By REED NELSON
7:32 p.m. — Welcome to the SkoDucks LiveBlog! I apologize for last week’s omission, but a wedding called. It’s not like I missed anything anyways (Nods head reassuringly, doesn’t believe the words on the screen…). Water over the bridge. The Ducks coming at us live from CenturyLink Field, in a matchup against the lowly Washington State Cougars. Only they aren’t. I like Todd McShay, but he’s fast becoming that friend in the dorms that makes a few funny jokes during move-in week and then sits on your couch for the entire term. I’m all for McShay, but portion control, ESPN, portion control.
7:35 p.m. — And the cat just unplugged the TV over at the Yellow Submarine. I’m all for omens, and this isn’t a good one. Thanks for the weirdness, Meow Ming, you’ve scared all of us over here.
7:37 p.m. — We’re back! And Ifo Ekpre-Olomu a.k.a. The I.E.O Speedwagon, exhibits some excellent downfield coverage. I must say, I might be more excited to watch the Oregon secondary than I am to watch Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas try to redeem their very terrestrial performance against Arizona. 3 & out for the Cougs.
7:40 p.m. — Can’t tell what color the numbers on Oregon’s jersey’s are, but I like it. They remind me of the CGI Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie poster (which is all they could remind me of. I never saw the film, have a strong allegiance to the live-action iteration). DAT with his first catch. OohWee, what’s up with DAT.
7:42 p.m. — Oregon hits the offense’s Easy Button, hands the ball to Kenjon Barner who takes his time reversing field before picking up a few key downfield blocks, allowing him to walk into the endzone. OK, not exactly walk, but he wasn’t touched. Love those. First Oregon touchdown, 13:16 to play in the first quarter.
7:43 p.m. — The craftiness was not flattering on the conversion attempt, however. The Ducks branded Gotcha special teams tactics got them. Oregon 6, Washington State 0.
7:48 p.m. — Kiko Alonso is everywhere. That is all.
7:48 p.m. — Connor Halliday has a nice arm. His feet are all over the place, but he can at least ride the gun for a little while. Which brings us to a commercial break.
7:55 p.m. — After playing like savages on the first drive, Oregon’s defense looks slow on Drive Two. As I was typing, however, Taylor Hart came up with a big sack. I’ll keep the negativity flowing. Or not. Pass Interference penalties are derailing what little backfield solidarity the Ducks have managed to muster on this drive.
8:01 p.m. — Big stop on 3rd and goal. Field goal, Washington State. Oregon 6, Washington State 3.
8:05 p.m. — DAT gets a kickoff! Andddd nothing. I’m not trying to sound disappointed, but his early play has set me up for it. I can’t help it. And WIll Murphy picks up a big gain on second-and-13. Josh Huff is on the field, folks. Decoy status, but whatev’s. It’s just nice to see #1 out there again.
8:08 p.m. — I’m no O.C., but I think they’ve been forcing the issue the last couple of weeks with DAT. This is the Pacific Northwest, we like our everything organic. Take note fellas.
8:10 p.m. — Mariota’s first TD of the year is a beauty. AND we got an Aloha Chakabra celebration. I can’t wait to get like 14 more of those this season. Oregon 13, Washington State 3.
8:12 p.m. — Ball’s out! Oregon forces a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. Cue the Lyerla-Bennett combo that worked wonders last week. I love it. Spike Hammersmith style.
8:14 p.m. — Mariota got crunched on a 3rd-and-eight scramble. Got thwacked, twice. Welcome back kid. And welcome back Colt. But Bennett blows it. Can’t handle the snap, and, guess who???? Travis Long. Not the guy to get going. Turnover on downs. I suppose the universe is now balanced, but the Ducks don’t handle balance well. Turn it Chip, turn itttttt.
8:19 p.m. — Off the punt, Kenjon catches a wide-open 33-yard touchdown pass from Mariota. It didn’t even have to be a good pass, no one picked up Barner on a simple wheel route. Blown coverage, seven points. But with Rob Beard, that extra point is always an adventure. Oregon 20, Washington State 3.
8:21 p.m. — The energy gets sucked out of the room via a Caldwell almost-run-back. But I.E.O with the pick in the endzone! On the deflection! But these referees are going to give me a coronary. A bulls%#! personal foul (well maybe it wasn’t) give the Cougs the ball back on the two. Oregon 20, Washington State 9.
8:26 p.m. — So Connor Halliday had nothing to do with that touchdown, but — casual observation here — Washington State looks way better without that anchor Jeff Tuel weighing down Leach’s supposedly fearsome Air Raid. I’ll stay tuned.
8:28 p.m. — Mariota targets Huff for the first time all game. And Brock Huard has informed us that Huff has missed the “last previous game,” which is helpful. Mariota’s awful decision on the following play wasn’t. And this is why Mariota is scary. Stay in the pocket Marcus, let the game come to you. You are frustrating the room. And — on a totally unrelated note. Like other channel note — Arizona’s helmet’s are awesome. I have no idea what you’d call that color (burnt copper maybe? I feel like that would be greener…) but I like it.
8:35 p.m. — 3rd-and-goal for WSU, and this game is way too close to comfortably write it off. But I.E.O. has done a helluva job on Marquess Wilson, getting in on every play. I like the Speedwagon, and he’s just a sophomore. Oregon 20, WSU 12.
8:40 p.m. — Here’s a rarity: WSU tried to kick an onside kick right away, and Oregon actually recovers it. That play is one of those that seems to work on the 12 times its tried every decade, but that’s just speculation. Oh yeah, the great play gave the ball to Oregon inside WSU’s 40. Barner breaks off a couple double-digit runs to start the drive. Things feel normal again. Except Huff can’t get a call. And Oh. No. Rob Beard is on… the… field. *Gulp* Beard! From 34! Oregon 23, Washington State 12.
8:46 p.m. — Stop talking about Seattle, Brock. We get it. You live there.
8:48 p.m. — Washington State is testing Oregon’s secondary, that’s official. They’ve passed the ball on 23 of their first 30 plays from scrimmage. Not working so well, but Oregon is keeping it interesting.
8:54 p.m. — Where is Kenjon??? DAT handles the ball on all three of Oregon’s short-yardage situations, forcing a punt. Coach Kelly needs to get DAT into space. The between the tackles game is not a good look for the Mamba.
9:04 p.m.— Connor Halliday hits Bartalone (loosely related to the pre-made pastas) for a 29-yard TD. Brock Huard proceeds to drool over the mic in the booth. He is next going to compare Halliday to Joe Montana and Dan Fouts’ more accurate, stronger armed offspring. Oregon 23, WSU 19.
9:07 p.m. — After a great first quarter, Mariota is now confusing the piss out of me. I have no clue what he’s seeing out there.
9:20 p.m. — Obligatory Mike Leach Pirate Fetish Reference. And I have no idea why Washington State extended this half.
9:21 p.m. — First half takeaways: Marcus Mariota, after starting 6-6, has looked shaky. His confidence and decision-making have not been rosy in his first trip away from Autzen, but they haven’t been disastrous either… Lot of limping at the end of the half, most notably Kenjon Barner and WSU’s Connor Halliday, who were both a bit gimpy as the half wound down… DAT needs space… Oregon needs to reestablish its offensive identity… Washington State is either playing really well, or Oregon is playing really poorly, but either way Travis Long’s name has been uttered way too much for Oregon to be comfortable with their slim lead. Oregon 23, Washington State 19.
9:43 p.m. — And we’re back. Lot’s of flags, not a lot of action. Offsetting, however, so let’s consider the second half’s first play from scrimmage a let.
9:47 p.m. — Travis Long’s name is still getting mentioned way too much. Get on it, coach. Kthankxbye.
9:49 p.m. — The Lyerla Leap! I love watching Colt Lyerla jump over DB’s. It’s a blast. Mary-OH-tah. Say it with me. Mary-OH-tah.
9:52 p.m. — DAT with his first TD in two weeks. Good thing too, it was getting dangerously close to breaking out the mouthful of “De’Anthony” if he didn’t rack one up soon. *Cue DAT pun* Staples, now DAT was easy. Oregon 30, Washington State 19.
9:58 p.m. — After a chorus of expletive-laden reactions, Oregon’s Terrance Mitchell doesn’t, in fact, get jobbed on a pass interference call and it goes the other way. The only reason I note this? It’s awesome to watch a mood swing in a room from anger to disappointment to elation to slight embarrassment.
10:00 p.m. — Avery Patterson becomes the third Duck corner in the last two weeks to take an interception to the house, and Oregon hangs 14 points on the Cougs in less than two minutes. These corners are opportunistic. I like opportunistic. Oregon 37, Washington State 19. No mercy…
10:13 p.m. — I’m ignoring my normal aversion to the number 13 in all forms. Mariota has made two bad reads after his best of the game. But Kenjon Barner gets his third touchdown of the day on burst of speed not seen since Fast Five and punches it in from 10. Weirdest penalty of the game contender: Rob Beard flagged for a false start after the Barner touchdown. No matter, Beard knocks it through. Oregon 44, Washington State 19.
10:17 p.m. — Oregon is a touchdown away from covering the 30.5-point spread. Help me out Chip, I’m 3-0, closing in on 4-0 save this game. I could use this after an 0-5 week last week. Foot on the gas. Just thought I should mention it. P.S. Do coach’s accept wishes like stars?
10:23 p.m. — Mike Leach clearly had a plan to test Ifo Ekpre-Olomu coming into this game, but the sophomore corner has responded brilliantly. When lined up in man coverage, he’s been more than impressive, he’s been lockdown, I.E.O. Speedwagon Island all night. Oregon’s pass coverage has been brilliant for two weeks in a row. Lovely trend coming into next week’s showdown against a now-confident Keith Price.
10:31 p.m. — What a difference five days makes. On Monday, Mariota’s pick would’ve been ruled simultaneous possession and the refs would’ve called it with 13 minutes to play. Oh God, I typed it again. Figure it out Reed. On a positive note, Oregon State won 38-35, pushing my record against the spread (and on the moneyline) to 4-0.
10:39 p.m. — Gamebreaker. Kenjon Barner breaks off the best run of the Ducks’ season, by far. Taking the ball outside the tackle box on the right hash on a read-option, Barner got held up by WSU defense. He then broke a couple tackles, picked up a fantastic block on the right sideline, then displayed NCAA Track Championship level speed 80 yards to paydirt. The run gave him 195 yards on the ground for the game, and it was his fourth TD. It was gorgeous. K.B., you’ve got a fan. Oregon 51, Washington State 19.
10:46 p.m. — Huard has the audacity to label Oregon the “team of the West Coast.” He even thinks USC will be angry by the title. He also thinks that the Backstreet Boys will be upset with One Direction’s popularity and that Jennifer Love Hewitt should totally be pissed about getting passed over to play Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games.
11:01 p.m.— I have trouble believing that Mike Leach doesn’t keep his kids in a closet if they misbehave. I’ve never seen a coach express less confidence in a quarterback than he just did with Jeff Tuel. And how did Tuel respond? By busting the spread, squashing my dreams and throwing a 26-yard touchdown pass. FML. Oregon 51, Washington State 26.
11:10 p.m. — Signing off prematurely, yet fully bitter. Oregon was supposed to win, and decidedly, but that last touchdown robbed me of my first perfect week against the spread this season. And the Oregon band’s Bad Romance rendition isn’t improving my mood. So much for the epic five-team-parlay that wasn’t. Nelson, Out. Final Score: Oregon 51, Washington State 26.