PULLMAN, Wash. — Oregon survived behind a patchwork offensive line thanks to another big night from Marcus Mariota, outscoring Washington State in the second half to win 38-31 in Martin Stadium on Saturday night.
How it Happened: Mariota was sacked five times in the first half as the Cougars fought to a 21-21 halftime tie. The Ducks shored things up just enough in the second half, getting a go-ahead touchdown pass to Pharaoh Brown late in the third quarter from Mariota, his fourth of five in the game.
Who Stood Out: Mariota finished 21-of-25 passing for 329 yards and the five touchdowns, shrugging off the pressure put on Oregon’s inexperienced offensive line. Left tackle Tyrell Crosby and right tackle Matt Piersoneach made his first career start at those respective positions, and the Ducks struggled with protection and penalties all night. The tide shifted when DeForest Buckner forced a fumble and Arik Armstead recovered it in the third quarter, setting the stage for Brown’s go-ahead touchdown.
What it Means: The second-ranked Ducks survived their first conference road trip with a victory, and now have a bye week in which to try and get healthier and shore up the offensive line. Oregon improved to 4-0 and is now 1-0 in Pac-12 play.
Odds and ends: Devon Allen scored two touchdowns, giving him five for the season, tied for the UO lead this season with Royce Freeman. … Freeman started the game, and is thought to be Oregon’s first true freshman starter at running back since Derek Loville in 1986. … Mariota had never been sacked more than three times in a single game.
Next Up: The Ducks enter a bye weekend in which they’ll practice Tuesday through Thursday, before beginning their next full practice week Saturday in anticipation of a Thursday night home game against Arizona on Oct. 2 (7:30 p.m. PT, ESPN)