No. 16 Washington was within seven points of No. 2 Oregon through three quarters at Husky Stadium on Saturday.
Unfortunately for Washington, the game was four quarters long.
Oregon pulled away at the end, going on to a 45-24 victory behind Heisman contender Marcus Mariota.
On Oregon's first drive of the game, the Huskies came up with a big stop, holding their ground on 4th-and-5 at their 31-yard line.
But after Washington went three-and-out, the Ducks scored on their second drive of the game. Mariota led Oregon on a 10-play, 77-yard drive, punctuated by Byron Marshall's one-yard touchdown run.
But quarterback Keith Price and the Huskies responded by going 76 yards on nine plays. Price found tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins for an eight-yard touchdown. The teams headed into the second quarter locked in a 7-7 tie.
But Oregon wouldn't be held down for long. After a couple three-and-outs, Mariota capped off an eight-play, 69-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown pass to receiver Bralon Addison as the Ducks took a 14-7 lead.
Stewart Mandel of SI.com was impressed:
Plays like that are why Mariota is so good. Buys time with his feet, throws a dart with his arm. Touchdown to go up 14-7.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) October 12, 2013
After Washington went three-and-out, Oregon scored again—this time courtesy of a 15-yard touchdown run by Marshall.
The Ducks went into halftime with a 21-7 lead.
Oregon had 122 more total yards than Washington at the half. Washington also had two turnovers, while Oregon had none. After a competitive first quarter, the Ducks quieted down Husky Stadium.
While the Ducks posted 21 points by halftime, people seemed more impressed with their defense. Washington running back Bishop Sankey, who ranked fourth in the nation in rushing yards coming into the game, was silenced early.
Oregon Duck FB News tweeted at halftime:
Oregon defense is holding Husky RB Bishop Sankey to just 2.9 yards per carry - came into the game averaging 5.6 per carry— Oregon Duck FB News (@DuckFBNews) October 12, 2013
David Pollack of ESPN College GameDay added:
2 things about the Oreg/Wash 1st half. 1-Mariota can't be stopped (by anyone) 2-Their D is even better than we thought.— David Pollack (@davidpollack47) October 12, 2013
Sankey wouldn't be shut down for long, though.
On the Huskies' first drive of the second half, they went for it on 4th-and-1 from their 40-yard line. It turned out to be a good decision, as Sankey burst to the outside for a 60-yard touchdown run.
All of a sudden, Washington was back in it.
But it wasn't long before Oregon responded. The Ducks needed just over a minute to score on the next drive. Mariota hooked up with receiver Josh Huff for a 65-yard touchdown, giving the Ducks a 28-14 lead.
After the teams traded field goals, Sankey showed up big again late in the third quarter. His 25-yard touchdown run closed the gap to seven points, and the Huskies headed into the fourth quarter trailing 31-24.
ESPN College Football tweeted:
Oregon continued to score, though. The Ducks went 66 yards on five plays on the ensuing drive, which was capped off by (who else?) Mariota's five-yard touchdown run.
The Ducks went 75 yards on eight plays on their next drive. Mariota's three-yard touchdown pass to Addison gave the sophomore wideout two scores in the game and staked Oregon to a 45-24 lead that proved to be the final margin.
Sankey and the Huskies showed how dangerous they could be in the third quarter against the Ducks, but in the end, Oregon's offense couldn't be stopped (sound familiar?). Washington was a legitimate threat to Oregon's undefeated record coming into the Pac-12 battle, but Oregon showed why it's the No. 2 team in the country.
Oregon has posted 157 points in three games since electric running back De'Anthony Thomas injured his ankle on the opening kickoff against California. This team's depth is out of this world.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: A
Mariota continued to prove why he should be the Heisman Trophy front-runner on Saturday. Not only did he complete 24 of 31 passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns, he also rushed for 88 yards and a score.
The dual-threat quarterback has yet to throw an interception in six games this season. It's hard enough to stop Mariota, but when he's this careful with the pigskin, it's almost impossible to beat the Ducks.
Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington: A
Washington may have lost on Saturday, but it had nothing to do with Sankey.
Although the junior lost a fumble in the game, he finished the battle with 167 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries. He came out of the half determined to do damage, and it showed.
He ranked fourth in the nation in rushing yards per game (146.4) before Saturday's Pac-12 clash. He only increased that average against an underrated Ducks defense.
Keith Price, QB, Washington: C-
Price was held in check by Oregon on Saturday, going 19-of-32 for 182 yards with one touchdown to one interception.
He threw for 350 yards and two touchdowns against Stanford last week.
Price and the Huskies were decent on third downs, converting 10 of 20, but the passing game never really got going. His touchdown pass to Seferian-Jenkins in the first quarter was the only score the Huskies managed through the air.
Bralon Addison, WR, Oregon: A
Addison proved on Saturday that the 158 yards and two touchdowns he put up against Colorado last week wasn't a mirage. He caught eight balls for 157 yards and two touchdowns against Washington, scoring in the second and fourth quarters.
The sophomore has proved to be a big-time target for Mariota, scorching defenses game after game. He completes a devastating receiving duo with senior Josh Huff.