It is known among all Oregon Ducks fans that the Washington Huskies are Oregon’s biggest rival. There have been many memorable moments in this rivalry. In 2015, Henry Swift discussed the hate in the hearts of the Ducks for the Huskies in an article for the We Love to Hate Our Rival section of the Oregon Football Repository at FishDuck. For example:
“The game tied and Oregon was driving for the win. On the final play Oregon passed the ball to Hill, but instead of being an Oregon hero — he was tackled by Washington fans rushing the field.
“No flag, no penalty and the game ended in a tie. At this point this was no longer a rivalry but instead flat-out war. It was more than hard play on the field and passion from the fans, but was hatred between the states.”
Although I am sure that the Larry Hill “Border War” play was a pivotal moment in the rivalry, it happened all the way back in the 1960s. Even “The Pick” itself was 25 years ago. I believe there needs to be a moment from this generation that younger fans can look to as the “defining moment of hate” with that school up in Seattle.
The one that comes to my mind is Jake Browning’s “point” back in 2016.
Jake Browning is the PAC-12’s all-time wins leader. He led the Huskies to three New Years’ Six Bowls, including a playoff game. It is true that he had a very good collegiate career, and in 2016, he led his Huskies into Autzen Stadium chasing a playoff berth.
Oregon football had a rough year all around in 2016, and the Washington game was a low point. Lacking a talented roster, the Ducks stumbled into a really tough game at home with the Huskies, who had been pretty darn good so far. Oregon was starting a true freshman QB (some guy named Justin Herbert). It was not expected to go well for the Ducks, and it certainly didn’t as Washington embarrassed Oregon in Autzen, 70-21.
I didn’t like that score any more than any other Duck fan, but Browning’s disrespectful behavior was perhaps even more irritating.
In a 0-0 game, Browning took a quarterback keeper and walked into the end zone for an easy one-yard score. As he crossed the goal line, he turned and pointed toward a Ducks player tauntingly. The now infamous score was a sign of what was to come that day; in the blowout win, Browning had 8 total TDs.
Of course, the Ducks did nothing to stop the onslaught, but for the Huskies, and for more specifically Browning, there are some things you avoid doing for the sake of sportsmanship. Tauntingly pointing at your opponent as you score isn’t very classy, and as the captain of the team, Browning’s behavior set an example for the rest of the team to follow.
Two years after the “Point” game, the Ducks beat the Huskies in Browning’s final game of the rivalry, and eliminated Washington’s playoff hopes. It is always nice to beat your rival, but that day was especially sweet as the Ducks got revenge from the loss from 2016!
The feeling in Seattle this year is confident, if not blustering about their anticipated upcoming victory over Oregon. Can Our Beloved Ducks put the Huskies back in their place as they did in 2018 and for 14 of the last 16 rivalry games?
Top Photo by Kevin Cline
Bob Rodes, the FishDuck.com Volunteer editor for this article, is an IT analyst, software developer and amateur classical pianist in Manchester, Tennessee.
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