The Washington Huskies suffered a tough nail-biting 30-27 loss in overtime to the Oregon Ducks.
In what many expected to be a close game between the two teams, the game did not disappoint as the rivalry is now back.
“We knew it would be a physical game and we knew our guys would give it everything they had. That’s just kind of how it is when you’ve got two good teams squaring off.” Petersen said after the game.
The fast start the Huskies wanted to get off to didn’t happen and it allowed the Ducks to settle into the game early.
After being down early the Huskies answered back with a FG of their own by kicker Peyton Henry to tie the game at 3-3 and seize back some momentum.
A couple of minutes later, the Huskies would score their first TD of the game with a nice run by RB Salvon Ahmed for a 10-3 lead in the first quarter.
It was ten unanswered points by the Husky offense and things were looking good for the Huskies early.
Meanwhile, the Ducks didn’t flinch themselves as they marched down the field and scored a TD by wide receiver Dillon Mitchell to tie the game at 10-10.
With quarter one in the books, and a tie score game, it certainly had the makings of a classic rivalry showdown game.
The second quarter was a defensive quarter, with the Huskies finally breaking through with a TD score with 3:12 left in the half.
Once again, Ahmed would scamper around the edge for two-yards and score his second TD of the game.
The Huskies took a 17-10 lead and gained momentum heading towards the half, but the Ducks once again had an answer of their own.
One of the biggest stories of the half was Husky RB Myles Gaskin being injured and taken to the medical tent for observation.
Nobody knew if he would return for the second half, but eventually he would return and clearly was not the healthy, as he was used sparingly in the second half.
In the second half, the Ducks would strike first in the middle of the third quarter with a 1-yard TD by RB CJ Verdell.
The score put the Ducks up 24-17 and in control of the game with the Huskies needing to find an answer of their own.
That answer would come at the end of the third quarter when Browning found WR Ty Jones for a 43-yard TD reception from what appeared to be a broken play.
Both teams entered the fourth quarter tied at 24-24 and the game was anybody’s to grab at that point.
The story of the fourth quarter was field position and missed opportunities by both teams.
Down the stretch the Huskies were mostly without their two star running backs in Gaskin and Ahmed.
“We feel good about our running back depth. Those two kids can run hard and make plays and I’m actually glad they got a chance to do something in a meaningful game.” Petersen said after the game.
Towards the end of regulation, the Huskies drove the ball down the field, and got the ball into field goal range for Henry to win the game with 3 seconds left on the clock.
After Oregon called a couple timeouts to ice Henry and make him think about it, the Husky kicker missed the game winning 37-yard FG wide to the right.
It was a demoralizing miss for the Huskies and all the momentum swung to the Ducks heading into overtime.
The Huskies lost the coin toss in overtime and the Ducks elected to play defense first and put the Husky offense on the field.
A nice opening run by Pleasant put the Huskies on the 6-yard line and knocking on the door.
What followed was a stalled drive by the Husky offense as they could not punch in a TD from the 3-yard line.
Henry came in and barely made 22-yard FG just inside the upright for the Huskies to take 27-24 lead.
With Oregon taking the field for their possession, the Ducks made it down to the 6-yard line themselves and had a decision to make.
The Ducks called timeout to strategize their 3rd and Goal play and try to win the game with a TD.
With the Huskies thinking Herbert would throw the ball, they collapsed on slot receiver Dillon Mitchell and Herbert handed it off to Verdell for the 6-yard TD run up the middle.
Pandemonium ensued for the Ducks and their fans as they rushed the field and celebrated their 30-27 victory over their rivals from the North.
It was a heartbreaking loss for the Huskies as it certainly eliminated their dreams of making the College Football Playoff this season.
Realistically the best they can hope for now is a Pac-12 Championship and a berth into the Rose Bowl game in Pasadena, California.
There will be questions about how the end of regulation went down for the Huskies. Head coach Chris Petersen elected to put the game in the hands of his field goal kicker instead of letting Browning try to win the game himself.
“I thought he played well. That kid’s a tough kid. He’s not going to back down ever. He threw some tough, pin-point balls in there and he stood up in the second half.” Petersen said after the game about Browning’s performance.
Some are wondering why Petersen didn’t run another play or two on 3rd and 1 instead of running the clock all the way down to 3 seconds for the kick.
“We thought we might get one more play, and we didn’t quite have the play that we liked. We definitely were within Peyton’s range and he had the wind at his back. So we thought we’d win it right there.” Petersen said after the game.
This game will be analyzed a hundred different ways throughout the coming days but the 37-yard field goal miss was certainly within Henry’s range.
“I feel bad for Peyton. That’s a lot of pressure for anyone, let alone a young guy. I wish they didn’t have that many timeouts. But Peyton’s a hard-working guy and he’s made a lot of field goals for us in his short career, and he will be back and he will be better.” Petersen said after the game.
The loss is a devastating loss for the Huskies as they will now have to regroup and recalculate their postseason goals.
“We’ve got a tough road here. Everyone in the North’s pretty darn good. These guys will reload. This will fuel our fire and we’ll practice harder and analyze our mistakes and analyze the good things we did and build on those and come out next Saturday and swing hard.” Petersen said after the game.
Injury wise, the Huskies took a toll as Gaskin, Ahmed and CB Jordan Miller were taken out of the game at certain points along the way.
“They’re banged up. That’s football here in Game 7.” Petersen said after the game about Gaskin and Ahmed.
The Huskies will most likely be without DL Jaylen Johnson for the first half of their next game as he was ejected for targeting in the fourth quarter.
“It’s a tough one. He’s coming off the edge and the guy turns right back into him. It is what it is and those are the rules.” Petersen said after the game.
Up next for the Washington Huskies (5-2, 3-1) is the Colorado Buffaloes (5-0, 2-0) this coming Saturday, October 20th at 12:30pm at home at Husky Stadium.