Washington Huskies vs Washington State Cougars Preview
It has been a long time since the Apple Cup packed such importance and No. 5 Washington and No. 23 Washington State square off in a duel for the Pac-12 North Division crown when they meet on Friday in Pullman (Enter Contest). The last time the two rivals were both ranked when they met was in 2001. It was a 26-14 win for the Huskies. The visiting Washington’s national championship hopes hang in the balance as well as attempting to secure a spot in the Pac-12 title game. The Cougars had an eight-game winning streak halted with a 38-24 road loss to Colorado on Saturday.
ABOUT WASHINGTON (10-1, 7-1 Pac-12)
Sophomore quarterback Jake Browning fueled the Huskies’ rise with his superb play that includes a school-record 37 touchdown passes to go with 2,870 yards and only seven interceptions. Two junior big-play wideouts have certainly aided his production. Both John Ross (64 receptions for 991 yards and 15 touchdowns) and Dante Pettis (46 for 701, 12 scores) are enjoying solid campaigns, as is sophomore running back Myles Gaskin (1,130 yards, nine touchdowns). The defense has lost key players in linebackers Azeem Victor (67 tackles) and Joe Mathis (five sacks) with season-ending injuries. No worries though because junior inside linebacker Keishawn Bierria leads the nation with five fumble recoveries. Washington owns a 70-32-6 series lead and recorded victories in each of the past three meetings.
ABOUT WASHINGTON STATE (8-3, 7-1 Pac-12)
Junior quarterback Luke Falk is enjoying his own splendid season with 35 touchdowns passes (three off the school record he set last season) and he ranks third nationally with 3,935 passing yards. Falk (87) is four touchdown passes away from breaking the Cougars’ record set by Connor Halliday (90 from 2011-14). Senior receiver Gabe Marks (74 catches, 12 touchdowns) became the 13th player in FBS history to top 300 career receptions and his 36 career touchdown catches are five shy of the Pac-12 record held by USC’s Dwayne Jarrett (2004-06). Senior free safety Shalom Luani has a team-best four interceptions and junior middle linebacker Peyton Pelluer has a team-leading 80 tackles for a defense allowing 25.5 points per game.