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Duck Hunting: A History Lesson

A very important one at that.

Jack Ellis/CougCenter

Good morning, Coug fans!

On a crisp fall day, November 9th, 1901, the Washington State Cougars and the University of Oregon Ducks faced off against each other for the very first time. This was a very important game for me personally. I bet you’re asking yourself: “Emma, why was this game important to you? It happened almost exactly 97 years before you were born...” To which I say: first, excellent math, and second, Washington State won 16-0.

This game also set up a rivalry applicable mostly to my life, as a little Coug fan growing up surrounded by University of Oregon fans. To be honest, I don’t think I would love football as much as I do if I didn’t have the memories of lovingly fighting against some of my dearest friends.

But- let’s break down the history of this rivalry, since that seems to be my beat lately!

As most of you know, University of Oregon’s main rivals are the Oregon State Beavers (love you guys) and the University of Washington Huskies (no comment). It’s not uncommon, on occasion, for Cougs and Ducks to put certain feelings aside when the Huskies are involved- the enemy of my enemy is my friend, etc. But nonetheless, feelings are still involved! Why?

In 1919, during a stretch of time where Cougs v. Ducks took place either in Pullman, or in my home town of Portland, Oregon, the Cougs were able to get the job done in PDX, winning 7-0. The coaches names during this time were quite fun. Washington State was led by Gustavis A. Welch, nicknamed “Gus”, and University of Oregon had Charles A. Huntington, or “Shy” as their guy on the line. Perhaps Shy just couldn’t take the spotlight. These two would face off against each other two more times, one in 1921 and again in 1922.

After WSU’s win in 1926, the games took a 10 year hiatus, which Washington State answered with a humble and gracious 3-0 victory in 1936. To some, this might be a more pathetic margin of victory, but I view it as taking pity on an inferior team! Let’s reframe.

In 1995, the Battle of the Mikes (as I affectionally named it) began. Mike Bellotti (UO) vs Mike Price (us). We have now entered the timeline where most of you were alive, and remember games, and probably have opinions. We are also nearing the time of my birth, so therefor I will choose peace today and hop to 2002, the end of the Battle of the Mikes, where WSU won 32-21. That game is more fun to remember anyway!!

We will skip Bill Doba and Paul Wulff in this history lesson. Also because I do not want to talk about Chip Kelly. “If you don’t have anything nice to say” and all that jazz.

Jumping right along- 2016 was a rough year for the Ducks. It broke the 12 straight games won against UW, and of course they lost to us as well. The Ducks went 4-8 that season, with additional losses to Cal, USC, Stanford, AND Oregon State (Go Beavs). There were many things about 2016 that brought me displeasure, but the Ducks going 4-8 was not one of them.

Then obviously, Gameday. You know the one. I’ve seen it tossed around on social media pretty frequently lately, since the vibes in the air seem to be so similar. I hope the outcome of the game is too!!

While on the phone with a Duck fan friend of mine last night, he said that while he’s never been to Pullman, there has to be “something up with the Palouse”. I love this quote for two reasons, 1) he’s right. And 2) he knows it.
We talked in detail about how some smarter Duck fans are intimidated by playing in Pullman, which makes sense to me. We’re a great crowd. We know what makes Pullman Pullman, but I had no idea that other fans had caught on. Good stuff.

It’s true what they say: history is told through the lens of the people writing the books, since I left several notable losses out. But why dwell on that? Hopefully this can serve as a fun little walk down the more pleasant memory lane!

I hope everyone going to the game tomorrow has a blast!! I wish I was there too. Go Cougs!


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