BY Art Thiel 07:05PM 10/13/2014

Petersen, 2-0 vs. Ducks, can’t recall how — sure

Petersen won’t be divulging either passion or plan for the game at Oregon Saturday. But as a former Ducks assistant, he knows well the antagoism in the rivalry.

Chris Petersen now gets to experience the Ducks-Huskies rivalry from the other side. / Drew McKenzie, Sportpress Northwest

To hear Chris Petersen tell it, the coach of the Washington Huskies has all but forgotten his time at Boise State, which included a 2-0 record against the Oregon Ducks, who entertain the Huskies in Eugene Saturday. Those games may have been the two biggest reasons he was hired at Montlake. 

“It was a long time ago,” he said Monday. “I just know the kids played hard. Two good teams going at it . . . I don’t remember the details other than guys played really, really hard and effective.”

To help jog Petersen’s memory in case he isn’t sandbagging his recollection, on Aug. 31, 2008, the Broncos shocked the Judeo-Christian world by beating the Ducks in Eugene, 37-32. In the run-up to the rematch in Boise a year later, Oregon star running back LeGarrette Blount said, “We owe that team an ass-whuppin’.”

Instead, Boise State opened a second can of whup-ass with a 19-8 win as the Broncos outgained Oregon 361 yards to 152, rolling up 22 first downs to the Ducks’ six. The game became notorious afterward when, right in front of Petersen, Blount punched the face of Broncos DE Byron Hout, who taunted him. Blount went after fans in the stands and was subsequently suspended.

And Petersen doesn’t recall much. Rrrright.

Beating Oregon, of course, has become the Holy Grail at Montlake, where the Huskies last beat the Ducks Nov. 1, 2003, a 42-10 win under coach Keith Gilbertson and behind backup quarterback Cory Paus, who succeeded a concussed Cody Pickett. The subsequent 10 years, in which Oregon has become a national powerhouse aboard the wallet of Phil Knight and his Nike empire, included 10 consecutive Huskies losses and has been, in a word, hell.

Petersen Monday wanted no part of stoking the passions, speaking only in the broadest generalities about rivalries.

“I think there’s just interesting rivalries in the Pac-12, with all the Northwest schools, in a lot of ways,” Peteren said. “Certain schools are pointing at the other school, and the other school’s pointing at this school  . . .  When a team starts winning a lot against a certain team, that becomes their rival, and maybe not even so much (the traditional rival). You’ve got to win some to even it out, to make somebody your rival.

“But yeah, when somebody wins a lot, I know it frustrates a lot of people.”

Petersen knows it from the other side too. He coached at Oregon from 1995-2000, joining as a receivers coach under Mike Bellotti when he took over the program as it began its ascent.

“I know how the rivalry was, because when I was at Oregon it was kind of flipped in a lot of ways,” he said. Back then, it was the Huskies who dominated the Ducks, whose fans detested their arrogant, insufferable counterparts from Seattle. Now it is the Ducks, their kaleidoscopic uniforms and their nouveau riche fans who are the acme of contempt for the purple partisans.

During his time in Eugene, Petersen was described by Bellotti as a “mad scientist” for the wild offensive schemes he urged his boss to be deployed. In an interview with the Oregonian in December after Petersen left Boise for Washington, Bellotti also said Petersen, in subsequent years, expressed a hankering for the Washington job.

“That job was the one that he specifically mentioned to me in the past few years that held interest for him,” said Bellotti, who recruited Petersen in 1982 out of Yuba City, CA. “Pete is a very picky guy in that regard and not about, you know, all the other stuff.

“It’s more about how does it fit for him and his family. Is it going to be comfortable, can I bring the staff I want, are we going to have the kind of lifestyle I feel will be most beneficial to us having success?”

He said Petersen’s skills and Washington’s resources could make him “as powerful as anybody in the western United States.

“I certainly feel like it can be the next step for them because he knows how to win and knows how to compete not just for championships within his conference but for national recognition and that’s what Washington has wanted and was in the past.”

Bellotti’s high praise for Petersen is off to a 5-1 start, although until the 31-7 win at Cal Saturday, his first Pac-12 triumph, the Montlake buy-in tended to be on the cautious side. That’s because college football fans have all the patience of a Labrador retriever with a tennis ball.

But if Petersen can trouble himself to dust off the Boise State game plans from 2008-9 for the Ducks Saturday, and deploy them as best his fuzzy memory allows, he may experience a slobbery face-lick in Eugene that will be measured in fathoms.

Perkins suspended for a half

TE Joshua Perkins will be suspended for the first half of the game Saturday,  a mandatory punishment for his ejection for targeting the head of a Cal defender. Petersen indicated that in a conversation with the conference office, a reversal of the punishment might be possible. That is not the case.

“The Conference does not overturn as that is the responsibility of the video replay crew,” a Pac-12 spokesman told the News Tribune. “The crew confirmed the targeting call during the game and Perkins will be required by the playing rules to sit the first half of the next game.”

Asked what he thought of the call, Petersen said, “You probably know.”

But he went on to defend in general the officiating of a difficult rules interpretation.

“Those are hard calls,” he said. “The bottom line is, officials are trying to get them right. Those are really close calls. We’re also sensitive about the head shots, trying to take that out of the game.  It’s a lot easier when you’ve got the replay and you can sit there and look at it 30 times after.”

Thompson honored — again

Shaq Thompson was named Pac-12 defensive player of the week for the second week in a row.

The junior from Sacramento, CA., scooped up a fumble and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown for the first score at Cal. The return was the longest fumble return in school history and was Thompson’s fourth defensive touchdown of the season and his third fumble return for a touchdown.

Thompson also recorded a game-high 11 tackles. Thompson ranks second in the nation in fumble recoveries with three and his average of .50 forced fumbles per game ranks him fifth in the nation.



  • jafabian

    Ducks are under pressure right now. They lose any more games they’re completely out of the National Championship picture. It’d be very cool for the Dawgs to be the reason for it.

    • art thiel

      Ducks have to win out, but they looked ready for it vs. UCLA.

      • Paddy

        UCLA was a bit over hyped in my opinion. I don’t even personally think their QB is really that awesome. They are capable of getting some big wins, but they are inconsistent and undisciplined, which showed in Virginia, Memphis, Texas, Utah, and now Oregon games. I also think the losses of Barr and Marsh are hurting them on D.

        The Huskies are similar right now. They have an inconsistent offense and a D that sometimes starts a bit slow. With that said, I do think they play a little cleaner than UCLA and wouldn’t be shocked if they have a better overall D with Shelton, Kikaha, Timu, Thompson, Peters, Feeney, and a rapidly improving Baker. This is a team that really seems to be getting better over time. If the Huskies can take advantage of the experience they have on the OL and talent at RB and get solid play out of their D, they might pose a bigger challenge than UCLA. D and running the rock travels well, so they’ll only win if they do well with those areas.

    • notaboomer

      what if the huskies win out? won’t they be in the national championship picture?

  • Matt

    Awesome metaphors and wordsmanship today, Art. Here’s to hoping the genius of Chris Peterson we all hoped for continues to blossom.

    • art thiel

      Thanks for noticing Matt. Not sure this is the offense Petersen needs to beat Oregon, but the defense might be.

      • Paddy

        The offense has been very inconsistent and often on the side of garbage, but their one true bad game was against a killer Stanford team built on D, so it’s hard to tell if they’re starting to turn the corner a bit. The defense might have 5 1st round talents though, so it will be interesting. If they can find a way to contain and get pressure, they might be able to keep the score low enough, create a couple scoring turnovers, and keep the often stagnant offense in the game. The other thing I’ve been noticing is the run game seems to be improving and the Huskies just seem to be playing more technically sound football, which is leading to fewer big mistakes that always seemed to doom them under Sarkisian. Eventually the tides will turn and as often the case, it will likely take an upset of some degree, so why not this year lol (not holding much hope though).

  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    I dont know how Petersons 1st year at Boise State(in the instant success dept) went but it would be seen as a major shocker if they cast doom and gloom on the ducks by eking out a win. Defense can win games in college it is just less prevalent than in the pros but I dont think you count us out with Thompson patrolling ….waiting for his next chance to score a defensive touchdown. Eugene has not been kind. Its nice to be 5~1 and even nicer to not have sad thoughts about this game. The fan base sure believes we can end this 10 game debacle.

    • Paddy

      I find it highly unlikely the Huskies end it, but defense can be just as important in college as in the pros. It is definitely a long shot for the Huskies to win this one, but if they do manage, it will be because of the 1st round NFL talent they have on D and because they manage to get a run game going to open the pass. A lot of the SEC teams that have been winning championships were winning because of ridiculous defenses and physical running and ND made it to the championship game a few years back because of its D almost alone. Even Stanford and USC were built on D during their best years. People, especially Pac-12 enthusiasts just tend to ignore that fact more than others in the country because of how dominant Oregon has been offensively the past 5-10 years. People forget Oregon had a pretty good D during that span as well (not Alabama, LSU, or Auburn good though, which is why they never were able to get a championship).

  • Pixdawg13

    The remarkable thing is that an official–supposedly unbiased–confirmed the targeting call on Perkins. I don’t know what replay he used–the ones I saw on P12 NW clearly showed Perkins hitting the Cal player with his shoulder, not his helmet, and the hit was to the midsection.

    As for ‘defenseless’–the Cal player didn’t meet any of the several criteria used in the rules to define a player as defenseless. It was a terrible call in all respects. Of course, that’s what we expect from Pac 12 officiating.

  • Dano

    Huskies dominated Ducks when Petersen was at UO? Ahhh No, Ducks were 4-2 against Huskies in that period.

  • HuskyFanPodcast

    Art, it was Chip who took Oregon to national prominence. Knight’s money helped make them a player and they were good under Belotti. But Chip was clearly the only reason they became an elite program. At the end of the day it comes down to coaching. UW now has the championship coach to take them on a path back to national heights.