It had been 12 years — 12 very long years — for Washington football but they took out their frustration from a dozen seasons of agony and losses to lay it on their Pacific Northwest rival Oregon in a 70-21 victory on Saturday night that all but cemented a power shift in the Pac-12 North.
And the worst thing for the Ducks might have been that the scoreboard didn’t even properly reflect the level of domination from their neighbors to the north either.
The Huskies first team offense averaged 10.1 yards per play in just over three quarters worth of work and racked up seven plays over 25 yards. They were paced once again by their terrific sophomore backfield tandem in running back Myles Gaskin (197 yards, one touchdown) and budding Heisman candidate Jake Browning at quarterback (six incompletions against six touchdown passes and two more rushing).
Washington’s defense also got involved in the dismantling by making life miserable on nearly every snap. JoJo McIntosh led the team with eight tackles, while Budda Baker snagged an interception on his first play of the game and Keishawn Bierria recovered a fumble to go with his five tackles.
If there was one bright spot for Oregon it likely came at quarterback in the form of new starter Justin Herbert. Though his first pass was picked off, he rallied to throw two touchdowns while doing his best to scramble out of several sacks. Three players had over 50 yards rushing for the Ducks too.
The win all but gives Washington the Pac-12 North title before the middle of October and the only tricky spots left on the schedule could be a road game at Utah and their in-state rivalry game at Washington State in the Apple Cup. The Huskies are already ranked in the top five of the polls and it’s safe to say they are legitimately a College Football Playoff contender right now.
As for Oregon, the blowout will only increase speculation as to the job status of head coach Mark Helfrich and further question his hiring of Brady Hoke to fix the still-leaky defense. The team will need to win four of their final six (four of which are on the road) to even make a bowl game.
It’s a spot that Huskies fans remember being in quite a few times at this point in the season but a feeling they certainly put to rest this year with a cathartic burying of their local rival on Saturday night.