SEATTLE — Jeremiah Masoli returned from a knee injury to run for two scores, No. 12 Oregon blocked a punt for a touchdown and used a fake field goal to set up another TD, and the Ducks overwhelmed border rival Washington 43-19 on Saturday.
Oregon extended its dominance of Washington to six straight — longest in the history of the series — and like the previous five this one wasn’t close. Oregon took advantage of Washington’s mistakes and the Ducks’ defense forced three turnovers, corralled Jake Locker and didn’t let the Huskies into the end zone until the fourth quarter.
All six wins in the Ducks streak have been by more than 20 points.
Unlike their last outing two weeks ago at UCLA, the Ducks (6-1, 4-0 Pac-10) got their offense moving. Masoli was a spectator against the Bruins and Oregon needed a kickoff return for a score and an interception return for another TD to get the win.
Last week’s open date gave Masoli time to heal and with it Oregon got back its engine. His running ability kept Washington’s defense guessing all day whether Masoli was keeping the run or handing off to his stable of shifty backs.
When needed, Masoli’s passing was on point. And the frantic speed Oregon calls plays exposed Washington’s lack of defensive depth.
Masoli completed 14 of 22 throws for 157 yards and a touchdown. He also added TD runs of 1 and 3 yards as part of his 54 yards rushing.
LaMichael James, the workhorse of Oregon’s ground attack since LeGarrette Blount’s suspension, rushed for 154 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a 56-yard TD sprint in the fourth quarter to cap this Oregon party.
Now the Ducks can look toward next Saturday night’s Halloween showdown against No. 4 Southern California in Eugene.
While Oregon’s offense found its rhythm, Locker and the Huskies could never solve Oregon’s mix of blitzes and pressures. Locker was sacked four times and when he was able to get throws off his receivers didn’t help with a handful of drops.
Locker completed 23 of 44 for 266 and two interceptions. Chris Polk had 104 yards rushing for Washington.
Coming off a crushing 24-17 loss at Arizona State last Saturday, Washington (3-5, 2-3) didn’t show the same resiliency as earlier in the season.
The Huskies’ crippling mistakes didn’t help, and the first was the most damaging.
Washington led 3-0 early in the second quarter and lined up to punt. The Ducks overloaded the right side of the line, allowing Rory Cavaille to come free and block Will Mahan’s punt. The ensuing scrum dribbled the ball into the end zone where Tyrell Irvin recovered for the touchdown. While Washington’s defense was getting set for the extra point, Nate Costa ran in for the 2-point conversion and a 8-3 lead.
Washington quickly drove to the Oregon 4, but an incompletion and two runs by Demitrius Bronson left Washington with fourth-and-goal at the 2. Locker rolled out but couldn’t find anyone open and his toss was intercepted by Javes Lewis.
Masoli then led a crushing drive. A sack and penalty left Oregon second-and-36 at its own 37. But an 11-yard run by James and a perfect 32-yard touch pass from Masoli to David Paulson made the conversion. Washington defense held but on fourth-and-5 at the Huskies 15, Costa caught the defense again and faked the field goal attempt, running 7 yards for the first down. Two plays later, Masoli scored from the 1.
Oregon then scored on its first three drives of the second half and led 36-6 before Washington got another score.