EUGENE, Ore. - When the University of Oreogn (9-1) takes the field Saturday against the University of Utah (7-3), a lot will be on the line - including hopes of seeing the Ducks in the College Football Playoffs.
But beating the Utes offers another tangible prize:
40,000 pounds of pork from Smithfield Foods in Utah for FOOD for Lane County and the Oregon Food Bank.
That's Sen. Mike Lee of Utah's wager that his team will beat Sen. Ron Wyden's Ducks.
“Everyone wins when we work together to provide access to food,” said Tom Mulhern, Executive Director of FOOD for Lane County. “We're grateful to Senator Wyden and Senator Lee for responding to food insecurity in our communities in such a positive and helpful way.”
Should the Utes win, Farmers Ending Hunger and Tillamook County Creamery Association in Oregon will deliver 15,000 pounds of ground beef and more than 20,000 pounds of cheese and dairy products to the Utah Food Bank being the recipient.
Actually, win or lose, food banks in both states can expect to receive the donations: the senators said that "No matter the result of the game, the food banks in both states will 'collect their winnings'.”
“We at Farmers Ending Hunger are grateful to partner with Senator Wyden to donate Oregon-grown beef to Utah,” said Fred Ziari, Chair of the Board of Directors for Farmers Ending Hunger. “More than anything we appreciate the attention this brings to hunger issues that have grown in our two states substantially during the pandemic.”
But Oregon being Oregon, Saturday is a day to be won.
"The Ducks are no strangers to winning crucial road games this season so as a longtime Oregon football fan going back to my days at U of O Law School," Wyden said. "I have no doubt the Ducks’ march to the college football playoffs will continue on Saturday in Salt Lake City. I very much look forward to another Ducks win. And I’m grateful that Farmers Ending Hunger and TCCA once again are putting their community generosity on full display as part of this effort to help combat hunger in Oregon and Utah.”
But Lee isn't going to concede before the game is even played.
“The Utes have had one heck of a season and are coming off of a three-game winning streak. While a true, blue BYU Cougar myself, I’m confident the University of Utah will give the Ducks a run for their money this weekend,” Lee said. “I am grateful to my friend and colleague Senator Wyden and to the universities for joining in this effort. I am also especially grateful to Smithfield Foods in Utah for making this game particularly interesting by donating 80,000 pounds of protein to food banks in Utah and Oregon. What is sure to be a good game will do a lot of good in our communities.”