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Originally published September 30, 2012 at 9:13 PM | Page modified September 30, 2012 at 10:09 PM

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Upset lands Huskies back in AP rankings

Sunday, the Huskies got some additional validation as a team, entering The Associated Press Top 25 rankings for the first time this season at No. 23.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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In the happy aftermath of Washington's win over Stanford on Thursday night, linebacker Thomas Tutogi was asked what he thought the victory said about the team's defense.

"I think we showed people that we are worthy," he said. "That we are pretty good."

Sunday, the Huskies got some additional validation as a team, entering The Associated Press Top 25 rankings for the first time this season at No. 23.

It's the third time UW has been ranked since Steve Sarkisian became coach before the 2009 season.

The Huskies (3-1) were No. 24 in the poll of Sept. 20, 2009, the week after upsetting No. 3 USC; and they were No. 22 in the poll of Oct. 16, 2011, a week after a big win over Colorado improved their record to 5-1.

Before that 2009 ranking they had not been rated since early in the 2003 season, which was their last in a string of 27 straight non-losing seasons.

Each of their stays in the rankings under Sarkisian lasted only a week thanks to a loss the following Saturday at Stanford.

This time, it's a win over the Cardinal that got UW into the rankings, though once again a tough immediate road awaits as the Huskies will play at No. 2 Oregon on Saturday.

And if the Las Vegas oddsmakers are to be believed, the Huskies could have another short stay in the rankings. The Ducks — No. 2 in the AP poll this week — were installed as 24-point favorites for the 7:30 p.m. game at Autzen Stadium.

The line is the second-highest against UW under Sarkisian, topped only by a 36-point spread against the Huskies for their 2010 trip to Oregon. That game marked the first career start for quarterback Keith Price with Jake Locker out with an injury. UW lost that game 53-16. UW was a 23 ½-point underdog earlier this year for its game at Louisiana State, which it lost 41-3.

What is considered to be the biggest spread against UW in a game the Huskies won came in 2009 for the aforementioned upset of the Trojans, when Washington entered as a 19-point underdog.

The Huskies, though, are feeling emboldened after the win over Stanford, their second over a Top-10 team since Sarkisian became coach — the other being the 2009 win over the Trojans.

Washington held Stanford without an offensive touchdown in a performance it hopes signals a permanent breakthrough for a defense that appears vastly improved under first-year coordinator Justin Wilcox.

"I think (the Stanford win was big) also because of the uncertainty of how people viewed our defense and how things were coming along," said senior safety Justin Glenn. "This is just a statement of where we are and how far we have come and still the improvement we can make and shows that we can maybe be a solid defense and keep our team in the game when our offense isn't doing as well as they usually do."

Oregon, though, will present a much more formidable challenge for the Huskies. The Ducks have scored 30 or more points in 18 straight games after their 51-26 win Saturday night over Washington State at CenturyLink Field.

Oregon is fourth in the nation in scoring at 52.4 points per game and sixth in rushing at 303.4.

And serving as an additional subplot is the return of Wilcox to his alma mater. Wilcox was a safety and cornerback at Oregon from 1996 to 1999.

Note

• The Pac-12 has six teams in the AP Top 25, including No. 14 Oregon State, the most surprising team in the nation. The last time the Pac-12 was so well represented in the poll was Sept. 15, 2002.

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @bcondotta. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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