Five years in the making, the #11 Oregon Ducks (7-1, 5-0) finally claimed a victory over the Washington State Cougars (4-4, 1-4) late Saturday night by a score of 37-35 to continue their push for the College Football Playoff. A game-winning field goal as time expired was all the Ducks needed to eliminate the Cougars’ longest win streak in the history of the matchup dating back to 1901. CSN photographer Jack Ellis was in Autzen Stadium capturing the game’s biggest moments and plays.
Recent WSU Alum Hunter Dale returned to the defense this season as a part of the coaching staff less than a month ago, and he brings with him all of the energy that made him such an influential piece of the 2018 roster. Dale is currently working as a defensive quality control assistant.
The Ducks running backs shredded the Coug D for over 300 yards combined, averaging 6.5 yards per attempt on 47 rushes. Justus Rogers (37) chases down Travis Dye (26); Rogers had a career high 9 tackles on the night.
Defensive Line Coach Jeffrey Phelps speaking to his unit after forcing a punt on Oregon’s first possession of the game. The Ducks won the coin toss and elected to receive the opening half.
Somehow Max Borghi turns this…
Into this. The speedster carried the offense from start to finish, accounting for 124 yards from scrimmage (54 rushing, 70 receiving).
Senior Oregon QB Justin Herbert (10) did not need to utilize his arm thanks in part to a historic effort by Verdell and the Oregon running backs, but his 70% completion percentage and 222 passing yards reflected why NFL scouts regard him so highly. Seen above, Herbert races for a 12-yard gain while being tracked down by Justus Rogers (37).
*Mini rant warning* Red zone play calling has been downright atrocious this season, a perfect example being WSU’s first offensive drive of the game. After getting to the Oregon 3-yard line, the Cougs attempted five(!) consecutive passing plays, two of which were nullified by holding penalties caused from pass protection. The SAME THING happened in the third quarter, when the Cougs trailed 24-17 and inexcusably attempted three straight passes at the 5-yard line and settled for a field goal. We have one of the best running backs in the conference in Max Borghi (21). Use him.
Sophomore Travell Harris (5) hurdles a defender in Oregon territory. Harris compiled 37 receiving yards on 3 receptions with long of 23 yards in the second half.
Ron Stone Jr. (10) and Willie Taylor III (27) track down Justin Herbert after the pass rush broke down Herbert’s pocket. Stone Jr. would secure the sack, and finished the night with a team high 1.5 sacks.
Ducks S Jevon Holland (8) picked off Anthony Gordon on a 3rd and 25 in a drive that was seemingly doomed from the start, taking it to the house for the first of either players’ careers.
KR Travell Harris (5) was an absolute beast in the return game, averaging 25.9 yards per return (181 total yards on 7 returns) and putting the Cougs in favorable field position.
OL Robert Valencia (74) hoists WR Renard Bell (9) after a 15-yard score in the waning seconds of the first half to tie the game at 17. Bell’s infectious personality makes him a fan favorite among the receiving corps.
LB Jahad Woods (13) wraps up OU RB CJ Verdell (7) with incoming support from CB Marcus Strong (4). Woods set a career record with 13 tackles, but was overshadowed by Verdell’s own personal career record 257 rushing yards.
QB Anthony Gordon (18) escapes the pocket and scrambles for a 7-yard gain, thanks in part to strong Offensive Line play by Abe Lucas (72) and Co. Gordon threw for his sixth 400-yard game in 2019, but two costly interceptions blemished an otherwise outstanding night for the Senior.
Duck CJ Verdell (7) drags Cougar Armani Marsh (35) on a chunk play sometime in the forth quarter; Verdell has so many plays of this caliber that frankly its hard to pinpoint when this actually was…
In front of an announced crowd of 59,361, the Cougs were defeated in Autzen for the first time since 2013. Despite being 14-point underdogs, WSU went heel-to-heel with the inevitable PAC 12 North champions and proved that they can compete with anybody in the conference.
WR Tay Martin (1) brought hope to Cougs everywhere when he was hit in stride and drug defenders for yardage en route to a 48-yard gain late in the forth quarter. The drive ended in Brandon Arconado’s second TD of the night, giving the Cougs their first lead since the second quarter with just 60 seconds remaining.
Graduate transfer OU WR Juwan Johnson (6) put the final nail in the coffin for WSU with a 24-yard reception that moved the Ducks inside the 10-yard line. OU’s kicking game was highly questionable, missing an extra point earlier in the game, so the gain was crucial in giving the Ducks a reasonable chance at victory.
Final Thoughts: Going toe-to-toe on the road against the #11 team in the nation is no small feat, but once again the Cougs find themselves adding to the loss column. WSU is without a doubt one of the more talented programs in the PAC 12, but a lack of leadership is evident and greatly decreases the ceiling for the rest of 2019. Another bye week approaches, followed by the forth road contest in the last five games for the Cougs, as they head to Berkeley to take on the Golden Bears. Go Cougs.
Want more Sights from the Field? Check out my previous posts!
2019 Sights from the Field: WSU Football vs Colorado Buffaloes Edition
2019 Sights from the Field: WSU Football @ Utah Utes Edition
2019 Sights from the Field: WSU Football vs UCLA Bruins Edition
2019 Sights from the Field: Advocare Texas Kickoff Special Edition
2019 Sights from the Field: WSU Football vs UNC Bears Edition
2019 Sights from the Field: WSU Football vs NMSU Aggies Edition
2019 Sights from the Field: Crimson and Gray Spring Game Edition
2018 Sights from the Field: Valero Alamo Bowl Special Edition