SEATTLE (AP) — For all he’s accomplished in his Oregon career, Justin Herbert had never faced the challenge of rallying from this much of a deficit, on the road and against the Ducks’ most hated rival.
Doing so would all but lock up the Pac-12 North, keep Oregon on the very fringes of the College Football Playoff conversation and put a nail in Washington’s hopes of repeating as conference champs.
“I don’t even think we did that in high school. It was a lot of fun today and glad we got the win,” Herbert said.
Herbert capped Oregon’s rally from a 14-point second-half deficit with a 5-yard TD pass to Jaylon Redd with 5:10 left, and No. 12 Oregon rallied to beat No. 25 Washington 35-31 on Saturday.
What was expected to be a defensive showdown turned into an offensive shootout with both Herbert and Washington quarterback Jacob Eason taking the spotlight.
Eason was great.
Herbert was better.
Down 28-14 after Puca Nacua caught a 33-yard TD pass from Eason on the opening drive of the second half, Oregon’s touted defense finally showed up and gave Herbert a chance to rally the Ducks. The Ducks pulled within 31-28 on the final play of the third quarter when a well-designed screen pass on fourth-down found Mycah Pittman, and the freshman raced untouched 36 yards for the score.
The Ducks’ defense forced consecutive three-and-outs, and Oregon marched its way to the go-ahead score. Between Travis Dye and Cyrus Habibi-Likio, the Ducks went 70 yards in 3 ½ minutes, and Herbert found Redd in the flat for the final 5 yards and the lead. It was the last of Herbert’s four TD tosses.