When the University of Washington took the field against the Oregon Ducks; players, coaches and fan knew it was going to be an all-out battle. Never mind it was the league opener for both teams, this time it was personal with the Huskies losing to the Ducks last year at home. This time though, the Huskies got their revenge 27-10.
From the first whistle both teams were looking to make a statement and for the first 20 minutes neither team gave an inch. The Huskies were the first to get points on the board when the Ducks were called for a hands-in-the-ruck penalty. Hooker Danny Auerbach took advantage to give his team a 3-0 lead. After that, the Huskies found their stride.
Blindside flanker Ryan Byarlay broke through the backline for a 20-meter scamper and the match’s first try 8-0 in favor of the Huskies. Oregon had had enough and responded off a penalty with a quick tap near the goal line to cut the lead to 8-5 and gain momentum in the half.
The second half was a wake-up call for the Huskies and their fitness. Lock Zach Zaharoff made a perfectly timed pass to fullback Kendal Dresel who darted down the line for the first try of the second half and a 15-5 lead.
UW did a good job of sticking to their game plan and using the leg of flyhalf Kiel Rasp to pin the Ducks in their own territory. Pressure by the Husky defense caused Oregon to mishandle a kick to give UW possession which was more than enough for Rasp to make a strong run and give UW its third try and a 27-5 lead.
Oregon would put together a few good phases and put the Huskies back on their heels for a quick score 27-10. However, UW’s defense controlled the tempo from that point until the final whistle and a much needed win after an extensive time off.
“Our boys went into this game eager to get on the pitch and it showed,” Husky head coach Brian Shoener said. “We’ve got a long history against the Ducks, so to go out there fired up and play physical and take advantage of their mistakes is a testament to the kind of potential this team has.”
UW will take their undefeated record up north to face UBC who will be fired up after a loss to Oregon State. The Ducks, meanwhile, will take on Simon Fraser in Burnaby to look to get their first win.