In a win closer than most expected, finding the three most important plays is not easy. Nonetheless, there were three plays critical to this game that changed the complexion of the game and, in the end, assured victory by the Ducks.
1st Quarter, 13:35
While most of the fans spent their time looking for who was dropping back to return the first punt, the Duck punt return team saw a flaw in the blocking schemes by Washington State's punt team. Exploiting this, Avery Patterson broke through and blocked Dan Wagner's kick. Having also broken through the line, Boseko Lokombo picked up the ball and ran it in for a touchdown. Without having the ball on offense, the Ducks had already taken an early lead which, thanks to a very athletic play by Jackson Rice on the 2 point conversion attempt, was 8-0.
1st Quarter, 9:13
After the punt was blocked on the opening series, the Ducks defense was right back on the field. Marshall Lobbestael was driving the Cougars down the field and had the ball at the Oregon 15 yard line. on 3rd and 7, Lobbestael dropped in the pocket, sidestepped to his left while being rushed tried to find a receiver in teh left corner of the end zone. Lobbestael could not get enough zip on the ball, though, while he was scrambling to his left and under-threw his receiver. Terrance Mitchell made his first career interception an important one as it stopped an early Washington State rally.
Just as importantly, Mitchell returned the ball 36 yards to the Oregon 38 yard line to give the Ducks better field position. The possession was wasted after Oregon threw their own interception, but it was critical to maintaining Oregon's early momentum.
3rd Quarter, 14:45
Leading just 15-10 to start the second half, the Ducks had the ball to start the second half. Bryan Bennett had come on in place of Darron Thomas. The first two plays were simple zone read plays with LaMichael James and De'Anthony Thomas that resulted in 13 yards. On 1st and 10 from the Washington State 45, De'Anthony Thomas went in motion from left to right, Bennett took the snap and threw a quick out pass to Thomas who was going to the left. With one quick step, Thomas was up to speed and was touched on the shoulder pads by a helpless C.J. Mizell as Thomas blew by on his way to a 45 yard touchdown. Over the last 15 yards, the talented freshman turned Tyree Toomer around 3 times en route to his 10th touchdown on the season.