What we learned: Week 8

EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon didn't come close to covering the spread this week in its 62-38 win over Washington State. The Ducks also gave up 557 passing yards to WSU gunslinger Connor Halliday. But what did we learn after the Ducks improved to 7-0?

Oregon has balance on offense: Oregon had 336 yards passing, with 327 coming courtesy of Marcus Mariota. But the Ducks also got it done on the ground, recording 383 yards that way. Oregon continues to run well even without starting running back De'Anthony Thomas. But try to stop the run at your own peril: Mariota continues to be accurate and efficient throwing. He has yet to throw an interception in 2013, in 197 attempts.

Oregon can respond in a tight game: Against both Washington and Washington State, the Ducks were pushed in the first half. Washington continued the fight into the third quarter a week ago, but Oregon pulled away to win 45-24. After leading WSU just 27-21 at one point in the second quarter on Saturday, Oregon calmly pulled away with two touchdowns in the third quarter, putting the game out of reach. The Ducks being able to respond in tight games figures to be crucial with UCLA and Stanford up next.

Defense can step it up: Oregon's offense commands most of the attention and proves each week that's for good reason. But the defense isn't too shabby. Giving up 557 passing yards might seem to run contradictory to that, but consider that Halliday had a record 89 pass attempts. More telling: The Cougs netted all of two yards rushing. Oh, and four of Halliday's pass attempts were picked off.