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Oregon St. Visits NW Rival Washington

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Oregon St. makes their first visit to remodeled Husky Stadium tonight.
Oregon St. makes their first visit to remodeled Husky Stadium tonight.

Oregon St. (5-5, 2-5) at Washington (6-5, 2-5) / Husky Stadium / 7:30 PM PST / Pac-12 Channel / KEJO 1240 AM / KEX 1190 AM

Game Notes / Washington Game Notes

Oregon St. visits Northwest rival Washington tonight. It's the 99th meeting in a series that dates back 117 years, to 1897. The Huskies hold a 60-34 lead in the series, which has also had 4 ties, having won the last 2 games, and 3 of the last 4. The Beavers ran off 6 wins in a row before that, from 2004 thru 2009, 4 of which were in Seattle, including an odd scheduling stretch where they visited Seattle 3 years in a row.

But before that, the Huskies were dominant, having won 18 of 20 games other than that 6 game run.

The winner will become bowl eligible (Washington must win 7 games, not 6, a result of playing a 13th game, allowed by NCAA rule when a team visits Hawaii; something Oregon St. could have done, but opted not to do), and still has a shot to finish as high as 2nd in the Pac-12 North if the other bowl play-in game today in Berkeley went the Bears' way. The loser will have to defeat an instate rival next week to avoid a losing season, and the bottom of the North, never mind become bowl eligible.

Its Oregon St.'s first visit to Husky Stadium since the renovation in 2012, as another sch eduling quirk made the Beavers last member of the Pac-12 North to trek to Seattle, and the 10th member of the conference to make their first visit since the remodel, beating only USC and Utah.

As a result, its the third different look Oregon St. will see in as many trips to Seattle, having played the Huskies at Century Link Field in 2012, and in the old format Husky Stadium in 2010.

Both of those trips are bitter memories for Beaver Nation, after the botched end of game conversion that lost the game 35-34 in double overtime in the last trip to Montlake, and then the "Clinker in the Clink" where the undefeated and 7th ranked Beavers lost 20-17, in the head-hunter bowl in 2012.

But both of those pale in comparison to last year's no-show 69-27 loss, the worst defeat in the history of the Oregon St. program. Washington ran for 537 (!) yards, the most ever against any Oregon St. team.

Fortunately for Oregon St. head coach Mike Riley, and Beaver fans, Steve Sarkisian is no longer coaching in Seattle, and perhaps will fare better against new Washington Coach Chris Peterson, in his first year after moving over from Boise St.

The only win over Washington in record setting quarterback Sean Mannion's career came as one of the few bright spots in the disastrous 2011 season, when Oregon St. pulled off the 38-21 upset win.

More immediate results may be more relevant than all that history though.

Oregon St. comes in off their biggest win in over 6 years, after upsetting #6 Arizona St. 35-27 late last Saturday night, snapping a 4 game losing streak.

Washington comes in having lost 2 in a row, and 4 of their last 5, including last week's 27-26 last second loss in Tucson to Arizona, after Coach Peterson's clock management error led to a fumble, and a game winning 47 yard field goal by the 'Cats, when the Huskies could have run the clock out during a 4th down play.

The Beavers will be without their leading rusher Terron Ward, though, after Ward suffered a torn meniscus in his knee late in the game against the Darkness Devils. Ward will miss the rest of the season, but the senior might be able to return for a bowl game if Oregon St. can get a win and a bowl invite.

It will be senior night for the Huskies, since the Apple Cup next weekend will be played Saturday night in Pullman.

The game will be a reunion of sorts for Beaver Nation, as former Oregon St. quarterback Jonathan Smith is the Offensive Coordinator for Washington. Whether that will last could be affected by how the game goes, as Smith, in his first stint as an OC, has come under considerable fire from Husky Honks who expected a more dynamic offense than Washington, who has twice gone to backup quarterbacks for Cyler Miles this season.

Beaver and Husky fans alike recall Smith's 1999 game, when he threw for a then Oregon St. record 469 yards as a relief quarterback for injured Terrance Bryant. Washington still won 47-21. Smith of course was also the Beavers' quarterback in the "4-hour war" in 2000, which the Huskies won 33-30, ultimately deciding which team would go to the Rose Bowl, and which one the Fiesta Bowl.

Washington opened as a 6 1/2 point favorite, and with the absence of Ward, the line has moved up to 7 1/2 points.

The forecast calls for some rain, though not necessarily steadily, for the game. It's the third consecutive start after 7 PM in the series, the 7th night game of the season for the Beavers, and their 13th in their last 19 (not counting another 4 PM start in late November).

BuildingTheDam will be at the game, and back afterwards with coverage and analysis.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com