Jimmy Lake told his team all week that Saturday’s game would be a “title fight.”

This is not what he meant.

Following Oregon’s 26-16 win inside Husky Stadium, players from both teams were restrained by their coaching staffs. Ducks backup quarterback Robby Ashford repeated, “This is our (expletive)! This is our (expletive)! This is our (expletive)!”, trash-talking the home team while motioning to the field. UW defensive lineman Kuao Peihopa and offensive lineman Gage Harty were held back by teammates and coaches.

“Throughout the whole game — this is something we talked about with our team — there was a lot of chipping going back and forth,” said Lake, whose comments about Oregon’s lack of “academic prowess” made waves this week. “It was obviously a rivalry game, and during the game that was happening.

“All I saw was there was guys chipping — 18- to 22-year-olds, and they were talking trash back and forth. I didn’t hear what they were saying. I thought our staff and their staff did a good job of separating the guys before anything seriously escalated.”

It was an ugly end to an ugly game.

Particularly for the Husky offense.

UW managed just 166 total yards on Saturday, going 3 for 12 on third down and 0 for 2 on fourth down. Husky quarterback Dylan Morris completed 15 of 27 passes for just 111 yards and an interception. The Huskies mustered 55 rushing yards and 2.3 yards per carry, and their leading receiver — tight end Cade Otton — totaled four catches for 30 yards.

“We didn’t play good enough on offense tonight,” Lake said. “We didn’t get enough first downs. We didn’t score enough points. We didn’t run the ball well enough. We didn’t throw the ball well enough, and we didn’t catch the football well enough.”

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Fallout from Huskies’ loss to Oregon

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And yet, UW had an opportunity to tie the game, trailing 24-16 with 2:14 left — when a desperation drive started at its own 10-yard line. What followed was an Otton drop, a Jalen McMillan drop and a Morris incompletion. On fourth-and-10, Lake made the controversial decision to punt from his own end zone with 1:59 remaining.

Long snapper Jaden Green sent a snap sailing over punter Race Porter’s head for the game-sealing safety instead.

“We had two timeouts, and if we punt the ball and we stop them, we’re going to have the ball with 50 seconds left to go down and score a touchdown. So that was the thought process there,” Lake said of the decision to punt on fourth-and-10 from his own 10-yard line. “We weren’t obviously planning on getting a safety there with our punt operation.”

Offensively, little went to plan. But the Huskies did start fast, thanks to freshman linebacker Carson Bruener — who sat on a crossing route, intercepted Oregon quarterback Anthony Brown and returned the ball 50 yards to the 6-yard line. Sixth-year running back Sean McGrew plunged into the end zone two plays later, bouldering up the middle for a 1-yard score. The Huskies took a temporary 7-0 lead.

After which, the offense collectively fizzled.

UW went three-and-out on each of its next three drives, accumulating a total of 25 yards. And after a 12-yard completion to McMillan netted Washington its first first down, Morris surrendered an interception two plays later — tossing an ill-conceived floater into triple coverage that Ducks defensive back Jordan Happle squeezed with a glove on one hand and a club on the other.

Washington kept finding ways not to score. On UW’s next drive, the Huskies marched all the way to the Oregon 23-yard line before McGrew took a direct snap and was unceremoniously stoned on fourth-and-one.

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But UW’s defense and special teams momentarily did their part. After Porter sent a bouncing 65-yard punt to the 1-yard line midway through the first quarter, linebacker Jackson Sirmon stood up Oregon running back Travis Dye for a safety to give UW a 9-3 lead. Porter dropped five of seven punts inside the 20, including back-to-back beauties at the 1- and 2-yard lines. Giles Jackson contributed a 43-yard kick return and a 21-yard punt return as well.

The problem?

Well, we’ve covered that already. UW had offensive drives end on the Oregon 46-yard line, the 50, the Oregon 42, the Oregon 24, the Oregon 46 (again) and the Oregon 49.

The Huskies scored zero points on those drives.

“(It was) so frustrating. So frustrating,” Lake said of UW’s inability to add offense after early highlights on defense and special teams. “You have a team like that on the ropes, in our stadium, and all those big plays that we’re making, those defensive stops that we’re making … extremely frustrating. Extremely frustrating.”

Then, inevitably, UW’s run defense disintegrated in the second half. Oregon’s opening drive of the third quarter spanned six plays and 70 yards, the highlight being a 45-yard Travis Dye scamper up the gut. Brown capped it with a 2-yard score to give the Ducks a 17-9 lead.

And after a 33-yard Mycah Pittman punt return to the UW 22-yard line, the Ducks piled on — as Dye burst free for a 19-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 24-9.

In all, Oregon totaled 329 rushing yards with 5.9 yards per carry and a pair of rushing scores. Dye piled up a prolific 211 rushing yards with 7.5 yards per rush and a touchdown. Brown completed just 10 of 20 passes for 98 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

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McGrew did find the end zone again in the fourth quarter — capping an 11-play, 75-yard drive with a diving 2-yard score. He led the Huskies with 67 total yards and a pair of touchdowns.

“It’s definitely one that stings a lot,” said McGrew, one of just four current Huskies who played when UW last beat Oregon in 2017. “I was there when they got the walkoff overtime win (in 2018). I had a lot to do in that game. I got injured and wasn’t able to participate in the next one here at home (a 35-31 loss in 2019).

“This one meant a lot to me. It definitely hurts. Honestly, we’ve just got to come back and go to work. But the young dudes, I hope they know how much this (expletive) hurts. And for the future, (I hope they) give them everything they got when it comes to this game. That’s what I did. That’s all I can do.”

According to Lake, it’s UW’s coaches who didn’t do enough.

“It’s all on the coaches,” Lake said of the loss. “Execution starts with me. It’s all on the coaches. You can put it 100% on the coaches. So you can write that. That’s all on us.”