SEATTLE - LaMichael James wasn't wearing an elbow brace (until the game started), Darron Thomas had been anointed the definitive starting quarterback by his coach and the Oregon Ducks looked to knock off Washington on the Huskies' big Saturday night at Husky Stadium.
The game will mark the end of Husky Stadium as we know it, with $250 million in renovations planned and 2013 the season for re-opening.
It was senior night for Washington, and members of the 1991 national championship team with coach Don James were to be honored. It was a big night for the Huskies.
But the Ducks (7-1, 5-0) wanted to ruin it, and set up a showdown at Stanford next week. A win by the Huskies (6-2, 4-1) would forge a three-way race for the Pac-12 North crown.
The 70,000-something strong crowd was rockin', and they literally had the press box shakin' as the game approached.
Here's a quarter-by-quarter game track:
The Huskies moved the ball briefly, before QB Keith Price sailed a pass and Eddie Pleasant intercepted it.
James quieted the crowd with an 18-yard TD run, and it was 7-0, Oregon.
The Ducks forced a punt on a sack by Brandon Hanna. But on UO's first play, Thomas tried to make a throw and the ball slipped out of his hands, with UW recovering at the UO 32.
Dion Jordan and Wade Keliikipi combined to sack Price, who also suffered a drop by Devin Aguilar. The Huskies settled for a field goal, Erik Folk's 42-yarder.
De'Anthony Thomas ripped off a 69-yard kickoff return. Darron Thomas threw wildly, under pressure, on third-and-12, but the Ducks got called for holding.
The Huskies declined the penalty, which would have pushed the Ducks out of field goal range, giving UO a field goal opportunity, and Alejandro Maldonado booted a 40-yarder.
On third-and-2, Price threw a pass to the flat, and UO's Troy Hill tackled receiver Kasen Williams for a minus-one play. Interesting call. Punt.
Darron Thomas threw to Josh Huff, who caught the ball and ran 22 yards. But the Ducks sputtered, with Darron Thomas throwing behind Daryle Hawkins on third down. Darron Thomas struggling early.
The Huskies converted a third down and were moving the ball as the first quarter ended. Polk was running better. Eddie Pleasant got whistled for pass interference, putting Washington at the UO 41.
Pleasant got his revenge, though, picking off his second pass and returning to the UW 34.
James rushed for eight and 16 yards and Darron Thomas seven. Then, Thomas rolled out and found tight end David Paulson for a 3-yard TD play, and it was 17-3.
Oregon's defense had risen to the challenge, and played the best it had played all season.
Thomas had to throw away a pass on third down, forcing a punt from the UO 12. Washington took over at the UO 49.
The Huskies pounded down field with Polk. Price hit Tim Tucker for five yards to convert one third down, and then Jesse Callier for five yards to convert another.
He threw nine yards to Jermaine Kearse to the UO 3. And, then Price scrambled toward the UO goal line, the ball spotted at the 1, with officials reviewing the play for a possible touchdown. The ruling stood, with the Huskies at the UO 1 with 34 seconds left in the half.
Price spun and threw a 1-yard TD pass to Michael Hartvigson, and it was 17-10.
Oregon quickly got into position to score, as Thomas threw 27 yards to Paulson and then 13 to Hawkins. Alejandro Maldonado had a 45-yard field goal attempt with one second left in the half.
The Huskies called three timeouts to try to rattle Maldonado. His kick was way short.
The Ducks wasted little time in extending their lead to 24-10: 12 plays, 90 yards, 2:25 of possession time. Kenjon Barner, after not carrying the ball in the first half, rushed on third down for two first downs, and later scored on a 1-yard TD run.
But the Huskies still showed life. Polk ran for 14 yards. Price hit Polk for six on third down. And, then, boom, boom, boom: Bishop Sankey ran for 19 yards, Price threw to Devin Aguilar for 19 yards and Price threw to Kasen Williams for a a 10-yard TD play. UW closed within 24-17.
The Huskies forced third down, but then the flood gates opened. Thomas hit Paulson for 34 yards in a huge play. Thomas threw 19 yards to Josh Huff. James rushed for seven. And, De'Anthony Thomas touched the ball for the first time on offense, scoring on a 9-yard TD run with 6:05 left in the quarter.
The Huskies faced fourth-and-4 at the UO 49 with about four minutes left, and Price threw to Polk as he was falling down. But the Ducks took over at the UW 48.
Hawkins, playing the most this season, dropped a wide-open pass that would have been a touchdown.
Maldonado's 35-yard field goal made it 34-17.
Terrance Mitchell stripped a UW receiver and secured the ball, giving the Ducks possession at the UW 23. Later, Maldonado missed a long field-goal try.
After Maldonado's miss, the Huskies had to punt from near midfield, and the ball went into the end zone for a touchback.
Oregon chose to punt on fourth-and-1 from its 41. A delay penalty made it fourth-and-6 before the Ducks could make the boot. A fair catch gave UW the ball at its 20 with 8:38 left.
After being sacked by Dion Jordan and Taylor Hart, UW quarterback Price needed assistance and went to the sidelines, and the Huskies sent in Nick Montana, a freshman and son of Hall of Fame QB Joe Montana.
His first pass was a long one, and it hit receiver Kasen Williams perfectly down the sidelines.
Price returned, but he had a pass dropped in the end zone by teammate Kevin Smith.
That brought up fourth-and-10 from the Oregon 27. Price scrambled but threw incomplete into a tight spot and coverage on the sideline.
Oregon was able to run the clock and move into Husky territory. On fourth-and-2 from the Washington 40, the Ducks took a delay penalty with 1:03 to go. The punt was downed at the UW 2 with 51 seconds remaining.
Final score: Oregon 34, Washington 17.