Nov. 1, 2003 was the last time Washington managed to hold its own against Oregon.
While the rivalry between fan bases has never died down, the competition between the two teams has. The Ducks have rolled over the Huskies in 12 consecutive games, winning regularly by at least 17 points.
Since the last Husky win in 2003, the Ducks have risen on the college football totem pole, playing in the national championship game in both 2010 and 2014. Quarterback Marcus Mariota brought in the program’s first Heisman trophy in 2014.
Meanwhile, the once top-tier Washington football program slipped into oblivion, going almost winless in 2004. The team underwent several coaching changes before landing former Boise State head coach Chris Petersen in 2014 in wake of longtime coach Steve Sarkisian’s dismissal.
Petersen brought hope to a lifeless program. A season with more than seven wins looked possible. 2014 was a better year for the Huskies, yet win records didn’t rise from Sarkisian’s team and Petersen’s.
The young team showed more signs of progress in 2015. For the first time in many years, the Huskies had a true freshman qauarterback. Jake Browning has improved every game.
Washington’s 8-4 record in 2015 didn’t capture the fight in every game.
A mere five games into the season, 2016 tells a different story for the Ducks and the Huskies.
Washington started the year ranked No. 14, a number many questioned.
Washington has defended and earned their rank in the early weeks of the 2016 season, winning over nonconference opponents Rutgers, Idaho and Portland State. The Huskies outscored the three opponents 148-30. Washington maintained its win streak in overtime against Arizona on the road. Then, the Huskies returned to Seattle and took down No. 7 Stanford with a 44-6 win.
As for the Ducks, it is increasingly apparent the Oregon reign is coming to an end after 10 years in the AP Top 25. It has struggled to find success, this season more than ever.
Redshirt quarterback Dakota Prukop has done little to prove himself. The Ducks won the first two games against weak nonconference opponents. Then, Oregon proceeded to drop three games in a row, most recently to Washington State.
The Huskies face the Ducks Saturday at Autzen Stadium. Washington looks to build upon momentum and break the 12-year streak against Oregon.
Husky and Duck fans are anxiously awaiting kickoff. As a Husky fan, it is easy to see the ranks and get caught up in an ideal scenario of a Washington win and the shut down of Oregon fans, who live to trash-talk rivals.
The Huskies have been favored before and still failed to break the streak. Anything can happen on the road at the rowdy Autzen stadium.
For the first time in years, fans on both sides of the rivalry have a reason to be nervous and excited for the showdown.
Meredith Spelbring can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org