Skip to main content

Oregon vs. Washington Brings a Rivalry With Bark and Bite

Oregon star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux dissects the Washington Huskies’ offense and the legendary rivalry before their meeting on Saturday.

After his visit to Oregon during the 2018 overtime win against Washington (Oregon 30, Washington 27), Kayvon Thibodeaux understood the deep resentment that brews every year in the north.

“Just seeing the atmosphere and that relentless passion they had," Thibodeaux said as he recalled the visit. "It went into overtime and they just kept fighting. So knowing that’s what they did before us. We just gotta keep one upping it and keep it going."

It’s a game many Oregon fans still reminisce over on social media, represented by the infamous broadcast screenshot of Washington’s Jake Browning cupping his head between his hands as the final score taunts him below. The rivalry between the Ducks and Huskies always packs a punch since it’s infamous start in 1948 when Washington rallied the votes for Cal to win the Pac-10 Conference and Rose Bowl bid over Oregon.

“Just '18 and then '19 when we went there. You see the Duck being thrown around, ripped up," Thibodeaux said. "You see the crowd yelling, dropping bombs on us and the shots after the play to try to get you to make mental mistakes and you realize as you get older that, it’s not about what you do outside the whistle and outside the game, it’s about what happens between the whistles."

This year, the Huskies enter the matchup with an underwhelming 4-4 record, but there’s still a battle ahead for the Ducks, as Washington won its last two games against Arizona and the Stanford team that Oregon fell to in overtime. Washington Head Coach Jimmy Lake recently made digs at Oregon’s recruiting, citing that the Huskies compete against teams with more “academic prowess.” 

Taking shots at Oregon’s academic integrity does not fill the abysmally neglected seats in Husky Stadium; good football does, and Thibodeaux is making sure he knows his opponent before he hits the gridiron.

The offensive line for the Huskies is the most experienced, yet most troubled, position group. Out of the five returning veterans, only right guard Henry Bainivalu starts consistently. 

First team All-Pac-12 returner Jaxson Kirkland did not travel with the team to their game against Arizona or Stanford and was cited as week-to-week by Lake. Redshirt freshman Troy Fautanu stepped into Kirkland’s shoes with some positives in his performance.

“They’ve been playing really well. We're really dissecting them," Thibodeaux said of the Washington offensive line. "I think the scheme really allows the offensive tackles to play to their best."

Despite the offensive tackles getting time to shine, Oregon still puts up almost 100 more yards per game than Washington, with the Ducks averaging 443 yards compared to the Dawgs’ 352 yards. Those yards come from a number of receivers. 

Wide receivers Terrell Bynum, Jalen McMillan, and Taj Davis as well as tight end Cade Otton claim nine of the Huskies' 11 receiving touchdowns this season. Otton in particular, was a focus for Thibodeaux.

“To me, I can tell he’s really smart,” Thibodeaux said of the 6-foot-5 tight end. “A lot of guys when they play certain positions, they like to think a lot, but he’s a person that can really go and fly around, so him being able to really know what’s going on, know the defenses, know who he’s gonna get and where he’s gonna be, allows him to really play to the best of his ability.”



Oregon Uses Late Rally to Defeat Rival Washington 68-61 in Seattle

The Ducks have their longest win streak of the season, using big shots and clutch defense to seal the win

Jaden Rashada 1

Oregon Hosting Slew of Talented Recruits as February Signing Period Nears

A look at some of the names visiting Eugene this weekend

Travis Dye Washington Run

Former Oregon RB Travis Dye Commits to USC

Dye finishes his Oregon career in the top five in program history in rushing yards

On the rushing side of the ball, senior running back Sean McGrew claims over half of the rushing touchdowns and is 124 yards above all other Washington rushers at 383 yards.

“He’s got strong legs. He likes to run. He likes contact," Thibodeaux said. "And the scheme allows the offensive linemen to get in certain positions, and once he sees the hole, he goes. So we’re gonna to have to bring our hard hat and really fit up front."

While Washington will bring its game face to this infamous matchup, the Ducks are preparing for the nastiness brewing for them in Seattle. For younger players not experienced with the rivalry, the animosity experienced on and off the field will be a shock to some. Thibodeaux says his advice for the younger Ducks is maintaining poise.

“Just stay level-headed. Stay poised. Never get too high, never get too low,” said Thibodeaux.

As the trip to the bayside Husky Stadium looms, Thibodeaux and the Ducks reminisce on the energy, the venom, and the tradition sewn into the war of the green and yellow versus the purple and gold. When the floodlights flash for the evening kickoff, emotions will run like the rain, which is expected to descend upon Seattle Saturday afternoon.

“Just being there. Knowing that there’s real hate in peoples’ hearts for this game and for us," Thibodeaux said when describing what makes this rivalry different. "Just being able to go there and kind of quiet down the crowd, and really be able to play and really put it out there, you kind of feel it. That’s why we play for the rivalries, for the big games, so just being able to show what we got and put up a fight is gonna be fun."

More from Ducks Digest

Oregon Debuts at No. 4 in CFP Rankings

Join the Community

Follow Ally on Twitter: @allysosborne

Subscribe to our free newsletter to get the latest Oregon Ducks news sent to your inbox

Check out our Forums HERE

Listen to the latest episode of the Ducks Dish Podcast HERE