PORTLAND, Ore. — Justin Herbert hit Jaylon Redd for a 5-yard touchdown with 5:10 left, the last of his four scoring passes, and No. 12 Oregon rallied from a 14-point deficit 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.
Herbert finished 24 of 38 for 280 yards. He threw TDs of 12 yards to Spencer Webb and 16 yards to Redd in the first half.
The victory gave Oregon (6-1, 4-0 Pac-12) complete control in the North Division. Four of the five other teams already have three conference losses, with Oregon State at 2-2 the closest to the Ducks.
Washington (5-3, 2-3) reached the Oregon 38 with 2 ½ minutes left, but Eason was sacked on second and 6 by Popo Aumavae and lost 12 yards. It was the first sack of the game by either team.
The Huskies faced third and 23 after a false start but got 20 yards back on a pass to Marcus Spiker. On fourth and 3, Eason's pass for Nacua was high and the Ducks celebrated a second straight win over their rivals.
Eason was 23 of 30 for 289 yards and three touchdowns. He was nearly perfect for a stretch of the second and third quarters when he threw TD passes 48 yards to Jordan Chin, 5 yards to Andre Baccellia and his strike to Nacua through a tiny passing window.
Oregon's defense was exposed in ways it hadn't during its five-game win streak after dropping its season opener to Auburn, but it made the plays it needed to in the fourth quarter to get Washington off the field and the ball back in Herbert's hands.
Habibi-Likio had 81 yards rushing and a 14-yard touchdown. Salvon Ahmed rushed for 140 yards and a score for Washington.
Washington was without second-leading rusher Sean McGrew for "health reasons," according to the school. McGrew rushed for 106 yards in the win over Arizona and had 110 yards earlier this season against BYU. Washington was already without Richard Newton (foot).
Washington also played the majority of the game without leading receiver Aaron Fuller, who was in briefly in the first quarter and never returned.
Oregon cornerback Deommodore Lenoir was injured midway through the second quarter and went immediately to the locker room.
Washington WR Chico McClatcher, who has suffered several leg injuries in his career, limped off the field after being tackled awkwardly on a screen pass in the third quarter.
Oregon: The Ducks' defense that allowed four touchdowns all season gave up three in the first half to Washington. Oregon had allowed one touchdown in its previous 63 opponent drives, but Washington scored TDs on consecutive first-half possessions. The Huskies' 414 total yards were the most allowed this season.
Washington: The Huskies averaged 6.5 yards per play but were just 3 of 13 on third downs, including some questionable wildcat formation calls that didn't work.
Oregon: The Ducks return home to host Washington State next Saturday.
Washington: After its first open week of the season, the Huskies will host Utah on Nov. 2.