EUGENE, Ore. – Autzen Stadium was full when this burial began, and maybe the 58,842 in attendance simply had to see it to believe it.
The No. 5-ranked Washington Huskies were double-digit favorites over the Oregon Ducks here on Saturday. They were supposed to win. But this is still Oregon, and Oregon does not lose to Washington in football, or at least it hadn’t since 2002. So they packed the place, yellow and green and loud like always, not ready to concede the end of their team’s 12-year winning streak against the Huskies.
The Streak. Surely, you’ve heard of it.
Now, forget about it.
Finally. Emphatically. Forever and ever.
And UW’s final respects were anything but.
Washington’s 70-21 humiliation of the free-falling Ducks was as cathartic as it was dominant, the Huskies expelling a dozen years of anguish with touchdown after touchdown after touchdown, pulling Oregon apart the way the Ducks did to Washington for so long, except worse.
You read that right. Seventy. Seven-zero. Ten touchdowns. Oregon’s winning streak against the Huskies featured little mercy, and so the Huskies showed little in ending it.
“Twelve years coming, man,” said UW offensive lineman Kaleb McGary, a Fife native. “It’s been 12 years in the making, and most of our losses weren’t exactly moral victories.”
Jake Browning augmented his Heisman Trophy campaign — yes, that is a thing now — by totaling eight touchdowns, six of them passing (a school record), three of them to John Ross, two of them to Dante Pettis. UW’s sophomore quarterback ran for two more scores, including UW’s first, a 1-yard run in the game’s first two minutes accompanied by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
He drew that flag for pointing with his left index finger toward an Oregon defender as he sauntered across the goal line. It was deemed taunting. Maybe it was a warning.
Browning spent the rest of the game gashing Oregon’s helpless defense, except for when UW tailback Myles Gaskin was gashing Oregon’s helpless defense. Gaskin rushed for a career-best 197 yards on 16 carries, including a 65-yard touchdown run that put the Huskies ahead 21-0 late in the first quarter.
“Ridiculously good,” Pettis said of Browning.
“For me,” Browning said, nonchalant as usual, “it’s just going in and operating. Don’t try to do too much. Take care of the ball.”
Sure. The Huskies (6-0, 3-0 in Pac-12) finished with 682 yards of total offense, and 378 yards rushing on 45 carries — a staggering average of 8.4 yards per carry. They averaged 9.3 yards per play overall.
“Needless to say,” Petersen said, “we’re really proud of these guys.”
Gaskin also got loose for a 68-yard run that set up a 15-yard touchdown pass from Browning to Ross with 5:27 remaining in the first half, a score that gave UW a 28-0 lead.
Oregon (2-4, 0-3) did respond with a quick scoring drive, freshman quarterback Justin Herbert finding tailback Tony Brooks-James for an 18-yard touchdown. And the Ducks got it back with 1:59 to play after a quick UW three-and-out, seemingly poised to try to make it a game.
But consecutive sacks by UW linemen Greg Gaines and Joe Mathis forced a Ducks punt after one series, and Browning led the Huskies on a 5-play, 55-yard touchdown drive — he capped it with a 7-yard run, on which he was untouched — to give UW a 35-7 halftime lead.
They made it 42-7 on their first possession of the second half, Browning again running it in from 3 yards out.
They made it 63-21 on Browning’s sixth touchdown pass, a screen to tailback Jomon Dotson that the third-year sophomore took the distance early in the fourth quarter.
Dotson also scored on a 5-yard touchdown run with 9:58 to play. That gave the Huskies their 70, a figure that will be difficult for the Ducks to reconcile.
By then, much of Autzen had emptied, save for the purple section in the west end zone.
Most of them stayed until the end, savoring every moment of a day for which they had waited more than a decade. The Huskies shouted and boasted as they made their way through the tunnel toward the visitor’s locker room. Someone shouted something about a “70 piece.” More than one player let out a “Finally!” Their traditional, locker-room chant was audible to all standing outside.
“For years, they just embarrassed us,” McGary said, “and finally we get to come in and set the record straight. Things are back to the way they should be.”