Washington coach Chris Petersen reacts to the Huskies’ 41-14 victory over No. 14 Washington State on Saturday night in the 110th Apple Cup:
(Opening) Happy for our seniors, happy for Bob Rondeau and I’m happy we played our best ball lately. I think these kids are awesome to coach. When things don’t go right, they get a chip on their shoulders and they work hard. They never just go through the motions at practice. I’m happy with how they played.
(On defense and the turnovers) We knew that was going to be the key to the game. It has been every year. These guys are good at possessing the ball, so if we don’t get turnovers, that causes all kinds of problems for us. One of the reasons we’ve had some success is we have gotten some turnovers. And we didn’t turn it over on a wet night. The combination of those two things was really good.
(On the execution on offense) The offensive coaches did an awesome job putting that plan together. Those guys are hard to block. We protected gaps for our running backs. We knew if we could get things started and avoid getting hit in the backfield, which Washington State is very good at, we were going to have a chance. We did a good job for most of the night. It’s hard to not get negative yards against those guys. The other thing is third downs. Our defense rallied on third downs and we were close to 50 percent on offense. When we have struggled, those are some areas we haven’t done well in.
(On the injuries to Dante Pettis and Lavon Coleman) I think they are OK. It’s always different in the morning, but the trainers feel okay. It’s hard for me to answer injury questions. I hope they can play in the bowl game. It’s always next man up, but in this case, it changes a little bit. It was a hard and wet night to throw a new punt returner up there with the rain, so that was a little bit different for us. Other than that, we have some good running backs.
(On the WSU matchup) It’s hard to know how we’ve been successful. Everyone knows it’s a big game on both sides. I’m proud our guys can respond and play their best when their best is needed, and it is needed. They are a dangerous team on both sides of the ball. We played very clean tonight.
(On the seniors) This is a really good senior class. I have a lot of respect for those guys. Some of those guys played as true freshmen. They have been unbelievable in terms of doing things how we like to do them. Everyone likes to do things differently. Those are the guys change is the hardest on because here comes a new crew and we didn’t recruit them. They bought in and they’ve been great.
(On Myles Gaskin) He’s a heck of a running back. He’s underrated, not of our opinion. We know if he’s covered up, he has that unique, patient style where he can find creases and he’s strong and fast. He has a great combination of all of those things.
(On energy level) When that stadium feels like that, it’s an automatic boost. It hasn’t always felt like that. We have great support, and when it’s packed like that, it’s completely different for those kids. When you come for warmups, you can feel it. And that is when it is truly the greatest setting in college football. And that’s when it changes for us. We can be pretty good at home, but we’re really good when all of those seats are full. And I mean that sincerely.
(On getting 10 wins) They are great guys to coach. They are fighting and trying to get better. That’s all we can do: try to get better every day, just keep fighting. We have felt that from these guys all year long. We knew we had a good team, and we do have a good team. We will play someone who is good in the bowl game for sure, maybe our toughest game because I know we will get matched up with a good opponent. We will have one more really good game. When that’s all said and done, it will take about 48 hours to feel good about it, then we will move on.