24 for 198 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. That interception was more great defense than it was poor quarterbacking, so don't freak out at all if you're a Ducks fan.
Mariota looked cool and calm with the football, not at all like a freshman quarterback who was playing backyard football for a high school last time he was in action.
Mariota is a special talent, and Oregon fans should already be elated that he can't declare for the draft until the end of the 2014 season.
Running Backs Grade: A
While there were issues moving the ball at times, it was mostly the offensive line's fault, not the tailbacks'. Kenjon Barner, De'Anthony Thomas and Byron Marshall all had eight or more attempts on their way to six-plus yards per carry, and that is ridiculously good.
Barner led the team with 122 yards, but Thomas and Marshall were the only backs with touchdowns.
This set of running backs may be the best in the country, especially with Alabama's unit losing depth due to injuries over the weeks.
Overall Grade: A
The wideouts were doing Mariota favors all game. Granted, it's their job to go get open for completions, but five different guys with the “WR” tag caught passes from Mariota in the 31-point mauling of the Huskies.
Mariota did a great job hitting them, but they did an awesome job of giving him reasons to do so.
Oregon threw down 497 yards of total offense, and 115 of those came from the receivers. (71 yards came from a tight end and another 12 came from Black Momba, the tailback.)
MOMBA NOT MAMBA— DE'ANTHONY THOMAS (@DEANTTHOMAS6) September 13, 2012
Tight Ends Grade: A
Colt Lyerla actually made a name for the tight end position in this game. He was Oregon's leading receiver with three catches for 71 yards and two touchdowns. That was half of the Ducks' aerial scores.
The tight ends also did a good job of protecting the passer and springing the wideouts for more yardage than they would have otherwise gotten.
Offensive Line Grade: C
The offensive line had flashes of brilliance and moments of absolute mediocrity.
The line needs to play more consistently by opening holes for the running backs and protecting the quarterback. There is no reason in the world that this stable of tailbacks can't have three 100-yard rushers in over half the games scheduled.
If the line can develop into a formidable front for all four quarters, this could be the team that takes the SEC down.
Defensive Line Grade: C-
Washington rushed for over 200 yards against the Ducks. While the line showed improvement at times during the game, it did tire out in the fourth quarter.
That may not seem like a big deal when your team won by more than four touchdowns, but that's exactly how the 300-plus pound SEC offensive lines squash you in the second half.
This line needs to consistently dominate, not dominate for half a drive at a time. The line is capable of that, and needs to continue to develop throughout the year.
Linebackers Grade: B+
While the tackling was pretty solid from this unit, the pass rush was inconsistent.
On one drive, they would force a punt by putting pressure on the Huskies. On the next drive, the secondary would bail them out with an interception or some such other brilliant display of skill.
What really saved the grade for the linebackers were the two forced fumbles. That also saved the defensive line's butt for not pulling its weight in the pass-rush portion of the game.
Defensive Backs Grade: A
Oregon's secondary played very well throughout the majority of the game. Despite the best effort from the defensive line to allow Washington to score, the secondary came up with key interceptions, passes broken up and generally sticking to their assigned receivers like glue.
Washington frequently had nowhere to go with the football (other than the stands), and the Ducks' secondary was responsible for every bit of that.
Special Teams Grade: C+
The special teams unit came out strong and earned all “A's” in the first half. However, the second half was atrocious.
In one case, the returner took his eye off the ball, muffed the catch and allowed Washington to recover the ball in the red zone. While the secondary bailed it out with an interception, the special teams corps really screwed that one up.
The other points against the squad were a missed field goal and a shanked punt. While it didn't cost Oregon the game, just ask Alabama what a missed field goal (or four) can do to one's championship hopes.
Coaching Grade: A+
Chip Kelly and company really know how to put a football team together. Throughout the entire game, there were minor adjustments being made that were highly successful.
One major point in the coaches' favor is how the ball is caught in questionable situations. Oregon players are taught to curl their bodies around the ball during what could be questionable catches if caught in other ways. That's crucial in big games, and these kids are developing that habit even when they're up by 37 points.
Another solid part of Oregon's game is the focus on turnovers. Even when the game is clearly in-hand, the Ducks are stripping the ball, diving for interceptions and generally looking for any opportunity to put their offense back on the field.
Oregon may or may not win a National Championship this year, but the coaches are certainly not going to stand in the way.