SEATTLE — Oregon completed its biggest second half-comeback since the Mike Bellotti era with a 35-31 win over Washington on Saturday afternoon at Husky Stadium.
The Ducks fell behind 28-14 early in the second half before pulling out a 35-31 win.
Here are five takeaways from Oregon’s win over the Huskies:
1. The North is nearly settled
Oregon is the only team in the North Division above .500 in conference play and is close to clinching the title with five games left on the schedule. At 4-0, the Ducks are two games ahead of second-place Oregon State. Washington, Stanford and California all have three losses and the Ducks have the tiebreaker over each of those schools. Washington State also has three losses as it prepares to visit Oregon next week. The Ducks can still lose two games and win the North as long as Oregon State does not win the rest of its games this season.
2. Defense defined bend-but-don’t break
Oregon’s defense allowed more points against the Huskies than it did in the previous five games combined, but the Ducks still had some game-saving plays in the fourth quarter from that side of the ball.
After the Ducks closed within 31-28 entering the fourth quarter, the defense forced the Huskies to go three-and-out on consecutive possessions to get the ball back for its offense to put together a game-winning drive. Washington’s final drive reached the Oregon 35-yard line before the Ducks stopped UW on fourth down to seal the win with 54 seconds left.
3. Habibi-Likio emerges
Cyrus Habibi-Likio, who had been on the third unit behind CJ Verdell and Travis Dye most of the last two seasons, led Oregon with 14 carries while picking up a career-high 81 rushing yards.
Verdell ran 11 times for 48 yards in the first half before Habibi-Likio got all of his carries in the second half. UO coach Mario Cristobal said Verdell got “a little bit nicked up, nothing serious” and he wanted to ride the hot hand in the second half and that turned out to be Habibi-Likio.
After establishing a career high in rushing yards for the third game in a row, Habibi-Likio could be playing his way into a featured role in Oregon’s backfield.
4. Replacing Breeland
Spencer Webb had Oregon’s only two catches by a tight end during the first game since leading receiver Jacob Breeland was lost for the season due to a knee injury in the Oct. 11 win over Colorado.
Webb, who lined up mostly at wide receiver during the first half of the season, caught a 12-yard touchdown pass on Oregon’s first drive and finished with 31 yards. Ryan Bay and Hunter Kampmoyer both saw extensive action at tight end without catching a pass.
“Hunter and Ryan both played an excellent game and their physicality really made a huge difference for us running the football today,” Cristobal said.
5. Lenoir goes down
The only significant injury suffered by the Ducks came in the second quarter when cornerback Deommodore Lenoir suffered an undisclosed injury while making a tackle and did not return.
True freshmen Mykael Wright and DJ James both filled in for Lenoir. Wright had two tackles, including one for loss and James had one tackle.
On the other side, Thomas Graham led tied for the team lead with seven tackles and had his 28th career pass breakup to tie for 10th in school history.