10:30 PM ET, November 5, 2011
Husky Stadium, Seattle, WA
SEATTLE -- For the second straight week it took Oregon a half to get rolling.
Once the Ducks (No. 8 BCS, No. 6 AP) did, they overwhelmed Washington for the eighth straight time.
Now it's safe for everyone to look ahead to next week's showdown at No. 4 Stanford.
"It's been 10 minutes. I guess we're allowed to think about Stanford now," Oregon offensive lineman Carson York said. "Maybe on the plane ride home."
Oregon's LaMichael James showed he is back from his elbow injury, running for 156 yards and a touchdown, and the Ducks forced three turnovers for a 34-17 win over Washington on Saturday night. Oregon extended the longest winning streak in the history of the rivalry between the border-state schools.
On a night filled with Washington nostalgia, as the school honored the 1991 co-national championship team and said goodbye to Husky Stadium in its current incarnation before a $250 million renovation, the Ducks (8-1, 6-0) ruined the party.
Eddie Pleasant picked off Washington's Keith Price twice in the first half, and Terrance Mitchell stripped tight end Michael Hartvigson of the ball late in the third quarter. The Ducks used the effort from a surprisingly stout defense to convert the turnovers into 14 points.
Along with the two picks and fumble, Oregon sacked Price six times and held Washington under 400 yards of total offense for the second time this season.
So much for a shocker to send off the Huskies' home stadium. Instead, it's another year of the Ducks holding bragging rights in the rivalry.
"We had to show up. We knew they were going to come out with a lot of energy and things like that," Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan said. "But the defense showed up and we did our job."
It was a night for Oregon's defense to shine after the Ducks barely saw the ball in the first half. They had less than seven minutes of possession and ran only 22 plays.
But the biggest play might have been a simple third-down pass. Washington had just scored to pull within 24-17, Husky Stadium was rumbling like its heyday, and Oregon faced a third-and-9 at its own 31.
The Ducks called four vertical routes, and Washington blitzed off the edge. The extra rushers were picked up, and Thomas found Paulson running free down the middle. The 34-yard gain silenced the rumble and eventually led to De'Anthony Thomas' touchdown run to give the Ducks a 31-17 lead.
"(Paulson) is one of the big time receivers that we have out here, and he is doing a great job," Thomas said. "He just comes back and tells me in the huddle, he won't come and tell me, 'I want the ball,' he'll just tell me, 'Hey just look my way.' He'll just tell me something like that. I trust him with any ball I throw high or low he's going to catch it."
Thomas finished 13 of 25 passing. Next Saturday's matchup at Stanford will likely decide the Pac-12 North champion and presumed host for the first Pac-12 title game.
"This is a big time win for us," said James, who had his most yards since running for 239 against California on Oct. 6. "Coming into this atmosphere, hostile crowd, they wanted to win."
Washington lost for the third time this season to a Top 15 program, although this one didn't bring the accompanying embarrassment that the Huskies' 65-21 defeat at Stanford did when the Cardinal ran for 446 yards.
Washington failed to get star running back Chris Polk going regularly. A week after he bulldozed through Arizona for 144 yards rushing, 100 yards receiving and five total touchdowns, Polk was kept out of the end zone and every yard he gained was earned. Polk finished with 80 yards on 24 carries and had six catches for 31 yards.
Price was beat up by the Ducks' defense and threw for only 143 yards despite completing 24 of 35 passes. Price was briefly shaken up on a sack with 7:49 left when he was hit from behind by Jordan, the sixth time Price was sacked. He walked off under his own power and returned one play later after backup Nick Montana hit Williams on a 53-yard pass, only to see Kevin Smith drop a touchdown pass with 7:09 left.
"You don't expect a backup quarterback to go out there and throw a 53-yarder," Kelly said. "Maybe the name (Montana) does mean something."
Price had his left shoulder wrapped after the game, although the injury wasn't considered serious. The six sacks and Polk's inability to get going were part of an impressive night for Oregon's defense that was giving up nearly 400 yards per game. They held the Huskies to 278 yards.
The only other time this season Washington was held under 400 yards came in the season opener against Eastern Washington.
"Offensively, we didn't perform well enough to win. You can't have three turnovers. You can't have six sacks. You can't give a team like Oregon short fields and expect to beat them," Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said. "The reality of it is you can't expect to win against a really good team when you perform that way. (I'm) disappointed in that."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Oregon's Kenjon Barner scored from a yard out on the second half's opening drive.
Gameball goes to... LaMichael James. The Ducks running back rushed for 156 yards and a touchdown.
Stat of the game... 28. After running just 22 plays in the first half, Oregon ran 28 in the third quarter.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-12||8-16|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||0-2|
|TD||11:46||LaMichael James 18 Yd Run (Alejandro Maldonado Kick)||7||0|
|FG||07:17||Erik Folk 42 Yd||7||3|
|FG||06:06||Alejandro Maldonado 40 Yd||10||3|
|TD||10:10||David Paulson 4 Yd Pass From Darron Thomas (Alejandro Maldonado Kick)||17||3|
|TD||00:30||Michael Hartvigson 1 Yd Pass From Keith Price (Erik Folk Kick)||17||10|
|TD||12:23||Kenjon Barner 1 Yd Run (Alejandro Maldonado Kick)||24||10|
|TD||08:33||Kasen Williams 10 Yd Pass From Keith Price (Erik Folk Kick)||24||17|
|TD||06:05||De'Anthony Thomas 9 Yd Run (Alejandro Maldonado Kick)||31||17|
|FG||01:49||Alejandro Maldonado 35 Yd||34||17|