Saturday, September 29, 2012

September 29, 2012
The No. 2 Oregon Ducks (4-0, 1-0) headed to Seattle for their first road game of the season to take on the Washington State Cougars. The Cougars (2-2, 0-1) came into the contest off of a heartbreaking loss to Colorado last week while the Ducks came into the contest fresh off of a 49-0 shutout of previously unbeaten and No. 22 ranked Arizona.

Kenjon Barner ran for 195 yards against Washington State
The Ducks were looking to expand on their defensive masterpiece and they did not disappoint early holding the Cougars to an early three and out. A short punt by the Cougars left the Ducks with excellent field position to open the game. Kenjon Barner capped a quick four play touchdown drive with a 22 yard touchdown run to give the Ducks an early 6-0 lead.

Washington State, averaging over 300 yards per game through the air coming into the game, would take to the air early looking to move the ball against a Duck defense that looked stout coming into the game. The Cougars found some success on their second possession completing short passes and working their way methodically down the field and into the red zone. A couple of pass interference penalties gave the Cougars a first and goal. Just like last week, though, the Duck defense stiffened and held Washington State to a field goal cutting the lead to 6-3 midway through the first quarter.

Marcus Mariota started hot for Oregon scoring his first rushing touchdown on the Ducks second possession. After fumbling the next kickoff, the Cougars got an emotional lift by holding the Ducks without a score when Bryan Bennett fumbled a fourth down snap and was unable to gain a first down.

After the Ducks held again, the offense went to work quickly scoring a touchdown with a pass to Kejon Barner giving Oregon a 20-3 first quarter lead. A long kickoff return provided some life for the Cougars. After appearing to intercept Connor Halliday, the Cougars kept breathing after a personal foul extended the drive. The Cougars quickly made the Ducks pay for the mistake with a short touchdown run by Carl Winston which cut the lead to 20-9 after a missed point after attempt.

After his hot start, though, Mariota threw an interception on the Ducks next possession giving Washington State possession deep inside Oregon territory. After exchanging field goals, Washington State was able to dial up a couple of long distance passing plays scoring on a 26 yard touchdown pass to Brett Bartolone to cut the lead to 23-19 and it began to look like the Cougars were going to challenge the number two ranked team in the nation. After cutting the lead to four, the much maligned Cougar defense began to control the line of scrimmage getting the ball back inside Oregon territory after a short punt by Jackson Rice. Suddenly Washington State began to look like the vintage Mike Leach offense from Texas Tech and the Cougars, filled with confidence, began to move the ball looking to take a lead into halftime.

Three consecutive sacks by the Ducks, though, left the Cougars with a 4th and 38 with just one minute left in the first half. The Ducks ran out the first half to take a 23-19 lead into the locker room.

After outgaining Washington State by nearly 100 yards in the first half, Oregon would receive the second half kickoff looking to get momentum back on their side of the field.

The Ducks took the second half kickoff and marched methodically down the field on an 18 play drive capped by a 4 yard touchdown run by De'Anythony Thomas to extend their lead to 30-19 with 8:39 left in the third quarter.

The Oregon defense, despite having given up 19 forst half points did not play poorly in teh first half holding the Cougars to negative rushing yards and just 137 overall. The second half, though, would test Oregon's defense and the Ducks would respond early. Avery Patterson, starting for the Ducks after All-American John Boyett went down earlier this season with injuries to both knees, intercepted Halliday and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown extending the Oregon lead to 37-19 midway through the third quarter.

Another three and out by the Cougars led to a 7 play,41 yard drive caped by Kenjon Barner's second touchdown run of the game pushing Oregon to a 44-19 lead late in the third quarter.

Halliday, who was under pressure from the Duck defense all night continued fighting and got the Cougars close to the goal line late in the third quarter, but was unable to capitalize on fourth down giving the ball back to Oregon.

The Duck defense would continue to harangue Halliday while the Cougar defense ran out of gas. Barner scored his third rushing touchdown of the night on an 80 yarder after breaking an arm tackle attempt by the Cougar defense to take a 51-19 lead with nearly eleven minutes left in the game.

The Cougars scored late to narrow the margin to 51-26 with just over four minutes left in the game.

The Ducks rushed for 300 yards en route to the blowout win over the Cougars. Despite giving up over 400 passing yards to Washington State, the Duck defense was in Halliday's face most of the night and recorded 7 sacks in the game. For the game, the Cougars mustered just minus 8 rushing yards.

Oregon returns home for a contest with the Washington Huskies next Saturday night at Autzen Stadium.


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