Ding dong, the witch is dead - The 12 years of pain, the memes, the blowouts, the feeling as if Washington might never beat Oregon again. It’s all over. The past 12 years had been an unimaginable nightmare for Washington fans who hate Oregon, but it’s all officially over and in a big way.
Coaching staff - This was the kind of coaching performance Husky fans have dreamed about since Oregon started the streak in 2004. The Huskies came down to Autzen Stadium cool, calm, and collected and dominated Oregon in a way the Huskies never have before. They also did it in their own OKG way, as opposed to Sark’s attempts to out-Oregon Oregon. Chris Petersen and staff out-Washingtoned Oregon and made the stupid parade of jerseys and hurry-up look silly for four quarters.
Milestone plays - The game was littered with plays which will live in Husky lore for quite a while. A few:
- Budda Baker’s opening interception. This is also a nice milestone since I think Baker flipping to Petersen from Oregon was an early marker of the Husky program going in the right direction under Petersen. *Also, it came just one play after Oregon recovered their own fumble on the opening kickoff in a play that seemed to remind me of the past 12 years as it seemed like Oregon always recovered their fumbles in those losses.
- Browning’s run into the end zone with the finger point to get the first score of the game. *Credit to the officials for making the right football call and not taking away the touchdown. Though I will admit, I would be furious if the tables were turned on that call.
- JoJo McIntosh’s strip of Royce Freeman. It was kind of lost in the shuffle of a 70-21 game, but it looked like the Ducks were potentially going to make a game of it before McIntosh’s play turned the tables and opened things up again.
Jake Browning - Browning put together arguably one of the best Husky quarterback performances of all-time. Damn near flawless, he didn’t just put together a statistical dream of a game, but led the charge in giving the Huskies the fire and the confidence needed to make the losing streak to the Ducks an afterthought.
Myles Gaskin - This was the game everyone had been waiting for this year from Gaskin. His vision and speed punished Oregon’s desperate blitzing and broke the game open. Also, for those worried about Gaskin thus far this season, keep in mind, he now has the most rushing yards of anyone in the Pac-12 and is averaging more than six yards per rush. *Also, all the backs were great in pass protection against Oregon’s never-ending blitzes.
Offensive line - This was the second-straight dominant performance by the Husky offensive line. We have seen the best back-to-back performances they have had since the last Rose Bowl season. They paved the way for almost 400 yards and gave up just two sacks against a defense that was blitzing more than any team I have seen in years.
John Ross - Ross’s stat line is impressive at nine for nearly 100 for three touchdowns and a 26-yard run, but that doesn’t capture how amazing all three of those touchdown catches were. He has shown he isn’t just a speedster, but also a polished receiver who can make jaw-dropping catches. He looks like an NFL receiver.
Dante Pettis - Another NFL receiver performance. Eight catches for 134 yards and two touchdowns, both of which were incredibly impressive.
Defense against Royce Freeman - Freeman is one of those talents that you just assume even if you blow out his team, he is still going to get his. Well, that wasn’t the case. He had just 50 yards on 11 carries without a touchdown and was clobbered by the Husky defense while also getting stripped by McIntosh on a game-changing hit. Freeman also mysteriously disappeared from the game about halfway through after taking a pounding from the Husky D.
Defense against Charles Nelson - The Ducks did everything they could to get the ball in the hands of their version of John Ross and it amounted to...not much. He couldn’t get much on kick returns, took huge shots whenever he got the ball, and finished with less than 50 yards on offense.
Joe Mathis - Mathis somehow played an even better game than the epic game he had against Stanford. He put pressure on Herbert all game, had five tackles (three for loss), a sack, caused a fumble, and had a play on Charles Nelson on the edge that was one of the best open-field plays I have ever seen a Husky defensive lineman make.
Azeem Victor - Not the biggest stat game for Victor, but he once again was almost flawless in his defense and his ability to punish offensive players really helped shut down the middle of the field.
Pass defense - The whole Husky secondary had another near-perfect game, highlighted by Budda Baker’s highlight-reel opening interception which set the tone to start the game. This secondary continues to be a phenomenal unit. Their performance was highlighted by JoJo McIntosh’s best performance as a Husky.
Oregon is a disaster - Other than Justin Herbert looking solid for what he was asked to do in his first start ever against a good opponent, Oregon looks like a mess on all fronts. They look to be in the bottom of the Pac-12 in talent, especially on the lines; their jersey parade act seems to be wearing thin; their coach could be fired at any moment, and their overall program seems to getting a little toxic. The Oregon situation actually looks a lot like the Washington program in 2003-04 to me.
Penalties - The Huskies strangely had an awful night with penalties and got lucky Browning’s “point” didn’t take points off the board. These kinds of penalties will kill them in closer games further down the schedule and need to be cleaned up.
Injuries? The injury bug popped up for the first time in the season as Shane Brostek and Chico McClatcher missed the game. It looked like a couple Huskies got banged up against Oregon, Dante Pettis being one, but the Huskies get a well-timed bye week before their next game. Will the team be back to full-strength when the Beavers come to town?
Oregon? It’s stunning how fast the Ducks have fallen so far. Are the Ducks headed for a period like the one the Huskies saw in the mid-2000s? Or can they turn it around and at least avoid becoming a dumpster fire?
How much do the Stanford and Oregon wins mean? Regardless of what it means nationally, the blowouts of Stanford and Oregon couldn’t feel better, but do they mean much? Stanford got smacked at home by Washington State and the Ducks are a joke, so do these Husky wins mean much, all things considered? Could that near-loss at Arizona mean more than we think too?
Playoffs? It seems surreal to think about the Huskies in a Playoff context, but it is the reality halfway through the season and it’s time to watch teams like Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and Michigan, and hope they lose. Can the Huskies keep up their end of the bargain and win the games they should the rest of the way to stay a Playoff contender?
Pac-12? The rest of the Pac-12 is as weird, unpredictable, and underwhelming as it ever has. Is the rest of the conference softening to where the Huskies have a fairly easy chance at running the table?
Oregon State? Getting an overtime win against Cal at home isn’t setting the world on fire, but the Beavers look to have a little more fight in them then it looked going into the season. Are the Beavers up for giving the Huskies a game in two weeks?