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Oregon's 5-0 Start Is Best in 34 Years

October 11, 1998|From Associated Press

PULLMAN, Wash. — Reuben Droughns ran for 217 yards and scored four touchdowns as No. 15 Oregon rolled over Washington State, 51-29, on Saturday.

Akili Smith, the nation's leading passer, completed 15 of 22 passes for 280 yards and three touchdowns as Oregon improved to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the Pacific 10 Conference, its best start since 1964. The Ducks, who have won their last seven games, came in averaging 50 points per game, second best in the nation.

Washington State (3-3, 0-3) lost its third consecutive conference game and had an eight-game home winning streak ended. It was the first time the Cougars gave up 50 points since 1990, when they lost to Washington, 55-10.

Oregon jumped to a 21-0 first-quarter lead while holding Washington State to six yards of offense. The Ducks scored on all five of their first-half possessions in a penalty-filled game.

Droughns, who rushed for more than 200 yards for the third time this season, ran for two touchdowns and caught a pass for one in the first half. His 39 carries set a school record.

Washington State's struggling offense did not begin clicking until the second half, when sophomore Paul Mencke replaced Steve Birnbaum at quarterback.

Oregon drove 86 yards on its first possession, with Droughns, a junior college transfer from Merced College, scoring from five yards out.

Oregon's Michael Fletcher ran Washington State's first punt back for a touchdown, but the play was nullified by a roughing penalty.

That barely slowed the Ducks.

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