"We're not going to feel sorry for ourselves", OR coach Willie Taggart told reporters. Quarterback Justin Herbert has a fractured collarbone and will miss multiple games.
Seeds for this sort of defensive evolution were laid last season when the Cougars won their first eight Pac-12 games.
The Ducks scored on consecutive possessions - Aidan Schneider's 20-yard field goal and Burmeister's first career touchdown. One play included a nice pass while on the move on third down to Taj Griffin. OR went for it but Freeman was stopped short, giving the ball to Falk and Washington State in OR territory.
Falk threw three touchdowns as the Cougars beat the Ducks in Eugene.
The defense performed well, giving up the first WSU score when the Cougars stuffed Freeman on fourth-and-1 at the OR 41.
The Cougars ended up settling for a 25-yard Erik Powell field goal on that drive, but they realized then that they were onto something.
Earlier this week, Head Coach Mike Leach identified Autzen Stadium as the loudest venue in the Pac-12. "In the first half, I think we left a lot of points out there - me in particular - and just going out there and converting on a long third down to start it off kinda takes confidence away from the other side". The Cougars recovered at Oregon's 44-yard line, putting Falk in business.
As for the rest of the AP top 10, those teams are (in order) TCU, Wisconsin, Washington State, Ohio State, and Auburn. "We were more consistent in the second half, and then, of course, a lot of the credit goes to Oregon". The Huskies were No. 7 and the Cougars were No. 10.
The Cougars never gave OR another short field, though, and the Ducks did not get on the board again. Adam Stack kicked the ball 38 yards.
The defense, coached by Jim Leavitt, played well again, winning battles on the line of scrimmage, single-covering well and running to the ball.
While Washington State thoroughly dominated the OR offense, the Ducks defense prevented the Cougars from putting a crooked number on the scoreboard. Freeman was the leading OR running back, but he had just 62 yards. They would get six yards before Burmeister was sacked on third down forcing another punt.
RUSHING-Washington St., Wicks 7-58, Ja.Williams 11-48, Morrow 3-4, Falk 4-(minus 23). OR has looked pretty good on defense this year and the offense is right up there with Washington State in terms of production. Troy Dye got pressure on Luke Falk on third down after a pass interference penalty added 15 yards. The second of them led to Burmeister's 30-yard TD throw to Jacob Breeland to give the Ducks a 10-7 lead. The Ducks sacked Falk four times and held the Cougars to 87 net yards rushing on 25 carries. Alex Grinch's defense held OR to 277 total yards and 10 points, by far the Ducks' lowest offensive output of the season. Ty Griffin almost took the ball back to the wrong end zone for a Safety.
Burmeister finished his first college start by going 15 of 27 with one touchdown and two interceptions.