Ducks Make It A Dozen Over Dawgs
Oregon welcomed a couple of offensive weapons back into the fold and extended its win streak over Washington to 12 games Saturday night, beating the Huskies 26-20 before 69,285 in Husky Stadium.
How It Happened: The Ducks (4-3) welcomed Vernon Adams Jr. back from a two-game absence, and he proved to be a difference-maker along with receiver Darren Carrington. Back himself from seven games lost to suspension, Carrington caught a touchdown on the game’s opening drive, then another midway through the third quarter to give Oregon a 23-6 lead.
A week after squandering a late lead in a loss to Washington State, the Ducks’ ability to finish was tested again. Washington made it 23-13 with a 72-yard touchdown run by Myles Gaskin late in the third quarter, and the Ducks missed a field goal on the ensuing possession. That was Aidan Schneider’s first miss since last season’s Pac-12 championship game, and he atoned for it with a 24-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter for a 26-13 lead.
Washington then drove 71 yards in 12 plays to get within six on a touchdown pass from Jake Browning to Jaydon Mickens. Oregon had 3:35 to kill and moved the chains once to burn some clock, but punted it away with 1:11 to go. True freshman Ugo Amadi came up with an interception, however, and the Ducks’ win streak over UW reached a dozen.
Who Stood Out: Adams went 14-of-25 for 272 yards, including five passes to Carrington for 125 yards and the two scores. The difference in the game was Adams’ ability to extend drives by stretching the field vertically, an element the Ducks lacked in his absence. He had completions of 48, 36, 24, 29, 44 and 27 yards on the night, all on third down. Royce Freeman added 138 rushing yards on 27 carries, and Tyree Robinson led the defense with 11 tackles.
What It Means: The Ducks demonstrated resiliency once again, bouncing back from a loss for the third time this season. With Adams back behind center and a long preparation before the next game, there’s ample time for the offense to regain its firepower and get back to playing Oregon football.
Notable: Evan Voeller made his first career start on the offensive line, replacing Matt Pierson at left guard. … Robinson made his first career start at cornerback, with Juwaan Williams filling his normal spot at safety. … Bralon Addison’s second-quarter rushing touchdown was the first of his career. He also has touchdowns receiving, passing and as a returner in his career. … The Ducks held an opponent scoreless in the first quarter for the first time this season.
Up Next: The Ducks will practice Tuesday and Thursday of the upcoming week before reconvening Saturday to kick off preparations for their game Thursday, Oct. 29 at Arizona State.
Return of Adams
SEATTLE — Playing in a stadium where he accounted for seven touchdowns last year, in the offense he was handed the keys to this offseason, Vernon Adams Jr. looked right at home.
Adams returned to the UO lineup Saturday night, and led the Ducks to a 26-20 victory over Washington. Facing the Pac-12’s best defense over the first half of the season, Adams accounted for 284 yards of offense and repeatedly hurt the Huskies on third down, a dynamic element Oregon lacked in his absence three of the previous four games.
“Any time you can add a playmaker back to the team, it’s a big deal,” UO receiver Bralon Addison said.
Adams was a virtuoso on third down, completing passes of 48, 36, 24, 29, 44 and 27 yards in third-down situations over the course of the night. His only game action of the last month was a brief appearance in Oregon’s loss to Utah, in which Adams seemed skittish under pressure.
It was a different story Saturday.
“It’s film study — well, I was worried about my finger against Utah,” Adams acknowledged of the injury he suffered in Oregon’s season-opener, and played through in a narrow loss at Michigan State.
“This one, I just really studied hard all week. I knew where the coaches wanted me to go with the ball when they were in a certain coverage. I just went through my reads and tried to make the throws the best I can.”
Last season, while playing for Eastern Washington, Adams accounted for seven touchdown against the Huskies in a loss. His impact this time out was the difference in Oregon’s win.
The UO offense also welcomed back receiver Darren Carrington, who returned from a seven-game suspension during which the Ducks went 3-4. Adams and Carrington hooked up on the game’s opening drive, a 36-yard touchdown pass when Oregon was facing third-and-10.
Another Adams-to-Carrington connection in the second quarter, for 29 yards on third-and-12, helped set up Addison’s first career rushing touchdown. Addison hauled in a 44-yard pass on third-and-13 to set up an Aidan Schneider field goal just before halftime, and in the third quarter Carrington hauled in his second TD reception of the game.
“It just feels good to come back out and contribute to the win,” said Carrington, suspended following a failed drug test at the Rose Bowl last season. “It was hard; a couple times I wanted to cry, because I love football so much. It was just good to be back.”
Oregon’s defense, so used to protecting a lead over the last decade, also seemed energized by the return of Adams. Oregon led 23-6 late in the third quarter, before the Huskies rallied to make a game of it.
“Whenever the offense is making plays, driving the field, scoring touchdowns, we definitely feed off of that,” defensive end DeForest Buckner said. “And when we get big stops on D, they feed off us.”
Washington’s late rally was aided by the Ducks’ inability to keep pouring on points. Oregon was 4-of-5 in the red zone, with two of those drives resulting in field goals. Better red-zone efficiency will be a focus of the team’s upcoming bye week, Adams said.
“All glory to God — I’m just so blessed to be out there, really close to 100 percent, grinding with my teammates, just having fun,” Adams said. “The O line blocked their butts off; it was good having Darren Carrington back; and everybody else did their job. We’ve just got to eliminate some of the small penalties and stuff like that. … We’re going to keep getting better.”
Oregon at Washington - Postgame Notebook
Oct. 17, 2015