In the dying days of the Pacific Coast Conference, Oregon started to emerge as a top team under Len Casanova. The first meeting when either team was ranked in the top 25 belonged to Washington State, as well as the victory, back in 1951. In the second meeting, the Cougars had another top 25 ranking, but not the same result.
1954 marked the first winning season for the Ducks under Casanova since rebuilding the program after Jim Aiken resigned in 1950. It was a forced resignation due to potential recruiting violations. 1951 was the first season under Casanova was head coach, and faced Washington State at the wrong time. With an 18th ranking in the AP poll, the Cougars pummeled Oregon 41-6.
Things changed since that winning season. Including that year, the Ducks went 2-0-1 against their foe leading up to the 1957 matchup. Washington State again received a top 25 ranking before the meeting, and both teams were ranked 3-1 at the time.
With quarterback Jack Crabtree and a trio of powerful running backs, it was the Oregn defense that held up in a very close 14-13 victory. Little was it known at the time that the Ducks would be ranked in the top 15 in two of the three following seasons.
According to Sports Reference, Crabtree had a lot to work on with his passing game. On the season, he completed only 55 percent completions, and scored just four touchdowns in the redzone. The real bread-and-butter was the rushing offense. Jack Morris and Jim Shanley combined for 172 carries and 1,275 yards.
That’s what Chip Kelly wants to implement now. Safe to say, it’s been working.
Oregon was able to share the title with Oregon State and the end of the season back in 1957, but went on to the Rose Bowl because of the conferences’ no-repeat rule. This year, the Ducks want to be a victory away from the Pac-12 championship before facing the Beavers.
The Ducks lead the series overall, 46-36-7. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. PT at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
Brian Spaen is the lead editor for Autzen Zoo. See his banter with other FanSided writers and love for his favorite west coast professional teams by following him on Twitter.