Keith Price walked into the room with his right hand wrapped in a club of ice.
He did not want his injured thumb to be a distraction, so during the week he said he wouldn’t use it as one. The message: How he played wouldn’t be dictated by the status of his thumb.
Yet the reality of a situation can be different than the one communicated. Price, in his last bid to finally beat Oregon after three previous failed attempts, was hampered to some degree by his aching thumb.
“It hurt,” Price said. “No doubt.”
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What it meant in the grand scheme of Washington’s 45-24 loss to No. 2 Oregon, though, isn’t quite so clear.
Price opened the game looking every bit the cool and poised quarterback who nearly took down Stanford the week before. He completed 7 of his first 8 passes and had the Huskies hanging with the Ducks.
From then on, he bounced somewhere between adequate and inconsistent. In the second quarter, he completed just 1 of 4 passes and threw a costly interception when he and receiver Jaydon Mickens got mixed up on the route.
“I thought I was a bit too cautious at times not wanting to lose momentum,” Price said. “Because I knew once I turned the ball over, that’s what Oregon does. They feed off it. I think I could have been a little more aggressive in the second quarter, but I just tried to manage the game from there on.”
Price hit on the issue that haunted Washington all day: Oregon is so explosive that any misstep, any mistake or turnover, can quickly turn into seven points. The Ducks leave almost no margin for error, and while Price and the offense were often solid, they weren’t perfect.
Price finished 19 of 32 for 182 yards, one touchdown and that one interception.
He also had the heat turned up on him in the second half, when Oregon turned its pass rush loose. He was sacked four times in the game – he was sacked five times against Stanford – and didn’t have long to throw in the second half.
He also wasn’t able to throw the ball the way he usually does, something he admitted after the game. He finished with his second-lowest completion percentage of the season (59) and second-fewest passing yards (182).
“Besides the second quarter, I thought I managed the game well,” Price said. “Obviously there were some throws I wish I had back, some reads I wish I had back. But just playing under the circumstances that I am, I think I played decent.”
Decent is fine in many games. Just not against Oregon.
Jayson Jenks: 206-464-8277 or firstname.lastname@example.org