SEATTLE — The Ducks aren’t kidding about the next man up cliche.
No. 12 Oregon’s third-string tight end and third-string running back stepped into the spotlight to make up for the absence of Justin Herbert’s favorite target during the 35-31 comeback victory over No. 25 Washington on Saturday at Husky Stadium.
Spencer Webb, the redshirt freshman tight end who is still playing in the slot, caught a 12-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter to set the tone for Herbert’s signature performance.
Cyrus Habibi-Likio, who is still behind starter CJ Verdell and Travis Dye on the depth chart, converted a key fourth-and-1 from the Oregon 34-yard line and finished with 81 yards rushing and a touchdown to spark the running game.
Eight days after losing tight end Jacob Breeland, the team’s leading receiver, to a season-ending knee injury, Oregon finished with 434 total yards (154 rushing, 280 passing) while overcoming a 14-point deficit.
“The O-line was blocking their butt off, a lot more holes were opening up. I just took advantage of it. It’s hard not to with these studs up front,” Habibi-Likio said. “I really poured my heart out in this game. It’s not hard to do when the man to the left and right to you are doing the same.”
Tight ends Hunter Kampmoyer and Ryan Bay both made their presence felt without catching a pass.
“They played an excellent game and their physicality made a huge difference in us running the football today,” coach Mario Cristobal said.
Herbert threw two touchdown passes to Jaylon Redd, including the game-winner with 5:10 remaining, and a 36-yard touchdown to Mycah Pittman on a fourth-down play.
“Going for it on fourth down twice that drive was big for us,” Herbert said. “Mycah makes plays, and that's all he's done since he showed up. That was good to see.”
Washington’s Jacob Eason was 23-for-30 passing for 289 yards with there touchdowns and no interceptions. The 6-foot-6 NFL prospect had plenty of time in the pocket until Oregon defensive coordinator Andy Avalos was able to dial up some pressure late in the game.
Backup nose tackle Popo Aumavae’s 12-yard sack of Eason, the only sack of the game for either defense, proved to be a key play.
Eason completed a 20-yard pass on third down, but threw an incompletion on the decisive fourth-and-3.
“I was tired,” Aumavae said. “I remember the ball was hiked, I did a pass rush move, Troy (Dye) came in the other side … I just jumped on him.”
On Oregon’s opening drive, center Jake Hanson’s snap sailed over the 6-foot-6 Herbert’s head in the red zone. The senior quarterback calmly made the recovery, advanced the ball back up field, slid and drew a 15-yard penalty for a late hit.
Herbert finished the drive with the scoring strike to Webb.
The Huskies answered with two touchdowns and had all of the momentum when Eason had to retreat on a third-and-7 to recover a botched snap for a loss of 19 yards.
After Washington’s punt, Oregon drove down and tied the score 14-14 on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Herbert to Redd.
Cornerback Deommodore Lenoir was injured with 7:31 remaining in the second quarter and did not return.
Troy Dye missed some time with a hand injury but returned after getting it wrapped. After the game, Dye told a sideline television reporter that he broke his right thumb in the first half.
• Herbert extended his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass to 35, and Redd caught a touchdown pass for the sixth consecutive game. Both are the longest active streaks in the nation.
• The 14-point deficit is the largest Oregon has overcome in the second half since a 32-26 overtime comeback win over Purdue in 2008 after trailing 20-6 at halftime.
• The Ducks are 4-0 in Pac-12 play for the first time since 2013 and on a six-game winning streak for the first time since 2015.
• Offensive linemen Shane Lemieux and Calvin Throckmorton, who both grew up in Washington, were team captains along with defensive standouts Dye and Jevon Holland.
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