Oregon’s defense puts up a good fight, but Ducks fall to WSU 33-10
The Oregon defense had to step up as freshman quarterback Braxton Burmeister made his first collegiate start against Washington State; and they did – to start, at least – as the the Cougars scored 20 unanswered points in the second half, ultimately beating the Ducks 33-10.
“I just think that we just shot ourselves in the foot,” safety Tyree Robinson said. “We’ve got to work on coming out at halftime and getting stops. We were still in the game when it was 20-10. We just can’t come out at half and let them find a rhythm.”
Offensively, two false starts to begin play left the Ducks with a 1st-and-20 right off the bat. A promising moment followed when Burmeister showed a burst of speed to rush for six yards, followed by a 16-yard run from Royce Freeman to give the Ducks a first down. The Ducks went on to go for it on fourth-and-one, but Freeman was stuffed for no gain and Washington State took over the ball on the 41-yard line.
“Our offensive line is our bread and butter,” head coach Willie Taggart said. “Fourth-and-one, we feel like we can get that and we didn’t do a good job of executing on those plays like we did earlier in the year. We’ve got to do a good job of executing on those plays to help a young guy out, and we didn’t do a good job of that.”
Immediately after, on his first pass of the game, Luke Falk connected to Jamal Morrow for a 41-yard touchdown, passing Oregon legend Marcus Mariota for second in the Pac-12 all-time passing touchdown list. Less than two and a half minutes into the game, Washington State led 7-0.
On the Ducks’ ensuing drive, Aidan Schneider made a 20-yard field goal to put three points on the board. The Ducks then held the Cougars to a three-and-out and capitalized on a 12-yard Washington State punt to score on first play of the drive. Burmeister connected to tight end Jacob Breland for a 30-yard touchdown to lead 10-7.
To start the second quarter, Falk stormed downfield completing two consecutive passes of over 15 yards, followed by a 21-yard run from Gerard Wicks to put the Cougars in the redzone; however, the Oregon secondary made a few good plays and held Washington State to a field goal.
“The secondary did a good job,” Robinson said. “The defense as a whole just did a good job fighting adversity and just getting stops when our offense needed a stop.”
The Cougars scored another field goal five minutes later to take back the lead going into halftime.
At halftime, the Oregon coaching staff told the defense to hold Washington State to as many field goals as possible. The Ducks did that, forcing the Cougars to try for two field goals during the second half, but it wasn’t enough.
Falk came out of the locker room and drove down the field, connecting to Renard Bell on a 10-yard touchdown pass just minutes into the second half. And just like that, the Cougars extended their lead to ten.
The Oregon defense could only do so much as the offense couldn’t make anything happen. Oregon offensive three-and-outs, as well as a fumble and two interceptions from Burmeister, allowed for the Cougar offense to get as much time on the field as they could. The two teams split time of possession pretty evenly, but the Cougars used their time more efficiently than the Ducks.
Two more field goals and a 25-yard touchdown pass led to Washington State’s 33-10 win.
The defense did its part in keeping the game relatively close. For an Oregon offense that was leading the country in scoring up to this game, 33 points scored against would usually result in an Oregon win.
Heading to Stanford next week, the Oregon defense will have to step up even more for the Ducks to have a chance.
“This year is a different mindset with the defense,” Robinson said. “We know that we’ve just got to go out there and fight. It’s been like that, but we’ve just got to go and play a little bit harder.”
Follow Kylee O’Connor on Twitter @kyleethemightee
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