EUGENE, Ore. - The score - a 53-16 Oregon victory - might indicate the early Washington misfires on offense would have mattered little.
But that did not prevent UW coach Steve Sarkisan from lamenting some of the poor plays made by his receiving corps in support of quarterback Keith Price, who was making his first career start for the Huskies.
“I would just like to see us make our plays and catch the ball,” Sarkisian said.
It started on the Huskies’ first play. Receiver Jermaine Kearse had gotten behind the Ducks’ secondary on a post pattern, but reacted slowly to Price’s underthrown pass – the quarterback was hit right when he threw – and the ball was ultimately knocked away.
“I thought it was going to come right into my arms,” said Kearse.
UW faced a third-and-2 on its final drive of the first quarter, and Price was right on the money with a pass to D’Andre Goodwin, who flat dropped the ball, forcing a punting situation.
And the one that could have changed the game’s complexion, at least temporarily, came midway through the second quarter, with the Huskies trailing 3-0.
Following a Ducks turnover, the Huskies had a third-and-7 from the Oregon 33. Devin Aguilar was open on a slant, and Price’s pass could not have been placed in a better spot for a first down. But Aguilar could not hang on to it, and Erik Folk came in to try a 52-yard field goal, which he made.
“We had to help (Price) out and make plays,” Aguilar said. “A couple balls we could have done more with at the time.”
NICE OREGON FANS
From the UW sideline, the jeers turned into cheers from the Ducks’ faithful when the game was close early in the second half – much to the surprise of the players.
“They were telling us, ‘Good job.’ I’ve never heard that from an opposing crowd, especially Oregon,” Huskies linebacker Cort Dennison said. “We’re used to having some mean things said to us from those guys.”
The riverboat-gambler side of Sarkisian tends to pop up on fourth down. But against Oregon he elected to be conventional in his decision-making.
On punting on fourth-and-1 from the UW 40 late in the first half, he said: “I didn’t want to be desperate.”
On going for a field goal on fourth-and-4 at the Ducks’ 29, trailing 25-13 in the third quarter: “By kicking the field goal, it was a feel-good drive for us. It keeps momentum going.”
Oregon, the nation’s top-scoring team, was shut out in the first quarter for the first time this season. The Ducks have won 15 consecutive games at Autzen Stadium. Ducks backup quarterback Nate Costa (knee) suffered a season-ending injury on a tackle by Desmond Trufant after a botched field goal in the third quarter. UW’s only in-game injury was to safety Justin Glenn (head), who suffered a concussion. Willis Wilson, a walk-on running back from Lakes High, not only made the travel roster, he was a game captain, along with Adam Long. Sarkisian was non-committal after the game when asked if he expected Jake Locker (rib) to be back for the UCLA game Nov. 18.
Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 firstname.lastname@example.org