The Huskies are seeking their fifth consecutive victory over the Cougars. The current four-game winning streak is the longest since UW won six in a row from 1998-2003.
Not since 2003 have the Huskies had an entire senior class that has been able to claim complete ownership of the Apple Cup.
The significance of the opportunity to do just that Saturday night isn’t lost on Keishawn Bierria and this Huskies’ senior class.
“It definitely means a lot to me,” said Bierria, Washington’s senior linebacker. “Being here, being in this tradition at Washington, bleeding this purple and gold, man, that game is everything to us.”
In the 110th Apple Cup, the Huskies will be seeking their fifth consecutive victory over the Cougars. The current four-game winning streak is the longest since UW won six in a row from 1998-2003.
The No. 15 Huskies (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12) will recognize 14 seniors during a pregame ceremony before the game against the No. 14 Cougars (9-2, 6-2) at Husky Stadium.
Seven of those seniors, including Bierria, are the last remnants of the Steve Sarkisian era, and UW coach Chris Petersen said those seniors’ efforts during the difficult coaching transition in 2014 helped paved a path for the program’s future success.
“You love all these guys, you really do,” Petersen said. “…When we came in here it was hard on a lot of people. So those guys that hung in there, we appreciate them.”
The Huskies’ senior class is a relatively small one. Of the 14 seniors, seven are listed as starters for the Apple Cup: on offense, receiver Dante Pettis, tight end Will Dissly and offensive linemen Coleman Shelton and Andrew Kirkland; on defense, Bierria and safety Ezekiel Turner; also, kicker Tristan Vizcaino.
There’s also running back Lavon Coleman, and linebackers Sean Constantine and Connor O’Brien; plus, receiver Forrest Dunivin, tight end Derek Hunter and running back Ralph Kinne.
“My hat’s always off to those guys that have been here and grinded it out and stayed with the program,” Petersen said. “I just don’t think people really realize how hard it is, what they go through, the time demands, all those things. It’s an important day for us and it’s an emotional day for everybody.”
Several juniors could be playing their final game at Husky Stadium too. Star defensive lineman Vita Vea is expected to declare for the NFL draft after the season. Defensive tackle Greg Gaines, running back Myles Gaskin and offensive tackle Kaleb McGary could be tempted to do the same.