SEATTLE -- Down by just four at the half and outplaying Oregon in nearly all aspects of the game, it
appeared the Washington State Cougars were poised to give the second-ranked Ducks a run for their money on Saturday night.
But in a near-replica of the week before, Oregon rebounded from a slow start to blow the game open
shortly after halftime. This time it happened to be the Cougars that were left in the dust.
The Ducks scored three straight touchdowns in quick succession to begin the second half to beat
Washington State 51-26 at CenturyLink Field in the "Seattle Game," the Cougars' annual home contest played at the residence of the NFL's Seahawks.
The momentum the Cougars (2-3, 0-2 Pac-12) carried into the locker room was quickly quelled by a furious Oregon (5-0, 2-0) run that started with an uncharacteristically methodical drive to open the second half. The six-minute, 20-second drive, which was capped by a De'Anthony Thomas touchdown on the 18th play, was the longest of the season for the Ducks.
That was just the beginning, though. Avery Patterson took an interception to the house on the ensuing
Washington State drive, and after a three-and-out by the Oregon defense, the offense punched in another touchdown.
With that, the rout was on, and the Ducks were in a familiar position.
Despite sputtering to a poor start with a three-and-out and then allowing the Ducks to find the end zone
in just over a minute, Washington State played an inspiring first half of football and trailed just 23-19
heading into the locker room.
The Cougars defense led the effort by bottling up the electric Oregon offense. The Ducks found the end zone three times before halftime and were successful on a 34-yard field goal, but were denied on a two-point conversion, as well as a fourth down inside the Washington State 10-yard line.
Oregon has made a name for itself with a fast and furious offense, one that has a knack of finding the
end zone in a hurry. On the few occasions the Cougars could not contain the Ducks, the points came in that quick fashion -- all scoring drives were under three minutes.
Kenjon Barner accounted for two of the three Oregon first-half touchdowns, rushing for a 22-yard score
and catching a 30-yard touchdown pass from Marcus Mariota. The freshman quarterback scampered for a 13-yard touchdown for the third Oregon score of the first half.
Not to be outdone, Washington State turned in its share of big plays, highlighted by a 92-yard kickoff
return by Teondray Caldwell that led to a two-yard touchdown run by Carl Winston.
Despite being sacked three times, sophomore quarterback Connor Halliday looked comfortable picking apart the Oregon defense for 151 yards and a touchdown before intermission.
NOTES: Jake Rodgers started at right tackle instead of Wade Jacobson for Washington State. Jacobson, who is listed first on the depth chart, left last Saturday's game against Colorado in the first half, although there was no official reason given. ... Freshman Teondray Caldwell continues to contribute on special teams, returning a kickoff in the first quarter for 92 yards. It is his third return of 50-plus yards this season. ... Kenjon Barner's 57 yards on the ground in the first half were enough to pass Ahmad Rashad for eighth in all-time career rushing yards at Oregon.