DUCKS NOTES: Kelly, Sarkisian bond
The Oregon Ducks (7-1 overall, 5-0 Pac-12) take on the Washington Huskies (6-2, 4-1) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Husky Stadium in Seattle (ROOT Sports), hoping to extend their winning streak in the series. Here are some notes:
• UW leads the all-time series 58-40-5, including 33-23-4 in Seattle. But all of Oregon's seven consecutive wins have been by 20 points or more.
The Ducks' first trip to Husky Stadium, which will undergo renovation, resulted in a 3-3 tie.
• Oregon coach Chip Kelly scoffs at any talk of Oregon-Washington rivalry, saying it doesn't matter to his team and that he sees every teams as a rival. Meanwhile, he and UW coach Steve Sarkisian have become friendly.
"I think the world of Chip," Sarkisian says. "I communicate with Chip more than anybody in the conference.
"They've gotten better since he's taken over. It's a tribute and a credit to him."
• There will be much fanfare Saturday night, with the 1991 UW national championship team and coach Don James being honored, and it being the last game at Husky Stadium. Adds Sarkisian: "We have to make sure we concentrate on the team, the Oregon Ducks."
• Kelly can reach 30 wins, if the Ducks beat Washington. It would make him 30-5 as a head coach.
• Kelly on UW running back Chris Polk, a three-time 1,000-yard rusher: "He's a big, tough, physical back who can run behind his pads and break a lot of tackles. If we don't wrap him up, he'll keep running."
Sarkisian praises his running back.
"If you're going to have a Heisman (Trophy) conversation, Chris Polk should be in that conversation," he says.
• Oregon's numbers have fallen off. It ranks only fifth in scoring (47.5 points per game), fifth in total offense (526.9 yards) and fourth in rushing offense (309.3) in the country.
Still, the Ducks have plenty of offense with QB Darron Thomas (or Bryan Bennett) and running backs LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas.
Speed abounds on the UO team, Sarkisian says, and a key will be staying fresh defensively in the second half.
And, "we gotta score," he says.
Sarkisian says stopping the UO running attack will be the goal, no disrespect to Darron Thomas (or Bennett) intended.
"If you blink, they're in the end zone," Sarkisian says.
• De'Anthony Thomas and Clemson's Sammy Watkins are tied for most touchdowns by true freshmen with 11.
Thomas is the only player in the country with 300 or more yards in each of these categories - rushing, receiving and kick returning.
"Electric player," Sarkisian says.
• The Huskies are 6-2 overall and 4-1 in league and "we're playing with house money," their coach says. "This is a little bit of foreign territory for us." Meaning the Huskies have been bad or mediocre for several yearsthe , and being already bowl eligible and one of the Pac-12's better teams, it'll be interesting to see how Washington plays the rest of the season.
• The Ducks have eight interceptions this year - by eight different players. And, UO has recovered only one fumble, fewest among 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams.
• Oregon is closing in on USC for best record among Pac-12 teams since 1994. The Ducks are 154-64 (.706), just behind USC 159-66 (.707), although 14 of the Trojans' wins have been vacated.