Final | Cougars 40, Huskies 13

5 p.m. | Husky Stadium | Seattle

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2021 Apple Cup: Cougars 40, Huskies 13

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Instant analysis: Three impressions from WSU’s 40-13 route of UW in the Apple Cup

Here are three first impressions from Washington State’s 40-13 victory over Washington in the Apple Cup on Friday night at Husky Stadium.

Once again, it was no contest

We’ve gotten used to mismatches in the Apple Cup — but this time it was the Cougars who dominated after losing the past seven Apple Cups by at least 10 points.

There was never a doubt which was the better team, even when WSU’s lead was just 13-7 at halftime. The Cougars had dominated all the stats except scoring. In the second half, they dominated that, too.

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—Scott Hanson
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Washington State snaps seven-game Apple Cup losing streak with 40-13 drubbing of UW

So this is how an era of Washington football ends.

With WSU running back Max Borghi spinning off an Asa Turner tackle attempt at the 11-yard line and diving across the goal line for a 32-yard touchdown on the game’s opening drive — fitting foreshadowing for the coming catastrophe.

With WSU outgaining UW 454-200 in a thoroughly one-sided in-state incineration.

With Cougars quarterback Jayden de Laura completing an astounding 27 of 32 passes for 245 yards, decimating a UW pass defense that entered the game ranked first in the nation. With the sophomore signal caller sliding to a stop and posing on the Husky Stadium turf early in a mostly meaningless fourth quarter.

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—Mike Vorel
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Cougs return a pick-six for good measure

Cougs hit another field goal

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Huskies find the end zone again, cut lead to 30-13

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Cougs starting to pull away with another rushing touchdown

Third-quarter observations

There are 15 minutes remaining.

But make no mistake: this game is over.

Statistically, it has been since it started.

WSU has outgained Washington 378-124. Cougs quarterback Jayden de Laura has completed 25 of 29 passes for 235 yards. Washington State has averaged 5.1 yards per carry, and UW quarterback Sam Huard has thrown three interceptions in his first career start.

—Mike Vorel

End of third: Cougars 23, Huskies 7

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Huard completes long pass ... and throws third interception

WSU extends lead to three scores with third field goal

Huard throws second interception of the game

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Cougs extend lead on first drive of second half as Borghi rushes for second TD

The scoring play: Max Borghi punches it in from a yard out.

The drive: 10 plays, 78 yards, 5:49.

The story: After the Huskies blew a big chance to make this one interesting on their first possession of the second half, the Cougs took advantage of their shot.

The score: Cougars 20, Huskies 7.

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WSU drives into red zone again

Huskies go three-and-out to open second half

The drive: Three plays, 6 yards, 1:34.

The story: Missed opportunity for the Huskies.

Next possession: WSU starts at own 22.

Time left: 13:26 in 3Q.

Halftime observations

Somehow, some way, this is a one-score game.

It should not be – not when WSU has outgained UW 255-63, when Cougs quarterback Jayden de Laura has completed 16 of 17 passes for 164 yards, when Washington State has also rushed for 5.1 yards per carry.

But a pair of goal line stands, plus a 75-yard scoring drive and a missed WSU field goal, has kept the Huskies in it – and they also get the ball to start the second half.

—Mike Vorel
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Halftime: Cougars 13, Huskies 7

Kamari Pleasant rushes for 10-yard TD

The scoring play: Kamari Plesant rushes 10 yards for a touchdown.

The drive: Nine plays, 75 yards, 5:01.

The story: Big drive there for the Huskies, buoyed by Sam Huard's long pass to Ja'Lynn Polk, who made a great play on the ball.

The score: Cougars 13, Huskies 7.

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WSU settles for field goal off Huard INT

Sam Huard throws first INT of UW career on third drive

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Huskies force Cougars into first punt

The drive: Eight plays, 31 yards, 5:41.

The story: The story of this one is the Max Borghi touchdown run that wasn't. The Huskies instead forced the Cougars into their first punt of the night.

Next possession: Huskies start on own 20.

Time left: 11:16 in 2Q.

Long Borghi TD called back for holding

First-quarter observations

From a UW perspective, it’s hard to imagine a first quarter going much worse.

After stoning WSU running back Max Borghi on his first two carries, the Husky defense promptly imploded – surrendering 153 total yards, seven first downs and 10 points on Cougars’ first two drives. WSU quarterback Jayden de Laura has completed 8 of 9 passes for 96 yards, and WSU has averaged 5.7 yards per carry.

On the other side, the Sam Huard Era got off to an inauspicious start – with Huard completing just 2 of 4 passes for 16 yards, fumbling a hand off and leading a pair of three-and-outs.

Through the first 15 minutes, WSU has 153 total yards. UW has two.

—Mike Vorel
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End of first: Cougars 10, Huskies 0

Huard and Huskies again go three-and-out

The drive: Three plays, 4 yards, 2:19.

Next possession: WSU starts at own 25.

Time left: 1:57 in 1Q.

WSU settles for field goal, but extends early lead

The scoring play: WSU kicker Dean Janikowski hit from 31 yards out.

The drive: 10 plays, 59 yards, 6:01.

The story: WSU had a chance to score their second straight touchdown with a second down at the 6-yard line, but a delay-of-game penalty got them out of rhythm and forced them to settle for a field goal.

The score: Cougars 10, Huskies 0.

Sam Huard's first drive ... results in a three-and-out

The drive: Three plays, -2 yards, 1:03.

The story: Not what you're looking for from Sam Huard's first drive as the starting quarterback.

Next possession: Cougs start at own 27.

Time left: 10:17 in 1Q.

Max Borghi rushes for a 32-yard touchdown to give WSU the early lead

The scoring play: WSU RB Max Borghi goes right and bounces off tackles for a 32-yard touchdown.

The drive: Seven plays, 75 yards, 3:33.

The story: Huge start for the Cougs, who were stuffed on their first two plays and came up with a huge third-down conversion to start this touchdown drive.

The score: Cougars 7, Huskies 0.

The highlight:

Cougs will start with the ball

Freshman QB Sam Huard is officially starting for UW

QB Sam Huard expected to make first career start vs. Cougs

UW wearing chrome gold helmets

UW Huskies interim head coach and former Coug Bob Gregory understands the Apple Cup better than most

Bob Gregory has experienced the Apple Cup from opposite angles.

Before he was UW’s interim head coach, the Spokane product played linebacker and defensive back at Washington State where he graduated with a degree in English in 1987. Gregory has since served on UW’s staff for the last eight seasons — as inside linebackers coach (2014-present), assistant head coach (2014-2019), special teams coordinator (2016-2020) and defensive coordinator (2021).

Ironically, Gregory’s three-game stint as the Huskies’ interim head coach will conclude with another Apple Cup against his alma mater.

So you could say the Coug-turned-Husky understands this rivalry better than most.   

“I think everything’s different,” Gregory said, when asked what separates the Apple Cup from other rivalries he’s experienced. “We’re on the west side. They’re on the east side. Big school, small school. Pickup trucks versus Audis. It’s the whole thing. Beer versus Champagne.”

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—Mike Vorel

Apple Cup is no time for UW interim coach Bob Gregory to experiment at quarterback

The most compelling question entering the Apple Cup — at least from Washington’s point of view — seems to be whether true freshman Sam Huard will start at quarterback. 

The five-star recruit has been the subject of intrigue throughout the season for the Huskies, and there is speculation that he will take the first snap on offense Friday against Washington State

The more important question, however, is: Should Huard get the start for the Huskies? 

And the answer to said query is simple: Only if he gives them the best chance of winning. 

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—Matt Calkins

WSU Cougars not thinking about past Apple Cups as they look to end drought: ‘This is our moment, the 2021 team’

Jake Dickert understands the passion and the history of the Apple Cup.

Washington State’s interim football coach knows what it would mean to WSU fans to end the seven-game losing streak to Washington, and he knows that the Cougars have a chance to play in the Pac-12 title game if they do that.

But he didn’t want his players thinking about any of that as they prepared for the rivalry game Friday at Husky Stadium.

“There is a history and a passion for this game that Coug fans all over the country have, and we respect that, and we understand that, and we are excited about representing our team and our university and every player that has ever come through here,” said Dickert, who is 2-2 since taking over for Nick Rolovich. “We’re excited about that opportunity, but at the same time I think you can put unneeded pressure on (yourself) by understanding the pressures of the past or what has happened in the past.

“This is our moment, the 2021 team, and we’re trying to be 1-0 (in the Apple Cup). … We love that this is a passionate game for our state and our alumni base, and our players are fired up to play in it. But at the end of the day, let’s focus on what we can control to be 1-0. It isn’t about the past record, it’s about our team being 1-0 after Friday night.”

Washington State became bowl eligible with a win over Arizona last week, and the possible prize with a victory this Friday could be even bigger.

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—Scott Hanson