NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS, Associated Press
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — Washington State coach Mike Leach is famous for his Air Raid passing offenses.
Turns out the Cougars have a ground game too.
Washington State rushed for 280 yards and six touchdowns to beat Oregon 51-33 on Saturday, sending the Ducks to their third consecutive loss.
Jamal Morrow, Gerard Wicks and James Williams each ran for two touchdowns for Washington State (2-2, 1-0 Pac-12), which was coming off a bye week. Washington State defeated Oregon in double overtime last year, a game that sparked the Cougars’ run to a 9-4 record.
“I don’t think anybody expected six touchdowns out of us,” Morrow said. “It’s great.”
“I don’t think tonight was our full potential,” Wicks said. “You’ll see a way better running team.”
Leach said the passing of Luke Falk, who threw for 371 yards, helped set up the ground attack.
“The biggest thing was the passing was real effective,” Leach said. “We got them off balance with the pass.”
Oregon (2-3, 0-2) has lost three straight games and held a team meeting earlier in the week to seek a turnaround.
Royce Freeman, who missed the last game with a leg injury, ran for 138 yards and three touchdowns for Oregon.
“We didn’t have any big plays of any kind tonight,” said Oregon coach Mark Helfrich. “Both sides put a ton of pressure on each other at the wrong times; the offense was not answering, the defense was not answering.”
“Sticking together is paramount, and we will,” Helfrich said.
Washington State piled up 651 yards of total offense, to 416 total yards for Oregon.
Falk completed 36 of 48 passes with one touchdown.
“Almost every play they called was a pass and they checked to a run,” Helfrich said. “That balance was very difficult for us to stop.”
Oregon’s Dakota Prukop completed 14 of 22 passes for 132 yards.
Washington State came in averaging 121 rushing yards per game.
Washington State opened the scoring with Falk hitting Gabe Marks on a 7-yard touchdown pass.
Oregon replied with an 11-yard touchdown run by Freeman to tie the score at 7-7.
Washington State marched 75 yards on its next drive, with Wicks running four yards for the touchdown and a 14-7 lead.
Freeman bulled over from the 1 to tie the score at 14-14 midway through the second quarter.
Washington State went 80 yards in seven plays on its next series, including a 40-yard bomb from Falk to Kyle Sweet. Morrow ran the final 10 yards for a touchdown and a 21-14 lead.
Oregon went three-and-out and Washington State got the ball near midfield. Wicks scored again, this time on a 2-yard run, for a 28-14 lead at halftime.
Washington State opened the second half by marching to the Oregon 5, but Erik Powell’s 22-yard field goal attempt was blocked. He has missed all four of his field goal attempts this season.
Oregon immediately gave the ball back, when Dwayne Stanford fumbled after a reception and WSU’s Robert Taylor recovered. He returned the ball to the Oregon 26. But Washington State turned the ball over on downs when Falk’s pass to Sweet in the end zone fell incomplete.
Prukop was then sacked in the end zone by Hercules Mata’afa for a safety and WSU led 30-14.
After a WSU punt, Freeman ran 75 yards for his third touchdown to cut Oregon’s deficit to 30-20 late in the third. Oregon’s conversion pass failed.
The Cougars replied with a 75-yard drive that ended with Morrow’s 14-yard touchdown run for a 37-20 lead.
Williams added a 38-yard touchdown burst midway through the fourth that gave Washington State a 44-20 lead.
Charles Nelson returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown to cut WSU’s lead to 44-26.
Williams added a 3-yard touchdown run.
Oregon: The Ducks lead the all-time series 47-40-7, but are clearly not as formidable as in recent years. Their defense looks suspect.
Washington State: The Air Raid offense also has a ground attack this year. The Cougars appear to be rebounding from an 0-2 start, and have topped 50 points for two consecutive games. WSU, which beat the Ducks 45-38 in double overtime last season, notched consecutive wins over Oregon for the first time since 2002 and 2003.
Oregon hosts No. 10 Washington
Washington State plays at No. 7 Stanford, which lost big at Washington on Friday.
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