Washington has won five straight Apple Cups by sizable margins. It doesn’t matter if Washington State is ranked or has something to play for, the Huskies have no problems with their little brother from across the state.
They played the game during rivalry week, but this is not a rivalry right now.
This is mastery. This is supremacy. When the Huskies meet the Cougs these days, the Dawgs are the ones holding the leash.
There’s a reason Washington opened up as 10-point favorites despite having a lower ranking and fewer quality wins. It wasn’t just because Husky Stadium was hosting the Apple Cup — it was because, over the past few years, UW has abused Washington State like a sparring partner whenever they share a field.
Doesn’t matter what’s on the line, either. Doesn’t matter if the Huskies are playing spoiler, playing for a Pac-12 title shot, or simply playing — this annual game is becoming an annual gimme.
“It didn’t even cross my mind that we could lose,” said Washington safety Jojo McIntosh, whose team has won five straight over WSU, all by double digits. “That wasn’t going to happen.”
The final score Saturday was Washington 41, Washington State 14, and it had all the suspense of Lawnmower vs. Grass. The 15th-ranked Huskies (10-2, 7-2 Pac-12) waltzed their way to the end zone on their first drive, going 75 yards on 11 plays without ever facing a third down. They followed by forcing a three-and-out after sacking WSU quarterback Luke Falk for the first of five times.
The naked eye told you this game was over midway through the first quarter. The scoreboard suggested as much 10 minutes into the second, when a 2-yard TD run by running back Myles Gaskin put Washington up, 21-0.
UW’s weak nonconference schedule was mocked by national media throughout the year. But Saturday, it made its final regular-season opponent look equally laughable.
Like last year, No. 14 Washington State (9-3, 6-3) had a chance to go to the Pac-12 title game with an Apple Cup win, but didn’t score a point till the 9:01 mark in the fourth quarter, when the Cougars were already down 34-0. The Cougars also came into the game with the conference’s second-best rushing defense, only to give up 328 yards on the ground — including 192 to Gaskin. Falk threw three interceptions. WSU had minus-24 rushing yards.
The Huskies essentially go David Copperfield when lining up against Wazzu. They make the Cougars disappear.
“It’s just making it physical,” said Washington quarterback Jake Browning, who deferred to his running backs for most the game and finished with just 93 passing yards. “They want to spread it out on offense and move around and do all this stuff on defense. You can run around all you want, but sooner or later you’re going to have to go head to head.”
Last year, Washington won 45-17 in Pullman when WSU was No. 23 in the country. It won 45-10 the year before, 31-13 in 2014 and 27-17 in 2013.
Seems each time the Cougs are on the cusp of entering the national conversation, the Huskies bounce them at the door. Actually, that’s too soft. They lift them up at the door and chuck them 30 feet.
Forget that Washington star receiver/returner Dante Pettis went down with an injury in the first quarter. Disregard that UW running back Lavon Coleman was knocked out with an injury a few minutes later.
The season statistics suggested this game could have been a shootout, but it was destined to be a blowout. And the Huskies weren’t about to apologize.
“It’s nice to win like that,” said a grinning Gaskin, who finished with 192 yards and four touchdowns on 25 carries. “Obviously they want a piece of us, and we want a piece of them.”
Huskies coach Chris Petersen couldn’t say why his team plays so well against the Cougs. He had, however, been hyping the game up throughout the week, bringing in alumni each day to talk to his players.
Washington nose tackle Vita Vea — who’s considered a future first-round pick — felt the motivational tactic worked.
“The Apple Cup isn’t just a game,” he said. “It’s a holiday in Washington.”
UW’s win gave the Pac-12 North title to Stanford, which will meet USC in the conference championship game. The Huskies’ next game will likely be in the Alamo Bowl, which will be played Dec. 28.
For now, though, they will relish their victory over their in-state riva …
Sorry, almost forgot. They’ll relish their victory over Washington State.
|Chris Petersen improved to 4-0 against the Cougars as the Husky coach, and they have all been UW routs. The scores in the Apple Cups Petersen has coached in:|
|2017||UW 41, WSU 14|
|2016||UW 45, WSU 17|
|2015||UW 45, WSU 10|
|2014||UW 31, WSU 13|