For about a half there, the Washington State football team put a mighty big scare into the Oregon Ducks.

But then Oregon’s ground game got going… and stayed going.

The Ducks’ 2 impressive backs, Bucky Irving and Jordan James — who came into the game ranked third and first in the conference in yards per carry — both topped 100 yards and Bo Nix came just shy of hitting the 300-yard mark through the air in a 38-24 win over the reeling Cougars.

All in all, it was an ideal rebound win for the Ducks, who put the disappointing Washington loss behind them.

Here are 3 takeaways from the Oregon blowout.

Oregon’s balanced offense takes it to another level

After losing 4 starters from a top-5 offensive line, there were some questions about how the Ducks’ unit would gel this season.

Early this season, it was clear there would be little drop-off. But Saturday took it to another level.

Oregon had arguably its best offensive performance of the season against a solid Washington State defense, racking up 544 yards of total offense. But it was how they did it that really stood out.

  • Bucky Irving: 15 carries, 129 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • Jordan James: 13 carries, 103 yards
  • Bo Nix: 18-of-25 passing for 293 yards and 2 scores

Oregon averaged 8.1 yards per rush and 11.7 yards per pass attempt. Nix wasn’t sacked. Altogether, the Ducks dominated.

Dickert pulls a Lanning on multiple fourth downs

It’s not so much the aggressiveness. I’m one who believes in going for it on just about any reasonable fourth-down scenario.

But what is boldness without brains? What is brashness with no sense?

One week after Oregon failed on 3 important fourth-down plays in an eventual 3-point loss to Washington, the shoe was on the other foot for Jake Dickert and offensive coordinator Ben Arbuckle.

On a fourth-and-3 late in the second quarter with the score tied at 10, Washington State went for it on the Oregon 39-yard-line. That much is fine. But then the Cougars called a trick play, with Ward handing off to Nakia Watson, who flipped it to Lincoln Victor for a wide receiver pass.

It’s called the Philly Special, but there was nothing special about it. The pass flew about 12 years above any Wazzu target, giving the ball back to the Ducks, who promptly scored on the ensuing drive.

Later, early in the fourth quarter, the Cougars went for it on fourth-and-7 from the Oregon 41-yard-line. This time, the ball was in Ward’s hands, but Victor ran a pass route at a depth of about 5 yards. Didn’t matter: The ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage, but Victor would not have made the line to gain anyway.

Then on a fourth-and-1 deep in Oregon territory with just under 4 minutes left, Washington State called a designed roll-out pass that was predictably snuffed out.

It’s one thing to have the courage to go for it. But you’ve got to have the call.

Ducks pass rush comes alive again

After racking up 12 sacks in routs of Colorado and Stanford in back-to-back 42-6 wins, the Ducks defense struggled to navigate Washington’s talented offensive line last Saturday, totaling just one sack. That was a big culprit for Oregon’s eventual 3-point loss, as Michael Penix and Co. had their way against the Ducks’ D.

Against a Washington State offensive line that surrendered 5 sacks the last two weeks, the Ducks registered a half-dozen. Each by a different player.

Ward had a fine day, completing 34 of his 48 passing for 438 yards and a score, but his inability to get anything going on the ground — and the Cougars running game struggles overall — spelled doom for WSU.