Oregon scores 28 unanswered points in second-half stretch en route to 62-38 win
EUGENE After being both efficient and mistake-prone in the first half, the Oregon Ducks turned it on Saturday to beat Washington State 62-38 at Autzen Stadium.
The No. 2 Ducks were a much more focused team after their sputtering first half, which ended with the Cougars still alive, trailing 34-24.
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, seemingly on his way to serious Heisman Trophy candidate status, basically gave the Cougars 14 points with two second-quarter fumbles, and the Ducks made a host of other errors (fumbles, dropped passes, penalties) to keep what could have been an early rout a fairly competitive game.
Mariota finished the night with another good statistical showing 23 of 32 passing for 327 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions. He also had eight carries for 67 yards and one TD before coming out of the game with Oregon on top 55-24 early in the fourth quarter.
On the ground, Byron Marshall led the Ducks who continued to play without injured star back De'Anthony Thomas. Marshall toted the ball 21 times for 192 yards and three scores.
Thomas Tyner backed up Marshall with seven rushes for 99 yards and two TDs.
Marshall and Tyner also combined for five catches for 96 yards.
Oregon outgained the Cougars on offense 716 yards to 559.
Washington State threw for 557 yards and four touchdowns, with QB Connor Halliday attempting an FBS-record 89 passes and completing an FBS record-tying 58.
But he Ducks intercepted him four times, and Terrance Mitchell returned the last one 51 yards for the TD that put Oregon on top 62-24.
The Cougars, keeping their starters on the field, scored two late TDs against the Oregon reserves.
The Ducks (7-0, 4-0 Pac-12) will play host to UCLA on Saturday, Oct. 26, 4 p.m., Autzen Stadium (ESPN or ESPN2). The Bruins lost at Stanford on Saturday 24-10 and slipped to 5-1, 2-1.
Washington State fell to 4-4 overall and 2-3 in the conference. The Cougars lost a week ago at home to Oregon State 52-24.
Mariota got things started with a 57-yard touchdown run on Oregon's sixth offensive play, after the Ducks had held WSU to one first down and then a punt to the UO 8. The run capped a six-play drive that took 2:13.
The Cougars managed two first downs on their next possession but the Ducks came back with another TD drive. Mariota hit three consecutive passes for 39 yards, and the Marshall ran three times for 16 yards, scoring from the 1 on the sixth play of the 1:11 drive, as Oregon took a 13-0 lead after just 6:17.
WSU then figured out the Ducks defense on a 71-yard TD drive aided by a hit out-of-bounds penalty on UO linebacker Derrick Malone.
It took the Ducks only 49 seconds to answer, with Mariota and Marshall doing most of the damage again. Marshall finished the 79-yard drive with a 26-yard TD run behind the good offensive line blocking. Oregon 20, WSU 7.
The Ducks increased their lead to 27-7 on its first possession. Tyner caught a 20-yard pass to the 1 and then ran for the touchdown on the next play.
Washington State was driving for a touchdown the next time it had the ball, but the Ducks forced a fumble and Rodney Hardrick recovered in the end zone for a touchback.
Mariota gave the ball back to WSU when he was hit in the pocket and fumbled. It was his first turnover of the season.
The Cougars capitalized, hitting on a fourth-down pass of 12 yards for a touchdown to pull within 27-14.
Then Mariota was hit and lost the ball again and WSU scored on the 41-yard runback by Xavier Cooper.
Tyner, the freshman from Aloha, answered with a 66-yard TD run, as Oregon went in front 34-21.
The Ducks stopped another WSU march with an end zone interception by Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.
Then an Oregon drive went for nothing as Marshall fumbled in the red zone with 1:16 left in the half.
Andrew Furney of WSU kicked a 49-yard field goal on the final play, making the score 34-24 for the Ducks.
Oregon came out in the second half with a determined look. The offense immediately went 80 yards in seven plays to give the Ducks a 41-24 advantage. Mariota threw to Keanon Lowe for 10 yards and the TD.
A pick by Oregon's Avery Patterson led to a Duck TD, as Marshall broke loose for a 30-yard run to paydirt. Oregon 48-24.
Receiver Josh Huff got his turn early in the period, scoring on a dive across the goal line at the end of a 17-yard pass from Mariota, who scrambled away from pressure on a night when he felt as much heat from a defense as he has all season. Oregon 55, WSU 24.
Mitchell's interception runback gave the Ducks a 38-point cushion.
Jeff Lockie replaced Mariota at QB, and Oregon coasted the rest of the way.
Score by quarters
WSU 7 17 0 14 -- 38
Oregon 20 14 14 14 -- 62
Oregon Marcus Mariota 57 run (pass failed), 11:26
Oregon Byron Marshall 1 run (Matt Wogan kick), 8:43
WSU -- Dom Williams 11 pass from Connor Halliday (Andrew Furney kick), 6:36
Oregon Marshall 26 run (Alejandro Maldonado kick), 5:47
Oregon Thomas Tyner 1 run (Wogan kick), 13:21
WSU River Cracraft 12 pass from Halliday (Furney kick), 6:10
WSU Xavier Cooper 29 fumble recovery run (Furney kick), 5:35
Oregon Tyner 66 run (Maldonado kick), 4:40
WSU Furney FG 49, 0:00
Oregon Keanon Lowe 10 pass from Mariota (Wogan kick), 13:00
Oregon Marshall 30 run (Maldonado kick), 9:31
Oregon Josh Huff 17 pass from Mariota (Wogan kick), 13:36
Oregon Terrance Mitchell 51 interception return (Maldonado), 13:01
WSU Gabe Marks 8 pass from Halliday (Furney kick), 3:48
WSU Bobby Ratliff 3 pass from Halliday (Furnkey kick), :11