SEATTLE — Marcus Mariota was finally forced to take a fourth-quarter snap for Oregon. He was just as good as he was in the first three.
Mariota threw for 366 yards and three touchdowns, added another 88 yards and one TD rushing, and the second-ranked Ducks won their 10th straight over their rivals to the north with a 45-24 victory over No. 16 Washington on Saturday.
Mariota’s passing was nearly spotless, he used his legs to make the Huskies pay when throwing options were covered and was easily the best player on the field. Mariota completed 24 of 31 passes, and ran another 13 times. He threw touchdowns of 4 and 3 yards to Bralon Addison and a 65-yarder to Josh Huff on Oregon’s first possession of the second half. Huff had to be carted to the locker room with an apparent right leg injury in the first half, only to come back after halftime and burn the Huskies secondary.
Most impressive, Mariota answered every challenge Washington made. Twice in the second half the Huskies pulled within a touchdown. Both times, Mariota responded by leading the Ducks (6-0, 3-0 Pac-12) to touchdowns of their own. Mariota topped 300 yards passing for the sixth time in his college career.
Byron Marshall added 106 yards rushing and two touchdowns and while Oregon’s streak of scoring at least 55 points ended at five games, the Ducks passed their first test of the season.
De’Anthony Thomas suited up for the Ducks but it was just decoration. Sidelined with a sprained ankle the past two games, Thomas went through pregame warm-ups but never left the Oregon sideline. Turns out they didn’t need him.
Bishop Sankey ran for 167 yards and touchdowns of 60 and 25 yards for Washington, but the Huskies (4-2, 1-2) defense that stood stout against Stanford last week was exposed by Mariota and the Ducks. The Huskies gave up 633 total yards. Washington was third in the country giving up just 3.9 yards per offensive play, but the Ducks averaged 7.9 per touch.
Sankey was responsible for a major first-half swing that left the Huskies unsuccessfully playing from behind. Tied at 7-7 and driving, Sankey fumbled for the first time this season on a third-down run at the Oregon 31. The fumble was forced by cornerback Troy Hill and recovered by Torrondney Prevot. Mariota went to work immediately, hitting Addison for 38 yards and seven plays later the two connected again on a 4-yard TD and a 14-7 lead.
Washington went three-and-out on its next series holding possession for barely one minute. Oregon followed with a seven-play drive, with three plays of 15 yards or more. Marshall capped the drive with a 15-yard sprint untouched and a 21-7 Ducks lead.
The Huskies closed to 21-14 on the first drive of the second half when Sankey burst 60 yards on fourth-and-1, but Mariota answered by dropping his long TD pass to Huff. The only other time Washington got within one score, came on Sankey’s 25-yard TD run in the final minute of the third quarter to cut the lead to 31-24. Just as they had done earlier, the Ducks answered. It took less than 90 second for Mariota to find the end zone on a 5-yard run and he added a 3-yard TD pass to Addison later in the fourth quarter for the final margin.
Addison finished with eight catches for 157 yards.
Washington quarterback Keith Price was battered for the second straight week. His gutty effort last Saturday in a 31-28 loss at No. 5 Stanford gave belief that this would be the Huskies best chance to stop their losing streak to the Ducks. But Price’s receivers struggled to get separation and he was sacked four times and ran 11 others. Price finished 19 of 32 for 182 yards.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.