After the dust had settled on the field and the Oregon Ducks had come out victorious, Washington Huskies’ head coach Chris Petersen said that the loss was “pretty disappointing.” He went on to say that “when you play an elite team like [Oregon], one side of the ball has to be able to step up a little bit and make something happen to incite that spark.” Petersen said that he expected the Huskies to be able to slow down the Oregon running game and was “anxious to put the tape on” and that “it was too easy” for Oregon.
It was unusual enough for Oregon, that during last night’s game the Ducks and Huskies split the time of possession nearly down the middle, but what they each did with that time is what’s important. The Ducks had 554 yards of total offense to the Huskies 317, and while the Ducks had 218 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns, the Huskies were held to 133 yards and only one touchdown.
Talking about the Huskies defensive troubles, defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski said, “We definitely missed a lot of tackles.” He mentioned that the some of the players had bad positioning or that their eyes weren’t on the ball or they weren’t locking in on tackles, some things that were echoed by DL Danny Shelton and OLB Hau’oli Kikaha.
Communication errors were another key part of the Washington loss, with Shelton saying that “when you go against tempo teams, miscommunication is always something that happens.” He went on to say that though he felt like he played well, the loss was “pretty frustrating” and that this was the “last time I’m going to play Oregon … They are one of the best teams in the nation, and I was going against one of the best centers in the nation [Hroniss Grasu] … They did a good job executing.”
Many of the Husky players and coaches were fans of Marcus Mariota and talked about how hard he is predict. Asked about how hard Mariota was to build a game plan against, Kwiatkowski said, “He’s smart. He’s been in that offense a long time and he can get them into the right play. You can have him covered … and he can keep the play alive by scrambling and finding guys or running for a first down. It’s a big time challenge for sure.”
Hau’oli Kikaha spoke along the same lines as Kwiatkowski, saying about Mariota, “Just watching the film, he’s the best. He hasn’t thrown any picks and he’s smart with the ball. Knows when to get rid of it. Great quarterback.”
The rivalry part of this game was alive and well in most players’ minds. Wide receiver Jaydon Mickens said that the loss was a “very tough” pill to swallow and that “it’s a rivalry. Some people don’t think it’s one, but it is a rivalry to [Duck fans] and it means a lot. It means a lot to us and we really wanted this game. Unfortunately the Ducks prospered today. They were the better team, so hats off to them.”
Praising the Ducks for their play, Petersen said, “I think they are as good as anybody in the country. This is an elite program … they’ve got maybe the best player in college football and their defense plays hard and they do some good things. You’ve got to play really, really good to beat those guys … you’ve got to play really, really good to hang with those guys.”
In the end, Washington walked out of Autzen Stadium on the short end of a 45-20 lesson, with Oregon’s 45 glowing on the scoreboard behind them.
Top photo by Craig Strobeck