The Oregon Ducks football program is a college football team for the University of Oregon, located in the U.S. state of Oregon. The team competes at the NCAA Division I level in the FBS and is a member of the Pac-12 Conference (Pac-12). Known as the Ducks, the team was commonly called the Webfoots until the mid-1960s. The first football team was fielded in 1894. Oregon plays its home games at the 54,000 seat Autzen Stadium in Eugene; its main rivals are the Oregon State Beavers and the Washington Huskies. The Ducks and Beavers historically end each regular season with the Civil War rivalry game in late November.
Early history (1894–1912)
The football program began in 1894 and played its first game on March 24, 1894, defeating Albany College 44–3 under head coach Cal Young. Cal Young left after that first game and J.A. Church took over the coaching position in the fall for the rest of the season. Oregon finished the season with two additional losses and a tie, but went undefeated the following season, winning all four of its games under head coach Percy Benson. In 1899, the football team left the state for the first time, playing the California Golden Bears in Berkeley, California. Oregon’s largest margin of victory came in 1910 when they defeated the University of Puget Sound 115–0.
Bezdek era (1913–1917)
Oregon changed coaches frequently during this era, going through sixteen different head coaches in nineteen seasons, until Hugo Bezdek, who had coached the Webfoots to a 5–0–1 record in 1906, returned to Oregon from the University of Arkansas in 1913. Bezdek, Oregon’s first truly professional coach, led the team from 1913 through 1917. A versatile motivator of athletes, during his tenure Bezdek was also the West Coast scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In the 1916 season, Oregon went undefeated with seven wins and one tie under Bezdek, shutting out all but two opponents. They opened the season against Willamette University, defeating them 97–0. The game against Washington ended in a 0–0 tie. Oregon used ineligible players in two games and the Pacific Coast Conference title went to Washington,[additional citation(s) needed] but Oregon was given the invitation to the 1917 Rose Bowl, then known as the Tournament East-West Football Game at Tournament Park due to the cost of a train ticket to Los Angeles being significantly less from Eugene than from Seattle. The Oregon football team defeated the heavily favored University of Pennsylvania Quakers 14–0, securing their first Rose Bowl victory.
In 1918 Bezdek quit Oregon to become general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was succeeded by Shy Huntington, one of the heroes of the 1917 Rose Bowl.
Huntington era (1918–1923)
Playing at newly constructed Hayward Field, which would be their home stadium in Eugene until 1967, the Webfoots again tied Washington for the Pacific Coast Conference title in 1919, winning the tiebreaker based on their 24–13 victory over the Huskies in Seattle. Oregon lost the 1920 Rose Bowl to Harvard University, 7–6. This would be the team’s last bowl appearance until the 1948 Cotton Bowl.