The Oregon Ducks traveled to Seattle and came out with a victory, beating the Washington Huskies by a score of 45-24 on Saturday. This win extended the Ducks winning streak to ten games against the Huskies. The Ducks’ offense went into the hostile environment and played flawlessly. However, it was the defense that really put the game away for Oregon.
Here are seven observations from the Ducks win:
1. Marcus Mariota keeps getting better
Marcus Mariota accounted for more than 400 total yards of offense and three touchdowns against Washington. Furthermore, he has completed 100 passes in 165 attempts, for 1724 yards and 17 touchdowns so far in 2013. The most impressive statistic is that he has zero turnovers and a passer rating of 182.4
His accolades continue with throwing and rushing for a touchdown in eight straight games. If the voters take all of the above into consideration, when picking a Heisman Trophy winner, Mariota should be in the lead through seven weeks of play.
2. A complete team
The Ducks are a complete team in every facet of the game and they showed it against the Huskies. Their offense compiled a total of 631 yards, while holding the Huskies offense to 376 yards. The Ducks’ defense caused two turnovers and recorded four sacks. So far this season, the Ducks rank 21st overall in passing yards (306.5 avg.), 3rd overall in rushing yards (324 avg.), 2nd overall in points per game (56.8 avg.) and 6th overall in points against (13.8 avg.).
3. Their schedule will continue to test them
Washington was by far the toughest team that the Ducks have faced up to this point and it only continues to get tougher. They will face #9 UCLA in two weeks, then the #13 Stanford Cardinal, followed by the Utah Utes that just knocked Stanford out of the top-five rankings and then end the season against the Oregon State Beavers. They will have to beat all of those teams for any chance at a National Championship.
4. Next man up philosophy
Under normal circumstances, when a team loses one of their biggest playmakers and their starting tight end, it could spell disaster. This hasn’t been the case with the Ducks. De’Anthony Thomas has sat out the last two weeks with an ankle injury and Colt Lyerla has left the team. The Ducks started Thomas Tyner to help Byron Marshall in the absence of Thomas at tailback. Then they started John Mundt at tight end. He appears to be as good of an athlete and seems to have superior pass catching abilities than Lyerla. The result was Oregon racking up 45 points and over 600 yards of offense against the Huskies.
5. Hard to cover
There’s no doubt that the Ducks have a lot of playmakers at quarterback and in their backfield. I can’t imagine what the opposing defensive coordinator must go through when facing Oregon’s rushing attack. Their tempo and speed continually cause problems for their opponents. But, even if they didn’t have all of that talent and just had an average rushing game, the defense still has to contend with Bralon Addison and Josh Huff at wide receiver. It is extremely difficult to cover this dynamic pair in the open field, but they are even more dangerous with the yards they gain after the catch. Between the two of them, they have a total of 57 receptions, for 1,054 yards and 11 touchdowns.
6. The defensive line is improving, but has a ways to go
Wade Keliikipi and DeForest Buckner played extremely well on the defensive line against Washington. Each week, the defensive front continues to make strides and is putting pressure on the quarterback. However, they are allowing too many yards on the ground. Bishop Sankey gained 167 yards and had two touchdowns for the Huskies. Defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti has done a good with rotating in defensive linemen to keep them fresh, but needs to find a core group of linemen to slow down the opponents rushing attack.
7. Turnovers wreak havoc on opponents
When a team is winning the turnover battle, it makes it easier to win football games. The Ducks have only turned the ball over five times this season, while forcing their opponents to cough it up 16 times. If they can continue to produce this kind of ratio, it’s hard to lose a game.
Photo Credit: Ted S. Warren/Associated Press
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