I was done with the Ducks.
Washington State had just scored a touchdown with just over six minutes left after an inexplicable roughing the passer penalty on 3rd and 18 to take a 34-22 lead. I threw down my remote control and stormed upstairs, yelling at a dog or two in my path and cursing all the way. I ripped off my Oregon shirt and threw it in the dirty clothes hamper. I had to go to the grocery store to pick up a few things for dinner and there was no way was I going into public in Spokane sporting Duck gear after a humiliating loss like that.
As I was changing shirts, the thought of my Cougar-loving cousins texting me to rub it in was infuriating. I then thought about Monday at work. No doubt, there would be at least a couple of instant messages waiting for me from my Cougar co-workers. Thank Covid, I do not have to go into the office anymore. Otherwise, I would probably be wearing a WSU shirt after losing a bet.
I came downstairs to the living room to look for my keys. Thankfully, I had left the TV on, as I have been known to shut it off in such circumstances. As I grabbed my keys off of the ottoman I turned my head to take a glance at the tv, only to notice that the Ducks had the ball fourth and goal at the WSU 1-yard line. I muttered to myself, “Wait a minute …”
I had Coug’d it.
As an Oregon fan, I had totally Coug’d it. How could I give up on my Ducks so easily? Especially against the inventors of the “Coug it”? Apparently, living in Eastern Washington for a decade had rubbed off on me. Had it not been for me leaving the television on, I would have been sulking around Albertson’s, avoiding my phone and the inevitable ridicule from my entire catalog of Washington State friends and family (Hence, also missing the joyful text from my Oregon buddies), while the Ducks were pulling out the win. I would have missed it all. I was plain lucky.
After the game, shamelessly, I pulled my Duck shirt out of the dirty clothes hamper and put it back on. I was now undeserving of wearing it. But that did not stop me from beaming as I pushed my cart around the store, making sure to make eye contact and give a head nod to everyone wearing a WSU shirt. Them having no idea that I was no better than they were.
1) The Red Zone Blues: It seemed that in the first half, and especially in the red zone, the Ducks kept relying on lateral plays instead of vertical ones, and the Cougars were snuffing them out. After the late-game touchdown pass to Cam McCormick, where the Ducks faked the run and went over the top to the tight end, I said to myself, “Why didn’t we do something like that in the first half?“
2) Even in victory, the roughing of the passer on 3rd and 18 in the fourth quarter still burns me. Lanning does not strike me as the kind of coach who is going to put up with that kind of nonsense like his predecessor did, but it might take a little more time to rid the players of such hijinks.
3) Now, had the Ducks not committed that egregious penalty, the Cougars would have settled for a field goal and taken an eight-point lead. Had the Ducks not foolishly gone for two (as I was yelling for them not to) and failed at the beginning of the second half, then the Cougars would have only been up only seven. A seven-point deficit is much better to deal with than an eight. The point is, only go for two when you have to, you never know how the game is going to play out, and that one point can make all the difference in the world.
During moments of the game where it just did not feel like the Ducks were going to win, I was thinking of things to write about if that were the case. Had the Ducks lost, today’s post might have been titled “Ducks still have plenty to play for.” I might have looked up how many regular season losses great coaches in the game have had in their first regular seasons. Nick Saban and Kirby Smart, for example, both had a few of them at their respective schools. The implication is that if Dan Lanning ended the season with a handful of defeats, then it would not mean he is a bad coach, but rather is just getting his pieces in place.
Thank goodness that article can wait another day. Hopefully, in the eyes of a cockeyed optimist, it will not need to be written.
Top photo credit: Harry Caston
Andrew Mueller, the FishDuck.com Volunteer Editor for this article, works in higher education in Chicago, Illinois.
Darren Perkins is a sales professional and 1997 Oregon graduate. After finishing school, he escaped the rain and moved to sunny Southern California where he studied screenwriting for two years at UCLA. Darren grew up in Eugene and in 1980, at the tender age of five, he attended his first Oregon football game. His lasting memory from that experience was an enthusiastic Don Essig announcing to the crowd: “Reggie Ogburn, completes a pass to… Reggie Ogburn.” Captivated by such a thrilling play, Darren’s been hooked on Oregon football ever since. Currently living in Spokane, Darren enjoys flaunting his yellow and green superiority complex over friends and family in Cougar country.
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