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Marcus Mariota, Oregon continue success against Washington


It was throwback week in Eugene as Oregon celebrated the 20th anniversary of a program-defining play known to Ducks fans simply as "The Pick."

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While things weren't as dramatic or close Saturday as they were back in 1994, the result -- a 45-20 win over rival Washington -- was the same for the Ducks, as the team's offense appears to be back on track after some early-season struggles.

» Can't-miss Moments: Top plays of Week 8 in CFB

Marcus Mariota was as efficient as ever, throwing for 336 yards and two touchdowns despite facing one of the most active defenses in the country. He'll enter Week 9 as one of only two quarterbacks in the country without an interception this season on more than 100 attempts.

The key to his continued success was another great outing from the Oregon offensive line, which has shown improvement since left tackle Jake Fisher returned from injury last week in a win over UCLA.

While Mariota drew the early attention, freshman running back Royce Freeman stole the show against the Huskies. With Thomas Tyner out with an unspecified injury, Freeman rushed for 169 yards and four touchdowns to all but put away the Ducks' bitter rival himself.

Washington's front seven played solidly for stretches and pressured Mariota a handful of times but just couldn't keep the dam from bursting when it came to big plays. The Ducks converted 11-of-18 third downs and 3-of-4 fourth downs.

Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson came into the game with a whopping five defensive touchdowns but couldn't add another as he was often dropping into coverage or chasing down a tailback. Defensive tackle Danny Shelton recorded a half sack on the third play of the game but was held mostly in check by center Hroniss Grasu.

Linebacker Hau'oli Kikaha, who entered the game ranking second in the country in sacks, came to play in Eugene on Saturday and added to his season total with 2.5 sacks of Mariota (he now has 12.5 sacks this season) and a number of pressures off the edge.

The loss was the first for new Huskies head coach Chris Petersen in the series and came against his good friend on the opposite sideline, Mark Helfrich. It was Oregon's 11th consecutive win in the series.

This might be a completely different season -- especially in the wild Pac-12 -- but in the end, it was the same old when these two Pacific Northwest teams met.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.



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