For the 10th consecutive season, Oregon rolled to a victory of 17 points or more over Washington. This one was closer than some in recent years, but the result ultimately felt just about the same. We have our tale of the tape recap below.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME — Marcus Mariota, without question. It was no secret that Mariota was one of the nation’s best quarterbacks entering this game. The way he played only confirmed that nation. He completed 24 of 31 passes — and remember, Keanon Lowe dropped what would have been an easy touchdown pass in the first quarter — for 366 yards and three touchdowns. He still hasn’t thrown an interception this season, and he was only sacked once. And he rushed for a net of 88 yards on 13 carries, and that’s with a 7-yard loss on that sack included. He was the best player on the field by any objective measure, and he might be the best player in the country. Designed runs, scrambles, intermediate throws, deep balls — it didn’t matter. Mariota did it all.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME — His team lost, but UW linebacker John Timu had a very strong game. Timu finished with 10 tackles, including the Huskies’ only sack, and one other tackle for loss. He tied with Oregon’s Derrick Malone, as well as UW safety Sean Parker, for game-high tackle honors.
PLAY OF THE GAME — Bishop Sankey’s fumble felt like a big turning point, because it interrupted a Washington drive in Oregon territory, and the Ducks followed it up with a touchdown. But Mariota’s 65-yard touchdown pass to Josh Huff really felt like the big separator. The Huskies had just pulled within seven points on Sankey’s 60-yard touchdown run, but Mariota put the Ducks back up by two scores when he hit Huff — the ball was thrown perfectly, by the way — over the top four plays later.
STAT OF THE GAME — For all the talk of how close the Huskies believe they are to closing the gap between themselves and Oregon, it’s hard to ignore what the Ducks did in terms of total offense today — 631 yards, an average of 7.8 per play. You can dissect UW’s offensive performance and the turnovers all you want. Not many teams lose when they gain 631 yards.
QUOTABLE — “It is frustrating, especially when you’re going toe to toe with a team like that. Then it kind of got ugly halfway through the fourth quarter. … I’m proud of our team. We have a good team, we just played a very good team. We’re definitely one of the best teams in the country, but it’s just kind of hard matching score for score with a team like that.” — UW quarterback Keith Price
WHAT IT MEANS — Washington simply isn’t good enough to beat Oregon yet. And while that might be a difficult truth for Huskies fans to stomach, it’s worth remembering that not a whole lot of teams have fared much better against UO in the last three or four years than the Huskies did today. Oregon is fast all over the place, especially defensively, and that might be something that casual observers don’t necessarily realize until they watch the Ducks play. It’s also something Price and other offensive players were sure to note afterward. So while it’s probably still true that UW is a legitimate top-25 team, that doesn’t mean the Huskies are ready to take the next step — and it’s a big one — of giving the Ducks a real scare. Or, of course, beat them.
UP NEXT — Saturday at 3 p.m. at Arizona State. That game will air on the Pac-12 Networks. ASU entered tonight’s game against Colorado with a 3-2 record, and is currently hammering the Buffaloes 47-6 in the third quarter.
Christian Caple can be reached at email@example.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple