Oregon's win streak over Washington reached nine games on Saturday night, with a 52-21 romp against the Huskies at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, leaving little trace of the once-bitter rivalry that existed between the two Pacific Northwest teams.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota threw four touchdown passes, and the Ducks' defense scored a touchdown for the third consecutive game as Oregon improved to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in Pac-12 Conference play with an easy win over the Dawgs.
Oregon led 21-0 after the first quarter, and took a 35-7 lead into halftime before cruising through the final two quarters.
Mariota was impressive once again, showing a poise that belies the fact he's a redshirt freshman. After throwing an interception on Oregon's opening series, on a deflected pass attempt, Mariota came back out looking anything but rattled and helping the Ducks blow the game open early.
He connected with Keanon Lowe, Colt Lyerla and Josh Huff on first-half touchdowns, then found Lyerla again on a 13-yard pass in the end zone that the tight end went up and snagged for a 45-14 lead early in the fourth.
Mariota went 15-for-24 for 198 yards, and also carried seven times for 40 yards. He was the most impressive of Oregon's offensive standouts on this night, but he certainly wasn't alone. Kenjon Barner rushed for 122 yards on 20 carries, De'Anthony Thomas had 75 yards on 10 carries, and also scored the game's first touchdown, and true freshman Byron Marshall continued to show flashes of serious talent with eight carries for 59 yards and a touchdown late in the game.
I was most impressed with Mariota, for his poise and his ability to bounce back from early miscues, and with Oregon's defense, which once again was the catalyst in a big win. The Ducks led 14-0 when Avery Patterson intercepted a Keith Price pass and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown.
That makes it three defensive touchdowns in three Pac-12 games for the Ducks, who were thought to be in for some struggles on the defensive side after losing John Boyett for the season to injury. But Patterson, the guy who replaced Boyett in the starting lineup, proved once again he's up to the task. In addition to the pick-six, Patterson had nine total tackles against Washington, second-best on the team to linebacker Kiko Alonso.
Alonso was everywhere, once again showing off his athleticism, toughness and range. He had 10 total tackles -- eight solo -- including 3.5 for loss, plus a forced fumble, which he recovered, and a sack. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, the defensive star of Oregon's 49-0 shutout of Arizona a couple of weeks ago, had seven tackles, forced two fumbles and broke up a pass.
With those three leading the way, Oregon's defense came up big once again, and the Ducks rolled over the Huskies for the ninth straight time -- the longest streak for either team in a series that began in 1900.
Sources:No. 2 Ducks dismantle Dawgs, improve to 6-0 --
Adam Sparks has been following Oregon Ducks football since 1990, and has written about the team as a freelancer since 2009.