SEATTLE (AP) — All that good will Justin Wilcox built up at Oregon, from his days as a ballboy on the sidelines to being a four-year letterman for the Ducks as a defensive back, it's gone.
Actually it was probably gone a while ago, maybe around the time he was twice able to help lead Boise State to upset victories over his alma mater. And if it didn't disappear then, it certainly did when Wilcox accepted the defensive coordinator job at rival Washington this past offseason.
He's still the kid from Junction City, Ore., who went on to wear the green and yellow of the Ducks. But now he's trying to become a roadblock to Oregon's march through the Pac-12.
"I went to school there, I'm proud to be from there," Wilcox said this week. "But my allegiance is with the Huskies and this team."
Coming off an upset of then-No. 8 Stanford where Wilcox's defense was the reason for the victory, the No. 23 Huskies travel to Eugene on Saturday to face the second-ranked Ducks, with Washington trying to snap an eight-game losing streak to its rival to the south.
Washington's last win over the Ducks came in 2003. Since then, Oregon has outscored the Huskies 339-137 and averaged 261 yards per game rushing. There is no greater contrast in the Pac-12, going from trying to prepare for the power of Stanford to the speed of Oregon.
"Literally the ref is trying to put the ball down and the center is trying to snap it. It happens that fast," Wilcox said.
But if there is one advantage Washington could have, it's Wilcox and his past track record against the Ducks.
The first time Wilcox was calling the defense against his former school came in 2008 when Boise State traveled to Eugene and became the last non-conference team to beat the Ducks in Autzen Stadium. But that 37-32 win is better remembered for the four turnovers Boise State forced and a controversial hit that knocked quarterback Jeremiah Masoli out of the game.
A year later, in Boise, is when Wilcox should have become known nationally, only to be overshadowed by a moment after the Broncos' 19-8 victory. It was Chip Kelly's first game as Oregon's head coach and the Ducks offense was completely flummoxed. Oregon had six total first downs, rushed for just 31 net yards and failed to reach double-digits in points for the only time since 2007. The 152 total yards Oregon managed that night against Wilcox's defense is the second-lowest total by the Ducks offense since 1996.
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