No. 17 Oregon upsets No. 7 Washington in redemption-filled overtime thriller

Originally Posted on Emerald Media via UWIRE

Three weeks after a devastating loss, when it seemed every card was against them, the No. 17 Oregon Ducks made all the right moves to upset the No. 7 Washington Huskies 30-27 in overtime, walking off with a 6-yard rushing touchdown by redshirt freshman CJ Verdell.

There were three seconds left on the clock. Washington kicker Peyton Henry took aim for a potential 37-yard game-winning field goal. Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal chose to use both his timeouts to ice Henry. After the first kick was pushed right and the second was good, Henry was given his third and final attempt to end the game.

If Henry made it, the Huskies would win. If he missed, the game would head into overtime. The sideline and crowd did their best to get in Henry’s head, but all anyone in green and yellow could really do was hope and pray.

“It’s really not fun,” Cristobal said. “It’s something you’ve watched since you were a kid. … You always ask, ‘Why do you ice the kicker? Why do you actually do that?’ Well, if we have a timeout, I’m gonna keep doing that. … You don’t have any other plays.”

Henry lined up for the kick and it was wide right. The Ducks were given a lifeline. They would get a chance to not only defeat their rival Washington for the first time since 2015, but to get their first overtime victory since October of 2015.

In overtime, it took a few big plays to send Autzen into a frenzy.

After the defense held the Huskies to a field goal — thanks to a run that was stuffed by Austin Faoliu and an incompletion by Washington quarterback Jake Browning — the offense took the field looking to put at least three points on the board.

The Oregon Ducks celebrate the win over UW. Oregon Ducks Football takes on University of Washington at Autzen Stadium on Oct. 13, 2018. (Devin Roux/Emerald)

Unlike the Stanford overtime drive, Oregon did not panic when trailing. The Ducks ran two times up the middle but were forced into a third-and-11 situation.

Despite Dillon Mitchell being the most obvious target (119 receiving yards and a touchdown on the day), quarterback Justin Herbert still found his go-to guy for a clutch 17-yard gain.

“That’s a play we run 20 times in practice,” Herbert said. “So I knew he was gonna get open.”

Two plays later, on third and 6, Verdell took the handoff to win the game. This, of course, comes just three weeks after Verdell had a heartbreaking fumble at the end of the Stanford loss. Saturday, however, Verdell didn’t need any consoling thanks to his 111 yards and two touchdowns.

“I always say things happen for a reason,” Mitchell said. “We were just out there sitting with CJ before we came in. I was definitely just looking at him, remembering the Stanford game and how bad it was. He was talking about how, at the end, people were trying to pick him up. … I was happy for him. I definitely was.”

The Stanford game could have been catastrophic, but players did not allow that result to beat them twice. The team came back and won what could be the program’s best victory since the 2015 Rose Bowl.

“I’ve been here for a lot of games, and I think that’s probably one of the best experiences that I’ve ever been a part of,” Herbert said. “For us to fight back like that and not lose focus was unreal. It’s great to celebrate with these guys.”

Follow Maverick Pallack on Twitter @mavpallack

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