Friday, November 5, 2010

Memories of the Oregon-Washington Football Rivalry

With the Oregon-Washington football rivalry coming up Saturday not expected to be a competitive game (we'll see), I began thinking about past games in this series...that for the most part had been competitive until recently. Since attending the University of Oregon starting in the fall of 1988, I've seen quite a few of these games. Here are some memories...

1988 - Oregon wins on an end-around (in person). Thrilling! What can I say. A cool way to start my four years on campus at Oregon.

1990 - Oregon gets pummeled to death at Husky Stadium (in person). This was the second of FIVE years in a row when the rivalry was played in Seattle. That's right, five years in a row at Husky Stadium...all losses. Years later, Husky fans moaned pretty loud about having to go to Autzen three years in a row, but conveniently forgot about this stretch where the Dawgs had home field advantage. Anyway, I remember dressing up in an obscene amount of Duck gear, going to the game with my dad, the fact that it was cold and that the Ducks were beaten badly.

1994 -" The Pick" game (TV). I was not at this game, but saw it on TV. Obviously, a major big deal game, interception and win. This one has been covered to death. I'll just leave it!

1995 - Oregon wins at Husky Stadium for the first time in forever (in person). This is something that I never thought I would see. Oregon wide receiver Pat Johnson took the game-opening kickoff back for a TD and the Ducks scored enough points in the first half and hung on with the defense in the second half to win. I also remember the Huskies had a chance to tie or win the game a couple of times with relatively short field goal attempts, but missed both. After the game, walking excitedly out of the stadium and some Husky fan near me said, "man, we killed those guys in the second half!" and I said, "yeah, but not in the fist half...we win!"

1997 - Oregon wins AGAIN at Husky Stadium (in person). I remember sitting in the U-shaped end zone seats at Husky Stadium...which are horrible seats generally, but pretty close to the west end zone. This turned out to be a great vantage point to see Oregon WR Pat Johnson sail through the air to haul in a last minute, diving TD catch to win the game over a highly ranked Husky team. Sweet! Never thought I'd see the Ducks win in Seattle, and now I was witnessing it again! Seeing the purple crowd deflate was pretty neat too.

1999 - UW wins in a comeback in Seattle at night (in person). I remember going to this game with friends and the excitement of seeing the Ducks take an early and impressive lead...only to see them lose that lead and the game as the Dawgs came back and scored while shutting down the Ducks. This is the game where Oregon QB Joey Harrington took over the reins from previous starter A.J. Feely...never to relinquish them again. It's also a game where the backup QB for Washington (can't remember his name) had his one and only good game.

2000 - Oregon beats UW at Autzen to hand the Huskies their only loss of the season (in person). Diane, me and her parents went to this game and watched it from the standing room area. Luckily, it was bright, sunny and warm. I remember a lot of hype for the Huskies that season and feeling really good that my Ducks shot them it turned out for the only loss of UW's season. I also remember before the game a very young UW fan saying something like, "man this is a small high school had a bigger stadium" only to be subject to the deafening roar af the Autzen crowd all day long.

2002 - Washington wins impressively in Eugene (TV). I remember high expectations of winning this game, only to be treated to a UW beat down of the Ducks. As the game unfolded, I also remember thinking I was really glad I had not made the trip down to Eugene to watch that crap in the rain. This is also the game when, after winning the game, Husky players went out to the middle of the Oregon field and danced around on the Oregon "O"...setting up more hate for the Dawgs in future years.

2003 - UW wins in a comeback in a Seattle night game, again (in person). Three main memories here: 1) going to the game with our neighbors and walking from Gasworks Park to the game on the Burke Gillman trail, 2) it was an eerily similar game to 1999 in which the Ducks took the early lead only to see the Dawgs come back and win pretty handily, and 3) horrible treatment by some Husky fans. I'll give you two examples:
  • Walking into the game before kickoff, there was the usually huge, swirling crowd inside the ticket gates on the concourse. In this crush, I was wearing my green Oregon sweatshirt, so obviously I was a Duck fan. From out of nowhere, a guy dressed in a purple and yellow robe and carrying a large cross with a green and yellow rubber chicken stretched across it crucifixion style comes up to me...sticks the crucified duck in my face and simply yells, "Fuck you!"
  • During the game, a Husky fan a few rows away and down from us clocked that there was a Duck fan nearby - me - and every time the Dawgs would do something good, he'd yell an obscenity at me. Mind you, I did not bait him or anything. This was his own decision. Finally, after three or four of these instances, I stood up and yelled something at him like, "Yeah, all I hear is how classy UW fans are. Nice way to represent. I bet you didn't even go to UW did you?" Didn't hear a peep out of him again.
2005 - Oregon wins handily (in person). The main memory here is that my buddy Sean and I did the trip down and back to Eugene on one day! Yes, we hit the road early Saturday morning with a stop over in Chehalis for breakfast, got to Eugene, went to the game and pre-game festivities, ate dinner in Eugene and then drove all the way back to Seattle arriving about midnight. A VERY long day, but fun. Also, it solidified my decision to not do a game weekend like that again...too long on the road for one day.

2007 - A close game through three quarters and then BOOM...Oregon blows the Huskies away in the fourth quarter to win by three touchdowns in Seattle (in person). My memories of this game are: it was great to see Dennis Dixon run the Oregon offense to perfection, the UW crowd cheering what the thought was a tackle on the Oregon running back only to be horrified that our QB actually still had the ball and was streaking down the sideline for a big gain, it was cold, and my wife Diane was a saint to go with me.

2008 - Oregon kills UW at Autzen in a night game (in person). This one wasn't close. My main memories of this one were actually about before and after the game than anything else. Since kickoff was at 7 p.m....or was it 5 p.m.?...all fans of both teams had all day to, well, drink. My buddy Sean and his crew of Husky fan friends stationed ourselves on the sunny deck of Taylor's bar right off campus and had a good time talking with new friends and fans. However, when the time came to walk over to the stadium, my Husky buddies got some pretty disgusting behavior thrown their way by some young and very drunk Oregon fans. Suffice it to say, the F-word was used liberally. You can read more about this unfortunate 30 minutes from my blog post from that time by clicking HERE.

2009 - Oregon pummels UW to death at Husky Stadium (in person). For this one, several friends from Portland came up for the game and we took the Husky Boat from Ballard to the stadium on a beautiful fall morning. This really added to the fun as neither Diane and I had ever done that before. The game itself was pretty much a brutal beat down by the Ducks on the Huskies with QB Masoli starring.

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