The Washington State Cougars gave the Oregon Ducks a tough first half, but the Ducks pulled away in the second half by outscoring their opponents 28-7 to win the game 51-26. The Cougars were able to cut the deficit to 23-19 after Connor Halliday threw his only touchdown pass in the game with 6:10 left in the second quarter.
Marcus Mariota didn’t have the best game, but neither starting quarterback averaged six yards per attempt. Halliday did manage to throw 348 yards and had one less pick than Mariota, but he still finished with a poor 5.8 Y/A.
The reason why Oregon won this game is because of the dominant display from Kenjon Barner, who averaged nearly ten yards per carry and had four touchdowns. He was able to haul in three passes for 37 yards, and three of his four touchdowns came on the ground. Barner showed why he is one of the best running backs in the country by coming just five yards short of rushing for 200.
Safety Avery Patterson is the replacement at the rover for John Boyett, and fans outside of the Pac-12 don’t seem to realize that Patterson was a great third safety. His pick six today shows his big-play ability in addition to the solid run support he provides the Ducks.
Washington State brought Jeff Tuel on for the final series, and he completed all four of his passes for 62 yards- including a 25-yard TD to superstar WR Marquess Wilson. Maybe they should have brought him into the game sooner. In any case, Wilson was, as expected, the standout for WSU with 12 catches for 182 yards. For those of you who want to know, that’s 15.2 yards per reception for him.
Although Josh Huff was able to play, no receiver had more than the 38 receiving yards than Will Murphy did (on two catches). De’Anthony Thomas was able to haul in six passes, but they only went for 28 yards in total. Both Thomas and Mariota added touchdown rushes for the Ducks.
This was a great game for Oregon, because the pass defense had another great game despite allowing Wilson to reach 182 receiving yards. Washington State had so much offensive production in the passing game because they just kept on passing. Oregon’s defense is one of the best in the Pac-12, and they solidified themselves at No. 2 with their dominant second-half performance against the Cougars.
Barner is hands down the player of the game, because he had 232 yards of total offense and four touchdowns.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.