Oregon used 2018's defeat as fuel for 2020's victory over Washington State

Dylan Mickanen
·3 min read

Oregon used 2018's defeat as fuel for 2020's victory over Washington State originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

Two years ago, then-No. 12 Oregon was coming off a dramatic overtime victory over heated rival Washington and controlling its destiny for the Pac-12 Championship in Mario Cristobal's first season as head coach. 

That didn't last long, as Oregon traveled north to Pullman, WA the next week and laid an egg in a 34-20 loss to then-No. 25 Washington State. The Cougars led 27-0 at halftime after four consecutive drives ending in touchdowns led by quarterback Gardner Minshew II. 

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"I remember every little detail back in 2018. From the hotel room, to the locker room, to the hallway to the field, to the crowds giving us, you know, bad names, middle fingers," explained Travis Dye. "It's been stuck in my mind ever since we left that field."

The Ducks rallied with a 20-0 run to begin the second half but it was too little, too late as they left Martin Stadium defeated. Dye had just three carries for -4 yards that day. 

"I remember us coming back and we just couldn't get it done... It was very heavy on all of our hearts and we knew that nothing like this can ever happen again. Ever. And so I feel like that day just made us stronger," said Dye.

That feeling has stuck with the program since. While Oregon defeated Washington State last season with a walk-off field goal as time expired, winning at Autzen Stadium did not give the team the retribution it sought. 

"When they came to us and we beat 'em, it just wasn't... it didn't give us that thirst quencher that we needed like it was this year," said Dye.

That feeling came Saturday. 

No. 11 Oregon (2-0) once again had a rough first half in Pullman but played well enough to only trail by five at the half. Then in the second half, the game flipped with the Oregon defense allowing no third-quarter points en route to a 43-29 victory. 

Dye had five carries for 54 yards and two receptions for 87 yards and two touchdowns in the win. 

[RELATED]: Oregon Ducks overcome awful 1st half, defeat Washington State 43-29

Following the contest, Dede Lenoir tweeted that when the Cougars faithful rushed the field on them in 2018 was "disrespectful" and the team wanted to deliver some karma.

"They had a fire in their belly for this game," said Cristobal. "That was a rough go in 2018 when we were [in Pullman]. No one has forgotten about that and these guys, they have grown really tight together."

Even those that didn't play in the game from 2018 understood that this wasn't just another game, as freshman linebacker Noah Sewell explained. 

"Coach Cristobal told us about the story [from 2018] and I tried to do everything possible I could to not let the team down."

Sewell did not, recording four tackles including one sack and one tackle-for-loss. 

Next, Oregon (2-0) will host UCLA (0-1) at Autzen Stadium on Saturday, November 21st.