Sep 21, 2014 2:40 AM
No. 2 Oregon holds off Washington State, 38-31
The Associated Press
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) Marcus Mariota threw for 329 yards and five touchdowns as No. 2 Oregon held off Washington State 38-31 on Saturday night in a matchup of two of the top offenses in the nation.
Devon Allen and Keanon Lowe each had two touchdown receptions for Oregon (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12), which has won eight straight games against Washington State.
Connor Halliday threw for 436 yards and four touchdowns for Washington State (1-3, 0-1), which boasts the nation's top passing attack. They came into the game as 24-point underdogs, but stayed close the entire way.
Washington State played stout defense in the first half, sacking Mariota five times and recording seven tackles for losses, while holding the Ducks to a total of 210 yards. The score was tied 21-all at halftime.
However, the Cougars' offense stalled in the second half, as the Ducks outscored them 17-10 to take the win.
Mariota completed 21 of 25 passes with no interceptions. Halliday was 43 for 63.
Washington State outgained the potent Oregon offense 298 yards to 210 in the first half.
The Ducks then drove to the Cougars' 15 on the first drive of the second half, but Matt Wogan missed a 32-yard field goal.
Oregon recovered a fumble by Washington State's Jamal Morrow on its own 35. On fourth-and-10, Mariota ran for 28 yards to the 8-yard line. On the next play he threw a touchdown pass to Pharaoh Brown for a 28-21 lead with 4:32 left in the third.
WSU replied with an 87-yard drive that ended with Quentin Breshears' 30-yard field goal to pull to 28-24 early in the fourth.
However, Oregon marched down to the WSU 17, where Wogan kicked a 34-yard field goal to extend the lead to 31-24 with 11:04 left.
Halliday then led the Cougars on a 75-yard drive, with a 54-yard pass to Morrow covering most of the distance. River Cracraft caught a 5-yard touchdown pass in the end zone to tie the score at 31-31 with 8:57 to go.
Oregon came right back with a 79-yard drive in nine plays, with Mariota passing to Lowe for a 6-yard touchdown pass and a 38-31 lead with 5:33 left.
The Cougars weren't done, as Halliday's 34-yard pass to Vince Mayle brought WSU to the Oregon 35. But Washington State stalled and turned the ball over on downs with 3:34 left.
Last year, Halliday threw the ball an NCAA-record 89 times as Oregon beat the Cougars 62-38 in Eugene.
Oregon had beaten its first three opponents this season by an average score of 52-18.
Washington State scored first, taking possession at its own 44 after Oregon punted on its first possession. Halliday threw completions on all five plays and hit Dom Williams in the back of the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown pass and a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
The Couguars had a chance to extend the lead but Breshears hit the left upright on a 29-yard field goal.
Oregon took over on its 20 and Mariota connected with Allen at midfield on the first play, and Allen outran the efense for an 80-yard touchdown play that tied the score.
Washington State regained the lead on its next possession as Halliday hit Dom Williams in the end zone with an 8-yard scoring pass on 4th and 2. Halliday threw for 167 yards in the first quarter.
Mariota threw a 57-yard touchdown pass to Lowe to tie the score at 14-all early in the second quarter.
After the Cougars turned the ball over on downs at the Oregon 31 on their next possession, Mariota ran for 41 yards on the Ducks' first play. He later threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Allen in the end zone to give Oregon its first lead at 21-14 with just under 9 minutes left in the first half.
Washington State replied with a 14-play drive that covered 74 yards, with Halliday passing connecting with Rickey Galvin on a 6-yard pass to tie the score at 21-all with 2:47 left in the half. The drive was aided by facemask and pass interference penalties against Oregon.