by Rob Moseley
SEATTLE — Saturday was Oregon's first chance to experience the renovated Husky Stadium, and early on the home fans did their best to make it a rude welcome.
The crowd of 71,833 was at a fever pitch in the opening minutes. Duck players said it was the loudest crowd they've experienced at least since the 2011 opener against LSU in Dallas, if not the 2010 road trip to Tennessee.
But by the fourth quarter fans were heading for the exits, after the Ducks took a 45-24 lead. That's a goal when playing on the road, said UO left tackle Tyler Johnstone, for whom Saturday's was the most anticipated game of the season.
"When we got out there we were just hyped and ready to go," Johnstone said.
A great week in practice had him excited to see what the Ducks could do when they got to Seattle, Johnstone said. He also knew the Huskies would pose the toughest test yet for No. 2 Oregon.
"This is the first game of the season that I can honestly say I'm pretty hyped about," Johnstone tweeted Saturday morning. "Other games have just been business as usual."
Early on, it seemed like the atmosphere and anticipation might have been working against the Ducks. They were flagged for a false start on their first series, and at least twice more later in the game.
Johnstone said the noise of the crowd made it particularly tough for he and fellow tackle Jake Fisher to hear. But Fisher said a bigger factor was one of UW's defensive line calls, which sounded similar to Oregon's snap cadence.
"It was just a discipline thing," Johnstone said. "We'll work on it and we'll get better."
Fisher will also work to avoid personal foul penalties the rest of the way, after picking up his third of the season Saturday. This one, though, might have been tough to avoid.
"I was just playing through the whistle, and when the whistle blew my head was in the guy's chest and I was out of bounds," Fisher said. "So I really couldn't see where I was going."
Oregon's 14-point lead in the second quarter helped take the crowd out of the game a bit. So too did three straight plays in the first quarter that were reviewed by the replay booth, which also reversed an Oregon interception later in the game.
Midway through the first quarter, replay officials overturned a call on the field that Josh Huff had fumbled. The next play was also overturned, with Marcus Mariota ruled down just shy of the end zone, and Byron Marshall's touchdown run on the ensuing play also was reviewed, though not overturned.
"I knew I got in, knew I crossed the line," Marshall said. "I just knew it would be hard to tell, with how many people were around me and how close it was."
In the third quarter, a third play was overturned when an interception was taken away from Avery Patterson. The throw was a low one, and replay officials ruled it hit the ground as Patterson was corralling it.
"I felt like I got my arms under the ball," he said.
Marshall was asked whether all the reviews made it hard for the two up-tempo offenses on the field Saturday to get going.
"It's annoying; it's not hard, it's just annoying," Marshall said. "We just want to get going."
Ultimately the Ducks did, despite the best efforts of the raucous UW crowd. Oregon won its 18th straight road game, the longest active streak in the nation.
"All week we had the music jamming in practice, and I had a great scout all week in (UO defensive lineman) David Kafovalu, so I was prepared," Fisher said. "We just fed off of it, and we had fun."