The magic number this week is 70.
If you’re driving through Oregon, this digit could get you a speeding ticket.
If you’re visiting Eugene on Saturday, this figure will still have you reaching for your coat and maybe an umbrella.
And, if you’re wearing a green jersey, you might be seeing red just thinking about it.
The Washington and Oregon football teams seem to have awful short memories when one dares run up the score on the other, even when it’s supposedly not intentional—like it supposedly was in 2016, when the Huskies won 70-21.
Which leads us to 10 questions surrounding the 111th gridiron meeting of these two fine Northwest institutions:
OK, will 70 matter? The thing that’s weird about this encounter is the Ducks are on their third coach since it happened. Short memories are one thing. No memory is another. I think the built-in dislike the schools have for each other is more than enough to generate a good lather. Just in case, keep an eye on that Oregon side of the scoreboard.
When was the last time Washington scored more than 70 points? Well, you have to go back 791 Huskies games for the answer: UW 71, Whitman College 0. That was Oct. 14, 1944, in Walla Walla, with 2,000 fans in the stands.
Do you know why Austin Joyner had to retire from football this week? I saw it. Still makes me cringe. The Huskies’ junior defensive from Marysville came down on a first-quarter kickoff against Arizona State, went helmet to helmet with a bigger Sun Devil in a full sprint and dropped limp to the ground. He was out cold for a few moments. Football is a dangerous game. Austin made a wise choice, as did junior defensive tackle Jared Pulu, who likewise quit football this week citing injuries.
How many sacks will the Huskies get in Autzen Stadium? If you said zero, it would be hard to ridicule that. The UW, with poor pass-rushing skills this season, didn’t get any against UCLA or Arizona State and have just eight this season.
Will Myles Gaskin play this weekend? No matter what coach Chris Petersen says, it’s a fair question. The Huskies’ all-time leading rusher didn’t finish last week’s game against UCLA, clutching his shoulder repeatedly on his last series. My guess is yes, but with 15-18 carries rather than the 27 he turned in against the Bruins. The Huskies might be playing catch-up. Gaskin is on the lineup card this week as the starter … but so is linebacker D.J. Beavers, who hasn’t played since the opener and so is Joyner, that retired backup cornerback.
What is the Washington record for touchdowns in a game? Would you believe 10, which, with extra points included, equals 70. Yep, the Huskies set that one against Oregon in 2016.
What is the Washington record for longest scoring drive? Nineteen plays. Done five times—twice against the Ducks, in 2005 and 1955. That’s called rubbing it in.
What is the longest Washington scoring drive by time? That would be an agonizing 9:52 against Oregon in 2005. That’s really rubbing it in.
Who has the better day, Jake Browning or Justin Herbert? Both carry a little something from that 2016 game into this one. Browning has had to explain the finger wag he made while scoring on a 7-yard run at Autzen. Herbert made his first college start that day. I’m thinking the top NFL quarterback prospect in the Pac-12, and, no, it’s not Jake, will grab the moment. Which takes us to …
Who will win this one? Yes, the Huskies are 5-1, ranked 7th in the country, have a ton of talent throughout their lineup. But I’ve been to Autzen many times and I see weaknesses in the UW lineup. I think this is the second of three losses for Petersen’s crew this season. Oregon 31, Washington 21. Sorry Ducks, 70 is out of the question.