Although Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota gave away his first two fumbles of the season, the early miscues didn’t slow the No. 2 Oregon Ducks ( 7-0 / 4-0 ) as they ran away from Washington State Saturday night by a score of 62-38 in front of 56,949 in Autzen Stadium.
It was an uncharacteristic first half for the undefeated Ducks as they fumbled three times in the second quarter which led to 17 consecutive points and allowed the Cougars to pull within 10 points at the half.
In the second half though, Oregon regrouped and scored on 4 drives, including their opening possession of the second stanza – a 7 play, 80 yard drive that ended with a 10 yard pass play from Mariota to Keanon Lowe pushing the Oregon lead to 41-24.
Besides his two fumbles, Mariota once again had a terrific night.
Mariota was 23 of 32 for 327 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Mariota has now gone 265 attempts without an interception, extending his Oregon and Pac-12 record. His last pick came in the first half against Stanford in 2012.
Oregon’s defense came up big as well.
The Ducks secondary came into the game knowing the ‘Air Raid’ attack of WSU 2nd year coach Mike Leach and QB Connor Halliday would provide numerous opportunities for thefts through the air which the Ducks took advantage of.
Oregon picked Halliday four times giving him a total of 17 interceptions on the season.
Safety Avery Patterson, linebacker Derrick Malone and CB’s Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Terrance Mitchell each grabbed an interception.
Mitchell’s pick with 13:01 remaining in the game turned into a 51 yard return for a touchdown. It was Mitchell’s 4th interception of the season and his first touchdown return since the 2010 spring game.
Oregon sophomore RB Byron Marshall had a career night against the Cougars.
Marshall carried the ball 21 times for 192 yards and 3 touchdowns. Marshall logged his fifth 100 yard rushing game of the season and has now found the end zone 9 times in his 7 games this year. Marshall also had 2 pass receptions for 54 yards.
GAME CHANGING MOMENT
There were a number of game changing moments in the Ducks win over WSU.
Where the game significantly turned was in the second half when Oregon safety Avery Patterson intercepted a Connor Halliday pass giving the ball right back to the Ducks after they scored on their opening possession of the second half.
Patterson stole Halliday’s pass at the Oregon 21 yard line and returned the ball to the 46. Mariota then led the Ducks on a 4 play – 46 yard drive that ended on a Byron Marshall 30 yard touchdown run extending the Oregon lead to 48-24.
Though their first six games, Oregon has fumbled 11 times and lost only three. On Saturday against Washington State, the Ducks fumbled three times and lost each to the Cougars.
Two of the turnovers were caused by the Cougar pass rush on Oregon QB Marcus Mariota. The third came deep in Oregon territory when RB Byron Marshall lost the ball at the Oregon 12 yard line after a 35 yard pass from Mariota.
Each of the three turnovers led to Washington State scores.
The first came at the 7:51 mark of the second quarter when Mariota was sacked and fumbled at the Oregon 32 yard line. From there it took the Cougars 7 plays and 33 yards to find the endzone on a 12 yard pass from Connor Halliday to River Cracraft.
Just two minutes later, Mariota fumbled again behind the line of scrimmage when he was hit from behind by MLB Darryl Monroe. After the hit and fumble, Cougar DE Xavier Cooper scooped and scored on a 29 yard run bringing WSU within six points 27-21.
Then with 1:16 to play in the half, Mariota found Byron Marshall wide open on a 35 yard pass play where Marshall fumbled on the WSU 12 yard line.
WSU drove the length of the field and scored on a 49 yard field goal by Cougar placekicker Andrew Furney bringing the Cougar’s within 10 at the halftime break 34-24
* Oregon amassed a total 719 yards of offense. That number is only the third largest this year. Nicholls State ( 772 ) – Colorado ( 755 )
* Oregon true Freshman OL Cameron Hunt had his first start of his young Oregon career
* WSU QB Connor Halliday broke an FBS and Autzen Stadium record with ( 89 ) pass attempts. Halliday was 58 of 89 for 557 yards. His total attempts and completions also broke the Pac-12 record set by Arizona’s Matt Scott last season, and his total yards set a Washington State record.
* QB Marcus Mariota has now tossed at least one TD pass in all 20 games of his career. The sophomore also extended his streak of passing AND rushing for scores to nine straight games.
* Mariota has now gone 265 attempts without an interception, extending his UO and Pac-12 record. His last pick came in the first half vs. Stanford in 2012.
* RB Byron Marshall recorded his fifth 100-yard rushing game of the season (sixth career) with a career-high 192 yards on a team-high 21carries. Marshall also set career-bests with three touchdowns and 246 all.
* FR RB Thomas Tyner had a career-best 99 yards rushing and tied his best with a pair of touchdowns, including a career-long 66-yard score. The freshman, in search of his first 100-yard rushing effort, sat at 101 until a 2-yard loss on his final carry.