Oregon vs. Washington: 10 Things We Learned from the Ducks' Win over the Huskies
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The Oregon Ducks flocked into Seattle and came out with a victory, beating bitter rival Washington by a score of 45-24.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota went 24-of-31 for 366 yards and three touchdowns. Bralon Addison was the main beneficiary of his passes, as he hauled in eight passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns.
Washington was buoyed by tailback Bishop Sankey. Sankey rushed 28 times for 167 yards and two touchdowns. However, the Huskies couldn't stop the Ducks defensively. Oregon was able to wear Washington out with pace and speed.
Here are 10 things we learned from the game.
Bishop Sankey Is a Beast
There might not be a more underappreciated tailback in the country than Sankey.
He rushed 28 times for 167 yards and two touchdowns against a very stout Oregon defense. Constantly, he was churning his legs forward for extra yardage. He was also able to break two long runs of 60 and 25 yards, respectively.
The combination of vision and physicality truly makes him special. He proved against top competition that he's a viable candidate for the Doak Walker Award.
Oregon Played a Complete Football Game
Oregon won the game in all facets on Saturday.
Offensively, the Ducks racked up 631 total yards of offense. Oregon rushed for 265 yards and threw for 366 more. That type of balance makes Oregon nearly unbeatable.
The defense was flying around all afternoon. The defensive line pressured Keith Price constantly and sacked him four times. In particular, Wade Keliikipi and DeForest Buckner played extremely well up front.
Team speed is something that Oregon prides itself having. There's speed on all levels of the defense, and it comes in droves. Washington wasn't able to do anything laterally from an offensive standpoint.
In special teams, Alejandro Maldonado made his only field-goal attempt of the day. Josh Huff also had one very nice return.
Lastly, the Ducks did not turn the ball over.
Mariota Is the Leader in the Heisman Race
There's no question that Oregon's signal-caller is the top candidate for the Heisman Trophy.
In today's game, he accounted for more than 400 total yards of offense. He's accounted for 25 touchdowns and ZERO turnovers on the season. Mariota has thrown for 1,358 yards and 14 touchdowns thus far in 2013.
Additionally, Mariota has thrown for a touchdown and rushed for a touchdown in eight straight games.
Perhaps most impressive was Mariota's poise. He was seemingly never rattled, going up against a very loud Washington crowd. He calmly made the throws down the field with precision. If there was any semblance of pressure, he stepped up in the pocket and ran with success.
Oregon Has Great Depth
No De'Anthony Thomas, no Colt Lyerla?
Oregon racked up 45 points and over 600 yards of offense without its most electric player and without its projected starting tight end. Most teams would be crippled without two integral cogs missing on offense.
Both receivers Addison and Keanon Lowe contributed immensely. At tailback, Thomas Tyner helped to form a solid duo with Byron Marshall in the absence of Thomas.
On defense, coordinator Nick Aliotti was constantly ushering players in and out in order to keep them fresh. With the substitutions, there was never a drop in play. The defense played fast and relentlessly for the entirety of the contest.
It truly lends itself to the notion that Oregon is extremely fortunate from a depth standpoint.
Washington Has a Bright Future
Steve Sarkisian took over a Washington program that was coming off of an 0-12 season.
Fast-forward five seasons, and the Huskies have the look of a potential double-digit win team. "Sark" has done a tremendous job at replenishing the talent throughout the program.
Saturday against Oregon, it was apparent how fast and aggressive the defense was. Justin Wilcox's unit was flying all over the field with enthusiasm and passion.
The offense has a litany of young (and very talented) skill players, such as Sankey, Jaydon Mickens, John Ross and others.
This team is on the right track for the future. As Sarkisian continues to build depth on both lines, this program has the potential to be a perennial power in the Pac-12 North Division.
Bralon Addison Continues to Flash
Addison continues to fly off of the screen every time one watches him on television.
Against Washington, Addison had eight catches for 157 yards and two touchdowns. His speed and quickness posed considerable problems for Washington's secondary. He seemingly was able to gain separation quite easily down the field.
In the past three games combined, Addison has caught 16 passes for 324 yards and six touchdowns. He's been the one player who's really stepped up in the absence of De'Anthony Thomas.
With his emergence, Addison is the unquestioned top option across from veteran receiver Josh Huff.
Keith Price Needed a Healthy Thumb
It seemed as if Keith Price was adversely affected by an injured thumb on his throwing hand. The signal-caller suffered the injury against Stanford in the previous week.
Washington didn't test Oregon vertically at all. The majority of the pass plays seemed to be underneath and under 10 yards. Price went 19-of-32 for 182 yards. The average completed pass only went for 5.7 yards per reception.
The one time that Price did attempt to go long resulted in an interception by Erick Dargan. Oregon's defensive line did contribute to Price's struggles throwing the football Saturday.
However, the thumb also didn't do him any favors.
Oregon Passed the First Big Test
Truthfully, Oregon's schedule before the tilt with Washington wasn't exactly difficult.
Washington was by far the toughest team that the Ducks have faced up to this point. As mentioned in the previous slide, the Ducks won on every facet of the game.
It validated Oregon from the standpoint that the Ducks were able to go on the road in a hostile environment against a ranked team and win by three touchdowns. Other difficult games on Oregon's schedule include a home affair against UCLA and a road tilt versus Stanford.
In the process of being victorious, it marked the 10th straight time that the Ducks have beaten their fierce rival to the north.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins Needs to Be Utilized More
Austin Seferian-Jenkins is generously listed at 6'6", 276 pounds. He presents a massive target for any quarterback to throw to. Not only that, but he's got impressive athleticism and mobility.
He leads the program in most career touchdowns and receptions for a tight end. He could be Price's security blanket on crossing patterns and routes that exploit the heart of the field.
For a player of his caliber, he needs to be targeted with more frequency. He's too valuable a commodity to be rendered as a glorified decoy.
Josh Huff Is Tough as Nails
We didn't really learn this in Saturday's game.
However, the sentiment should be enforced even further.
Whether it be catching a long pass, juking a defender in space or blocking downfield, Huff does it all. His blocking ability led to a huge 43-yard run by Addison in the first half. Huff will always do the dirty work that usually goes unseen.
He was carted off the field in the first half with an apparent leg injury. Based on the picture above, one would surmise that he probably would not return in the second half.
Much to everyone's surprise, he did re-enter the game. He ended up catching a 65-yard bomb from Mariota for a touchdown. He was second on the team in catches (six) and receiving yards (107) for the game.