Adams leads Ducks to 12th straight over Huskies 26-20
SEATTLE (AP) Vernon Adams Jr. loves playing against and now owning a victory over Washington.
Make it a dozen straight for Oregon and another year of misery for the Huskies being dominated by their neighbors to the south.
”It’s always fun playing here. I’m glad I got over that hump and got a win against them. It was fun,” Adams said.
Adams returned after missing the previous two games to throw for 272 yards and two touchdowns, and the Ducks (4-3, 2-2 Pac-12) won their 12th straight over Washington 26-20 on Saturday night.
Adams sat out Oregon’s win over Colorado and double overtime loss to Washington State last week with an injured finger on his throwing hand. He returned just in time to give Washington (3-3, 1-2) even more nightmares.
Adams was a thorn for the Huskies a year ago when he was still playing at Eastern Washington and threw for 475 yards and seven touchdowns on the Huskies. Under center for the first time since making a brief appearance against Utah on Sept. 26, Adams was back to tormenting the Huskies.
”He made some plays … Certainly the ability to improvise and make some plays when things aren’t perfect, he did a nice job,” Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said.
Adams threw two touchdown passes to Darren Carrington, returning after missing the first six games of the season after failing an NCAA-administered drug test during the football playoffs last season. Adams hit Carrington for 36 yards on Oregon’s first possession then capped the Ducks first drive of the second half with a 9-yard strike and a 23-6 lead.
Adams finished 14 of 25 passing. Royce Freeman added 138 yards rushing and Bralon Addison added an 8-yard TD run.
”When you have a quarterback, not that they don’t have confidence in anybody else, but when the team has confidence in the quarterback or a little bit of juice because of the quarterback – just as they do for Royce or DeForest Buckner – that elevates everybody,” Helfrich said.
At times during the first half Adams showed rust after missing 2 1/2 games. But he was nearly perfect when it counted most on third downs. Adams was 5 of 6 for 182 yards and a touchdown in the first half on third downs. It started immediately when he found Dwayne Stanford for 48 yards on third-and-7 on Oregon’s first possession. Adams capped that drive with another third-down gem, hitting Carrington for 36 yards and a 6-0 Ducks lead.
Adams added another third-down conversion to Carrington for 29 yards that led to Addison’s TD run. Adams’ best throw came on the final drive of the first half when he escaped the sack attempt of Elijah Qualls and hit Addison for 44 yards after cornerback Kevin King tripped. That conversion led to Aidan Schneider’s 28-yard field goal and a 16-3 Oregon lead at halftime.
”Just film study,” Adams said. ”Seeing what they really like to do on third down and identifying the coverage that they’re in and knowing where you’re going with the ball.”
Washington’s Myles Gaskin broke free for a 72-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter to get the Huskies within 23-13, but Addison answered by returning the ensuing kickoff 87 yards to the Washington 9. Oregon failed to capitalize with Schneider missing a 32-yard field goal wide left, but he later hit from 24 for a 26-13 lead with 9:04 left.
Washington pulled within 26-20 on Jake Browning’s 3-yard TD pass to Jaydon Mickens with 3:35 remaining but the drive took nearly 5 1/2 minutes and the Huskies had only one timeout remaining. Oregon converted one first down but Adams was incomplete on third down and the Ducks punted back to Washington at its 20 with 1:11 left.
K.J. Carta-Samuels entered at quarterback with Browning having suffered a shoulder injury and was intercepted by Ugo Amadi with 24 seconds left.
Washington coach Chris Petersen said he was unsure the details of Browning’s injury.
”We just run the plays. The coaches, they call them in and we just run them. They pace us,” Mickens said.
Gaskin finished with 155 yards rushing, but his long TD run was the only big play against an Oregon defense that had given up 530 yards to Utah and 641 last week to Washington State. Washington finished with 385 total yards and committed seven penalties in the first half.