**Editor’s Note: Each week during football season we will feature an essay from the opponent’s student newspaper on how Oregon will lose. This week’s edition is from Kevin Dowd, @KevinDowd, sports columnist, at Washington’s The Daily.**
Let us return to Aug. 10, 2013, when the Emerald published a story headlined, “How will the coming Oregon football season unfold?” Therein lay predictions for each of the Ducks’ games this season. (Predictions that have proven startlingly accurate so far, by the way — is there a forecasting major down there they don’t mention in the brochures?)
At the bottom of the section describing Saturday’s “ever-so appealing” hatefest between the Ducks and Huskies lies the following scoreline:
Washington: 48. Oregon: 45.
You don’t need me to tell you why the Huskies will beat the Ducks. You already know.
Bishop Sankey is the finest running back in the nation. Shaq Thompson’s dreadlocks have healing powers. Steve Sarkisian’s boat is called Noah Sark not because that is a cute pun, but because he is the globe’s only hope in the face of rising sea levels. Justin Wilcox might actually be a sorcerer. Kasen Williams can leap buildings (or, at least, Washington State cornerbacks) in a single bound.
Or so it seems to UW fans, whose collective starvation for a winning team has led to these Huskies being treated like manna from heaven, even after a close loss to Stanford last week. Sure, the wattage from Keith Price’s smile doesn’t actually power the lights at Husky Stadium, and the only magic being performed by Wilcox is that weird thing he does with his tongue on the sideline. But the UW does have its best shot in a decade at upending Oregon.
If it happens, it will start with the Husky front seven, which will simply have to get penetration into the Oregon backfield to have any chance at slowing down the Ducks. If Thompson and Travis Feeney can knife through the line of scrimmage like they did against Stanford, Oregon will be forced into second- and third-and-longs. Getting the Ducks off schedule is the best hope to stop a tidal wave of points.
Offensively, the Huskies should assume they need a touchdown on every single drive. This will be no day for punts from midfield on fourth-and-four. Sankey must play like he has the past 10 games, in which he’s averaging 150 yards per outing. The size and brawn of receivers Kasen Williams and Kevin Smith could give the UW an advantage outside on Oregon’s slightly undersized secondary.
Oregon has been the third most-potent offense in the nation thus far on a per-play basis, but the UW has boasted the third stoutest defense in the country by the same measure. Marcus Mariota may actually be this good, but odds are he’ll see a dip in production against what is by far the best defense he’s faced. And if the sophomore has a true off game, the door could open for Price to again flash the late-game heroics he showed against the Cardinal.
It’s all ifs and buts for the UW, though, because if Oregon plays its best, the Ducks should win running away.
But the Huskies just might do it, because 10 years is a very long time, and because, lo, it hath been foretold: Washington 48, Oregon 45.
The folks at The Emerald seem like smart people.