No. 12 Ducks toy with Washington in 43-19 victory
SEATTLE (AP)—Oregon again got the spark it needed from its special teams and defense with blocked punts, fake field goals and interceptions.
The 12th-ranked Ducks also got their offense rolling, too.
Just in time for a Pac-10 showdown with Southern California on Halloween night in Eugene.
Jeremiah Masoli returned from a knee injury to run for two scores, Oregon blocked a punt for a touchdown and used a fake field goal to set up another TD, and the Ducks overwhelmed border rival Washington 43-19 on Saturday.
“This is a true team. It’s not an offense, it’s not a defense, it’s not just one aspect of it,” Oregon coach Chip Kelly said. “It’s everyone contributing … That punt you saw us start to gain some confidence and we started flying around and when we start flying it kind of gets into a frenzy mode and it’s a neat thing to be around.”
Oregon’s corralled Washington quarterback Jake Locker, forced three turnovers and kept the Huskies out of the end zone until the fourth quarter.
Oregon’s special teams came up with momentum-shifting plays on Rory Cavaille’s blocked punt for a touchdown and Nate Costa’s fake field goal for a first down that led to another Oregon score.
And most important, Masoli got Oregon’s offense zooming in the second half after it needed a kickoff return and interception return for touchdowns two weeks ago against UCLA when Masoli was out with an injured right knee.
“It did take a couple of series to get my feet under me. You can tell the difference when you haven’t played and you have a bye week,” Masoli said. “We were a little rusty but great teams respond.”
Oregon extended its dominance of Washington to six straight—longest in the history of the series—and like the previous five this one wasn’t close. All six wins have been by more than 20 points.
Masoli kept Washington’s defense guessing all day. Run, pass or pitch—they all worked.
And the frantic speed of Oregon’s offense exposed Washington’s lack of defensive depth.
Masoli completed 14 of 22 throws for 157 yards and a touchdown. He also added TD runs of 1 and 3 yards as part of his 54 yards rushing.
LaMichael James, Oregon’s workhorse since LeGarrette Blount’s suspension, rushed for 154 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a 56-yard TD sprint in the fourth quarter to cap this Oregon party.
“Sometimes I thought I had the ball and then I’d see (Masoli) around the other side. That’s the big thing, misdirection is key,” James said.
While Oregon’s offense found its rhythm, Locker and the Huskies could never solve Oregon’s mix of blitzes and pressures. Locker was sacked four times and completed 23 of 44 for 266 and two interceptions. Chris Polk had 104 yards rushing for Washington.
“We really had some opportunities, especially early in the ball game and then coming out of halftime to change the complexion of the game, maybe get the game going in our favor more and we weren’t able to capitalize,” Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said.
Coming off a crushing 24-17 loss at Arizona State last Saturday, Washington (3-5, 2-3) didn’t show much resiliency.
The Huskies’ crippling mistakes didn’t help, and the first was the most damaging.
Washington led 3-0 early in the second quarter and lined up to punt. The Ducks overloaded the right side of the line, allowing Cavaille to come free and block Will Mahan’s punt. The ensuing scrum dribbled the ball into the end zone where Tyrell Irvin recovered for the touchdown. While Washington’s defense was getting set for the extra point, Costa ran in for the 2-point conversion and a 8-3 lead.
“I thought the gap was closed so I kind of just turned my shoulder and it opened right up and saw the ball right there and put my hand out and good things happened,” Cavaille said.
Washington tried to answer and quickly drove to the Oregon 4, but on fourth-and-goal at the 2 Locker rolled out but couldn’t find anyone and his toss was intercepted by Javes Lewis.
Masoli then led a crushing drive, aided by Costa’s 7-yard run off a faked field goal, and capped by the quarterback’s 1-yard run.
Oregon scored on its first three drives of the second half and led 36-6.
“That’s one of the aspects about our offense is that we come at you so fast you don’t even have time to think, call plays, know what you are doing,” Masoli said.