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Oregon And Washington Converging, But Rivalry Remains One-Sided

On Saturday night, the Oregon Ducks and the Washington Huskies are starting to finally look like they can compete against each other on the football field. Just not on every play.

The Husky defense proved they could hold the Oregon up-tempo attack in check for the most part, as Nick Holt rallied the guys to keep the confusing but uncertain Duck offense in check. They didn't get rolled like they did two weeks ago against Stanford, holding Oregon to a fairly modest 5.4 yards per carry and kept LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner from exploding any big runs up on the suspect Washington front seven. Darron Thomas had only one or two good drives and looked plenty tender in his first start back from injury. Oregon receivers dropped a few passes and the Ducks still aren't getting going at the most opportune times.

However, Washington will have to look again at the turnovers. While the Oregon defense stiffened for most of the game and kept Washington from really tasting the end zone, the mental miscues by UW's QB made the big difference in the game's ultimate decision.  Keith Price threw an early interception to Eddie Pleasant that set up a short field for James to plow it into the end zone, then threw another one that Pleasant returned half the field to set up another short field. Oregon was content to sit back and see if the talented but still young Washington signal-caller would make a mistake, and it turned into 14 Oregon points that ensured a Ducks halftime lead.  Those two crucial ones proved to be the difference between a close one and the decisive Ducks victory that eventually incurred.

Although Washington still lost by a considerable margin, Steve Sarkisian can point to this game to prove that Washington is making real progress in the Pac-12, as the Huskies never let the Ducks turn the steamroller on and pound UW for touchdown after touchdown. This season it was all about moving the ball methodically and try and get enough offense from Price and the Huskies, and UW is proving they can do just that. Just not enough to win it all.

Washington is at least showing glimpses of promise as how encounters with Oregon will go in the future. For now, they'll have to settle for eight years of frustrating past.