5 takeaways from Oregon Ducks’ convincing win over Washington Huskies

·7 min read

There was nothing stylish about it. That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t convincing, though.

The Oregon Ducks went into Husky Stadium on Saturday afternoon and ran it down Washington’s throat, to quote running back Travis Dye. With a total of 329 rushing yards on the day, Oregon quickly turned around another putrid offensive start and managed to cruise through much of the second half with ease, leaving Seattle with a 26-16 win over their biggest rivals.

That score can be misleading. With 10 seconds left in the game, Oregon had the ball on Washington’s 1-yard line, an easy run up the middle away from making it a 33-16 win. Instead, they ran the clock out and showed some restraint. The Huskies’ 16 points are also misleading, considering that their first touchdown of the game came on a two-play, six-yard drive after an interception, and they were also gifted a safety.

Regardless of the semantics, the Ducks were clearly the better team, and they made it known throughout the second half, and in the locker room after the game. Here are our biggest takeaways from the day as a whole:

Travis Dye is an Oregon legend

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There’s just something about those Dye boys and the rivalry against Washington. Several years ago, linebacker Troy Dye became a meme after his famous ‘W Down’ celebration followed Oregon’s win in Seattle, and on Saturday, Travis put his name in the rivalry history books, rushing for a career-high 211 yards, which is the second most any Oregon player has ever run for against Washington, the first being Jonathan Stewart’s 251 yards back in 2007.

Dye has undoubtedly been the MVP of the Ducks this season, and his value has only increased since RB CJ Verdell went down with a season-ending injury against Stanford.

Losing a guy like Verdell certainly hurts, but having Dye step up the way he has over the past several weeks has eased the pain in a way that none of us could have imagined. No. 26 turned in another historic performance on Saturday, and it came as no surprise. Time to start building a statue for the Dye brothers in Eugene.

Mario Cristobal' Tightrope

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Mario Cristobal is already a beloved man in Eugene, but he did a lot to grow his fanbase over the past week.

When offered a chance to respond to some cheap shots and ill-advised comments from Washington’s Jimmy Lake earlier in the week, Cristobal kept his cool and remained focused on the task at hand. When given the chance to run up the score against the Huskies, sitting a yard away from the endzone with 10 seconds left, giving his team a prime opportunity to earn some style points with the playoff committee and stick the knife into his biggest rival, Cristobal did the respectable thing, winding down the clock and leaving showing some restraint and sportsmanship.

After the game, when the national cameras went away and he was (relatively) alone with his players in the locker room, he let loose.

Some of the quotes are a bit too blue for us to run on USA Today, but if you’d like to find them, they’re readily available. In summation, Cristobal stated his disregard for the Huskies’ program, and their coach in particular. He let loose, and showed the fiery passion that makes players and fans fall in love with him, and drives recruits to choose Oregon over a majority of schools in the nation.

In a heated rivalry week, Mario Cristobal was offered several chances to take the low road and play in the muck. Instead, he walked a tightrope and stayed on the high road, letting his team’s play do the talking. They talked loudly, and physically, and convincingly.

Teams often represent the personality and intensity of their head coach. Washington was in a disarray of chaos all week, led by Jimmy Lake. Oregon was calm and collected, and passionate when it counted. If you didn’t like Cristobal before this week, you surely like him now. If you already had an affinity for Oregon’s head man, your love for him should now be through the roof.

Ugly Wins Mean Just as Much

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Sure, it’s nice to go into a rivalry game and beat the doors off of your opponent, asserting your dominance from start to finish. However, sometimes it’s more satisfying to win an ugly, and physical game, where you beat up the other team in the trenches and, as Travis Dye would say, run it down their throats.

That’s what Oregon did on Saturday night. They spotted the Huskys 9 points early on, but then turned on the gas and made it their mission to put Washington into the dirt, rushing for a total of 329 yards on the day and destroying the morale of every Husky fan in the building.

On top of that, Oregon once again proved that they can get out of tough spots when needed. Anthony Brown had a pretty rough game, by all accounts, but he bounced back from a slow start and got the Ducks back in it, getting them to a place where they could run out much of the game in the second half. While style points are important, there is a lot to be said about going into a physical and nasty game and coming out on top. The Ducks have proved multiple times this season they can do that, but this was definitely the most satisfying.

Ducks Defense Saves the Day

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Maybe a lot of this has to do with the fact that Washington’s offense is among the absolute worst in the Pac-12, but if you didn’t come out of that game thinking that Oregon’s defense is in absolute peak form, then I’m not sure what to tell you.

The Ducks’ offense repeatedly put the defense in tough spots to start the game, giving Washington starting field positions of the 6, 45, 43, 40, 49, and 45-yard lines, respectively. Aside from the opening touchdown, those drives went as follows:

  • Punt

  • Punt

  • Punt

  • Interception

  • Downs

  • Punt

  • Punt

  • Punt

  • Punt

For the day, Washington had just 166 total yards of offense, with 7 punts and 7 first downs. They routinely were going three-and-out and playing a field position game with the Ducks. Oregon’s offense took a little bit to get going, but what’s important is that the defense was able to hold steady until Anthony Brown got going.

We don’t always know what we’re going to get from the offense week in and week out, but it’s become clear that we can routinely rely on the defense to step up and keep things steady.

Another Tough Day for Anthony Brown

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We should probably have a quick conversation about Anthony Brown.

This is absolutely not bashing him, since, at this point in the season, we pretty much know what we’re going to get from him. However, Saturday was a reality check after three straight impressive games from him.

A lot of it had to do with the torrential rain that was coming down in Montlake on Saturday night, but part of Brown’s poor performance was just on him. He wasn’t great against the Huskies, but that shouldn’t lead Oregon fans to run to social media and cry about the Ducks needing to bench him. He is what he is, and though he started slow, the super senior bounced back and made some timely throws to get Oregon back into the game.

On the day, AB finished throwing 10-for-20 for 98 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. He added 63 yards and a TD on the ground. His interception on the first drive of the game is inexcusable, but the fact that he stayed level-headed and was able to right the ship says a lot.

He’s not going to be perfect every week, but we can count on him to stay the course and make the plays when they need to be made.

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