Mario Cristobal says UO learned valuable lessons against then-No. 7 Stanford that can help vs. No. 7 Washington
The Ducks are probably tired of looking back at the one that got away.
But there were some valuable lessons for No. 17 Oregon to take away from the 38-31 overtime loss to then-No. 7 Stanford on Sept. 22 at Autzen Stadium.
Attention to detail in the red zone, ball security in crunch time and closing out a quality opponent are on the to-do list this time as No. 17 Oregon prepares to host No. 7 Washington on Saturday at Autzen Stadium (12:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2).
“As a season goes on, any type of experience you have is always very useful and applicable as you go forward,” coach Mario Cristobal said it his Monday press conference in the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex. “That’s something that I think our guys have kept in mind. We certainly don’t think we’re the same team that we were a year ago. We certainly don’t feel we’re the same team as we were three weeks ago.”
If the Ducks (4-1, 1-1) want to be Pac-12 champions they’ll almost certainly have to upset the preseason favorite Huskies (5-1, 3-0).
Washington has won the past two meetings by an average score of 54-12, but Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert was making his first career start in the 2016 game at Autzen and missed last year’s loss in Seattle due to injury.
The Huskies have won their last two conference games by a touchdown — a 27-20 home win over Arizona State and last week’s 31-24 win at winless UCLA.
Washington is a three-point favorite over Oregon.
“I think what stands out is the competitive nature of the Pac-12 is incredible,” Cristobal said of getting a chance to watch other games during his team’s open date. “It’s anybody’s conference. I mean, the league is wide open.
“You see monster plays being made in all three phases by every opponent at some point in time or another. I think that was exciting to see, that gets our players fired up.”
Colorado (5-0, 2-0) is the only remaining unbeaten team in the Pac-12, and Washington is the only team in the North Division without a conference loss.
“With every rep, with every down, with every game that goes by, we feel like we gain a little more ground and make more progress towards what we want to do and what we want to be,” Cristobal said.
Oregon’s open date allowed several injured players to get healthy, including backup quarterback Braxton Burmeister, who underwent minor knee surgery three weeks ago.
“He moved around (Sunday) pretty well,” Cristobal said. “So we feel good about him potentially being full-go as early as (Tuesday), which would be great.”
True freshman Tyler Shough is still listed as Herbert’s backup in the depth chart.
Starting defensive end Austin Faoliu and tight end Jacob Breeland, who missed the California game with injuries, are “good to go” for Washington.
Cristobal said running back CJ Verdell, who was held out down the stretch during the road win in Berkeley as a precaution after tweaking a knee, is back at full strength.
Wazzu kickoff time
Oregon’s game at Washington State on Oct. 20 will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Fox.
The Ducks have lost three consecutive games to Mike Leach’s Cougars, who are enjoying s bye week after a 5-1 start (2-1 Pac-12).
Washington is 3-0 at Martin Stadium this season. Oregon lost 51-33 in Pullman in 2016.
This is the first time the Ducks have played three consecutive games against ranked teams since the 1997 season. Oregon lost to No. 20 Stanford (58-49), No. 15 Washington State (24-13) and No. 18 UCLA (39-31) en route to a 7-5 finish. …
Dillon Mitchell has 344 receiving yards in the Ducks’ two Pac-12 games this season, which is only five yards shy of the program’s two-game record. …
Oregon leads the Pac-12 and is tied for 12th nationally with eight interceptions. Washington quarterback Jake Browning is completing 66.9 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns and five interceptions this season.