Ties Make Husky-Ducks Rivalry Special

Nov. 3, 2006

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- There are so many ties between Washingtonand Oregon, that it's no wonder the game between the two teams issuch a big rivalry.

Oregon's star running back, Jonathan Stewart, is from Lacey,Wash. Ducks coach Mike Bellotti and Washington counterpart TyroneWillingham are old pals. And Washington backup quarterback JohnnyDuRocher started his career at Oregon.

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There's history, too. In 2002, Washington celebrated a victoryover the Ducks by partying on the big 'O' on Autzen Stadium'sfield. That still doesn't sit well in Eugene.

So there's a lot of buzz for Saturday's game between the No. 24Ducks (6-2, 3-2) and the Huskies (4-5, 2-4).

'Big rivalry game this week, obviously, though sometimes moreto the fans than the players,' Oregon receiver Jordan Kent said.'We try to treat it like any other game but you definitely want towin these Northwest games.'

Washington would also like to win, especially against a rankedopponent. After going 4-1 to start the season, the Huskies havelost four straight. They are coming off a 26-23 overtime loss athome to Arizona State.

Washington lost starter Isaiah Stanback in mid-October and havehad to adjust to backup Carl Bonnell. Bonnell has also beeninjured, hurting his non-throwing shoulder against Cal thensuffering a concussion against the Sun Devils.

After Bonnell left, DuRocher took over against the Sun Devils.Without any practice, DuRocher performed well in the fourthquarter, leading the Huskies to a tying touchdown. He was 4-of-8passing for 40 yards.

Bonnell is expected to start Saturday, but if he has troublehe'll be replaced by DuRocher, who got more snaps in practice thisweek.

DuRocher was a part of Oregon's 2003 recruiting class, whichincluded current quarterback Dennis Dixon and backup Brady Leaf.DuRocher transferred to Washington in 2004.

'I've just got to be ready to go, similar to last week, and ifit happens, I'll be looking forward to it,' DuRocher said.

On the other side, Willingham tried to recruit Stewart to NotreDame and later attempted to recruit him to Washington. But Stewarthad his mind made up and never made a visit to Seattle.

Stewart said the rivalry is no big deal to him, even though hehails from Lacey, just east of the Washington state capital ofOlympia.

'Just because it's my hometown, I don't put that much emphasison it. If we don't win this game it will be just as bad as if welost to some other team,' he said.

Stewart hurt his ribs in the Ducks 55-12 victory over PortlandState last Saturday. He said he would be ready for the Huskies,although the Ducks are hurting elsewhere. Coach Mike Bellotti mayplay true freshman running back Andre Crenshaw, who will give up apotential redshirt year.

Already bowl eligible, the Ducks are fighting for position inthe Pac-10. Cal is undefeated in the league and USC has one loss.Washington State is in third.

The Ducks are back with Oregon State in fourth.

'We just need to start building some consistency. Our last fewgames have been win one, lose one, win one, lose one,' Kent said.'We need to put together a good streak of wins here as we try andclose out the season and try to position ourselves for thepostseason.'

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