SEATTLE – Chris Petersen knows about the rivalry between Oregon and Washington and how one-sided it can be.
Except when Petersen was an assistant at Oregon back in the late 1990s, the rivalry had a definite lean toward the Huskies.
"I know how the rivalry was because when I was at Oregon it was kind of flipped in a lot of ways," Petersen said Monday. "I think there are interesting rivalries in the Pac-12 with all the Northwest schools in a lot of ways."
At his introductory news conference last December, Petersen was asked if he was going to be able to end the Huskies' drought against the Ducks. His first chance at doing so comes Saturday when Washington (5-1, 1-1 Pac-12) travels to No. 9 Oregon.
The Ducks have become Washington's biggest nemesis, perhaps even more so than in-state rival Washington State. The Huskies' last win over the Ducks came in 2003 when Petersen was offensive coordinator at Boise State and the majority of Washington's current roster was in elementary school.
It's a remarkable stretch of dominance by the Ducks and none of the games have been close — the average margin of victory is more than 25 points.
Of course, Washington fans have noted Petersen's success against the Ducks while at Boise State. The Broncos were 2-0 against Oregon, winning 37-32 in Eugene in 2008 and 19-8 in 2009, a standout performance by Boise State's defense that was overshadowed by LeGarrette Blount punching Byron Hout after the game.
Petersen wasn't interested Monday in revisiting the past against the Ducks.
"It was a long time ago. I just know the kids played hard," Petersen said in reference to the 2009 game. "Two good teams going at it."
Washington is coming off its most complete performance of the season in a 31-7 win over California on Saturday. The Huskies held a California offense averaging 50.8 points per game to season lows in points and total yards. Linebacker Shaq Thompson was named Pac-12 defensive player of the week for the second time this season after returning a fumble 100 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, while Hau'oli Kikaha moved into the national lead in sacks (10) after collecting three against the Golden Bears.
Kikaha knows the challenge is different than any faced this season taking on Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.
"He's probably the best dual-threat quarterback out there. Just knowing he can cut you deep by throwing the deep ball and then running it as well is nerve-wracking for pass rushers," Kikaha said.
But equal to the Huskies' defensive performance was the improvement of Washington's offense, which was maligned after struggling against Stanford.
Quarterback Cyler Miles pushed the ball downfield with throws, and used fewer quick screens around the line of scrimmage. Miles hit Joshua Perkins on a 25-yard touchdown late in the first quarter following a California fumble for a 14-0 lead, although John Ross' 86-yard touchdown late in the first half came on a quick inside screen.
Miles finished with a passer rating of 189.1 and threw for 273 yards, both career bests. He also continued to protect the ball — even with the downfield throwing — and still has not thrown an interception this season in 129 pass attempts.
"I think he got the ball out on time. He did a better job in the pocket of feeling the rush a little bit better. ..." Petersen said. "He was just more efficient. He took what they gave him, he saw things quicker, threw the ball more accurate."