It wasn’t the smoothest route to a win, but in front of 70,867 at Husky Stadium, Oregon was able to find a way against their rivals Washington. The final of 35-31, made it back-to-back wins in the rivalry for Oregon. That was following two straight losses to the rivals up North.
Oregon Beats Washington: Takeaways
This Team is TOUGH
Not that this wasn’t something that was known already. However, this was the toughest task this team has faced all season.
After Washington scored on the first drive of the second half on a Puka Nacua touchdown catch, this team faced a 14-point deficit, it’s biggest of the season.
At that point, it was now or never on both sides of the ball. If Oregon was going to come back to win the defense was going to need to get stops. That doesn’t seem hard based on their production so far this season, but between the second quarter and the start of the third, Washington was having their way.
The offense was also going to need to kick it in gear. There was plenty of time to still be able to use the ground game, but they were running out of drives.
However, the defense only allowed a field goal from that point on, and the offense was nearly unstoppable.
The Conditioning On This Team is Excellent
Fans of opposing teams like to poke fun at Aaron Feld and his mustache. However, in this game, Oregon was clearly in better shape.
When they got worn out in the season-opener against Auburn, Washington was the team getting worn down.
That was shown in the running game. The running game was fairly effective most of the game, however, from about the mid-point way of the third quarter, Oregon was able to get nearly what it wanted on the ground.
Oregon vs Washington: Takeaways Continued
The Running Back Depth is Pretty Good
Coming into this season, running back depth was somewhat of a concern. That concern should have been put to rest following this one.
This certainly isn’t the greatest stable of running backs Oregon has ever had. However, CJ Verdell looked good early, but he got dinged up.
Behind him, Travis Dye and Cyrus Habibi-Likio did more than carry the load. In fact, the game ball for this one should go to Habibi-Likio.
He became the hot hand in the second half, and the coaching staff decided to ride him. That ended up being a good decision. He was able to make tackles miss because of his power, and combined with the offensive line, he was clearly wearing down the Washington front.
Dye deserves a ton of credit as well. He’s lost some playing time because of the emergence of Habibi-Likio and because of the two fumbles he had against Cal.
However, Dye split reps with Habibi-Likio on the drive that kicked the offense into gear. He also had the longest run of the day for 21 yards.
Marcus Arroyo Deserves Credit
This will probably be the hardest one for some fans to admit. Offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo has been popular to throw dirt on when the offense struggles.
However, none of the offensive struggles at any point today deserve to be thrown at him. When the offense sputtered in the second quarter, that was largely on Justin Herbert.
Herbert started off hot but had a brutal stretch that consumed most of the second quarter. However, once Herbert dialed it back in, the offense worked.
The eventual game-winning touchdown was the same action Washington was beat on in last seasons win on the final play, but this time Herbert pulled it and threw it out to Jaylon Redd.
However, the play-call of the year has to be his fourth and three call that resulted in a Mycah Pittman touchdown.
Oregon keeps it close with another score 🙌 pic.twitter.com/1HjMNO4oiP
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) October 19, 2019
Marcus Arroyo is far from a perfect play-caller. However, he gets unfairly blamed at times for the players not doing their jobs.
Oregon can clearly run the ball, and there isn’t any complaining about Arroyo dialing up run plays when they are working.
Could the offense be more creative? Yes. Could Herbert be unleashed more often? Absolutely.
However, the offense bailed out a defense that hasn’t needed bailing out. And the offense scored 21 points in the second half and put up 434 total yards against a very good defense in a tough place to play. Also, more of that production came in the second half.
At least for one week, the fan base should give it a rest with Arroyo.
Top Photo: Jennifer Buchanan/USA TODAY Sports