Let's face facts here: there's a great chance Oregon loses to Washington on Saturday. The Huskies are riding a wave of the first signature win of the Chris Petersen era, a 17-12 win over USC, and the Ducks are 3-3 and all kinds of messed up after losing to Washington State at home, their first loss to a team from the Northwest since the 2007 Civil War. Washington is playing its best football, Oregon is playing its worst. Washington has a legitimately good defense, Oregon has a legitimately bad offense. All this probably somehow leads to a blowout Oregon win because college football makes no goddamn sense whatsoever, but let's say for now that Oregon's win streak against its rivals from the north is in serious jeopardy. But let's not let that fact ruin what has been a marvelous run of success for Oregon in this particular rivalry. Washington's last victory came on November 1st, 2003; after that, it's been eleven straight wins for the Ducks, and eleven big wins at that. The closest margin of victory in the current streak was 2011, when Oregon only won by seventeen points, 34-17. In honor of the decade-plus of destruction, let's count down the top 11 Oregon wins over Washington in the last 11 years.
#11: 2006 - Oregon 34, Washington 14 In a vintage performance by a vintage Ty Willingham team, the Huskies tossed up a whopping 138 yards of offense, including a whole 39 rushing yards. Wait, sorry, that's 39 feet. 39 rushing feet. Something called Carl Bonnell played quarterback, though this sounds like a made up name. Maybe Washington didn't use a quarterback for this game. That would explain a lot.
On the Oregon side, Patrick Chung started the scoring with a punt return TD, Jonathan Stewart ran for 159 yards and two touchdowns, and Dennis Dixon threw for a whopping 109 yards, with two interceptions. If Oregon makes it twelve straight wins this year, it will look like this game: Oregon's stud RB runs over people, and Washington's offense is completely disgusting.
Following this game, Washington lost to Stanford 20-3, and Oregon lost their next four games. Both these teams were bad, and they played a bad game against each other. Let's move on.
#10: 2008 - Oregon 44, Washington 10 To help illustrate how truly bad this Washington team was, look no further than Oregon's passing line. 16-28 for 240 and 3 touchdowns seems just good, until you realize that it was put up by a combination of The Gawd Justin Roper and Jeremiah Masoli in his Oregon debut. Then it becomes a great line. Now consider that those two quarterbacks put up those numbers nine days after starting QB Nate Costa was lost for the season. Then, that 16-28 is damn extraordinary.
Jake Locker's line in this game? 12-28, 103 yards. Best QB in Washington history, that one.
This would be the first of 12 consecutive Washington losses in the 2008 season.
#9: 2011 - Oregon 34, Washington 17 The closest margin of victory in the streak was a pretty dull affair. LaMichael James carried for 156 yards, DeAnthony Thomas had a cool kickoff return, blah blah blah. All you really need to know is that Washington averaged 2.3 yards per carry, and had three turnovers. A sleepy 17 point win. Ho hum.
#8: 2009 - Oregon 43, Washington 19 LaMichael James carried the load for Oregon with 154 yards on only 15 carries, Jeremiah Masoli had two of his approx. 245 untouched touchdown runs on zone read keepers inside the 5 yard line, and Rory Cavaille blocked a punt! And who doesn't love Rory Cavaille?
Not the most noteworthy game, but a good one.
#7: 2005 - Oregon 45, Washington 21
That 2005 team was fun to watch. With all the recent success, it's easy to forget that this team was a couple dozen votes in the polls from grabbing the #4 spot in the BCS poll and its automatic bid to the Fiesta Bowl. Also, Kellen Clemens is unequivocally great, throwing for over 400 yards in a dismantling of yet another awful Washington team.
#6: 2012 - Oregon 52, Washington 21
The Huskies celebrated playing Oregon as a ranked team for the first time in over a decade by wearing stupid purple pants. Marcus Mariota hated those stupid purple pants so much, he threw three first half touchdown passes. Just to teach Washington a lesson about wearing stupid purple pants in Autzen Stadium.
After watching highlights of many of his games, I have come to this conclusion: Keith Price is not good.
#5: 2013 - Oregon 45, Washington 24
This game was just an orgy of Oregon offense. Everywhere you looked, there were plays being made. Marcus Mariota threw dimes. Byron Marshall rushed for 100 yards. Josh Huff and Bralon Addison both had 100 yards receiving. Keith Price continued to be bad at football. I don't mean to keep picking on him, but he's 0-4 against Oregon in his career. It's easy, but I'm not here to challenge myself.
#4: 2010 - Oregon 53, Washington 16
Top-ranked and 8-0. All-black uniforms. Rivalry game. And a performance that embodies what Oregon did to teams on its way to the BCS title game. The score was 18-13 Ducks early in the second half; Oregon won the rest of the game 35-3. The 2010 team against a mediocre opponent was like a cat playing with a moth. They'd bat it around, play for a while, until they got bored and just squished and ate it. That's just what Darron Thomas and crew did in the second half. Bonus points to this game for featuring one of my favorite two-point conversion plays of the Chip Kelly era: Jackson Rice takes the snap, hands off to Rob Beard, who runs through a gigantic hole down the middle for the score.
#3: 2004 - Oregon 31, Washington 6 There must be some credit given to the game that began the streak, especially when it's a game where Oregon's defense forces seven turnovers, and holds Washington to 45 yards rushing. This was a Washington team that went 1-10, and was easily one of the five worst UW teams of the decade. But still, dominance is dominance. And again, this one started it all.
#2: 2014 - Oregon 45, Washington 20 This game has everything the games above it on the list have: Marcus Mariota was damn near flawless, Royce Freeman ran for 169 yards and four TDs, and the Oregon defense kept Washington out of the endzone for the first 41 minutes of the game. But there's one thing that pushes this game up to #2 on the list.
I keep a framed copy of the above picture of Marcus Mariota on my desk at work.
#1: 2007 - Oregon 55, Washington 34
The unquestioned signature win of the streak, the 2007 game is known best as the debut of the Stormtroopers. Since 1999, Oregon had been known for the iconic mallard green helmet. When the Ducks took the field in Seattle in 2007, the game was forever changed. It certainly helped that, while in those white helmets, Oregon stepped on the gas and ran Washington the hell over. The final tally: 465 yards rushing at 7.5 yards per carry. Jonathan Stewart led the way with 251, Andre Crenshaw added 113, and Dennis Dixon came up a single yard short of adding his name to the 100-yard club. This YouTube video has every rush, and keeps track of the total yards.
If I could buy YouTube used kabuman a steak dinner for his service to humanity, I would.
I happened to be at Husky Stadium for this game, and what I remember most is the crowd sound. The roar of the crowd at the snap, the big cheer when Stewart or Crenshaw was tackled in the backfield, and then the groan of befuddlement when they noticed Dixon, fifteen yards downfield with the ball in his hands. The Husky Stadium crowd guessed wrong on seemingly every zone read that day, and Chip Kelly's offense just ran it down Washington's throat until the rules of football didn't allow them to do it anymore. Oregon's got a long list of wins over its rivals from the north, but for my money, none is as memorable as this one.