On his second carry of the day, disaster struck for junior running back Travis Dye.
While being tackled at the line of scrimmage, Dye fumbled the ball, and Cougars linebacker Ayden Hector recovered to give Washington State the possession.
Jogging back to the sideline, Dye had only one thing on his mind: to make up for his mistake.
"I knew I had to step up big when the turnover happened," Dye said. "I'm my biggest critic and I hate putting the ball on the ground."
It could have been déjà vu for Dye, who had two fumbles in a single game against Cal in 2019, but even in that game, the running back bounced back to lead the Ducks in rushing in Oregon's 17-7 win with 15 carries for 81 yards.
This time Dye skipped the second fumble and went straight to elevating his production, ending with five carries for 54 yards, two receptions for 87 yards, and two touchdowns in the 43-29 victory.
Cyrus Habibi-Likio mentioned in training camp that new offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead emphasized getting the running back involved in the passing game. Travis Dye was the beneficiary of that philosophy against Washington State with two passing touchdowns out of the backfield.
“Moorhead is a huge difference to this offense,” said Travis Dye following the win. “He has really kicked this offense up a huge notch just by his football savvy-ness. He’s a great coach.”
Dye's first touchdown exemplified what makes Moorhead so special as a play designer. Setting Jaylon Redd into motion forced the linebacker to key in on him, which allowed Dye to get behind the defender, opening a lane to the endzone in the process.
Then on his 71-yard score, Dye knew he would have the defensive end on him and then it would be up to Shough to deliver a dime, which the sophomore quarterback did.
"I knew I was going to be matched up with the D-end, and I told Tyler before the play 'If I'm even I'm leaving,'" said Dye. "I was even with the dude at the line of scrimmage and I left him, so it was simple."
After his big day, Dye gave an interesting explanation for his performance following the turnover, beyond just wanting to make it up to the team.
"As you guys can see I had my gloves on and that was not it for me. And so I took those off real fast and I felt like it was a much better feeling."
Next, Dye and the Oregon (2-0) offense will play UCLA (0-1) at Autzen Stadium on Saturday, November 21st.