SEATTLE, WA- It was 5 pm on a Saturday evening as the rain started to fall in the U-District, along with Washington State’s dream of winning the Pac-12 North. A 41 to 14 victory secured Washington’s 5th apple cup win in a row, a truly tough night for WSU.
“Everybody on both sides knows it’s a big game,” said UW coach Chris Petersen. “We played very clean tonight.”
In the beginning, Washington’s hopes were diminished in the first quarter, as star receiver Dante Pettis was taken out with a left leg injury. Along with Pettis, RB Lavon Coleman was also injured in the first quarter and subsequently taken out. Though this raised doubts for the Huskies early on, it opened the doors for other lesser known players to shine.
Without its key receiver, Washington stepped up its running game. RB Myles Gaskin shown bright as one of the game’s best player, putting up 192 yards and scoring 4 of the 5 UW touchdowns. Also, RB Salvon Ahmed rushed 80 yards on 8 plays. UW’s offensive line greatly aided their running backs by making WSU’s star defense look like swiss cheese.
WSU QB Luke Falk had a tough night. Though he has a great arm with over 3500 passing yards, that couldn’t save the Cougars. Falk continued his string of unluckiness by being sacked 5 times by Ryan Bowman, Forrest Dunivin, Levi Ownuzurkie, Jaylen Johnson, and Vita Vea. Falk threw 3 interceptions to John Turner, Ben Burr-Kervin, and JoJo McIntosh. Falk’s hands turned out to be slippery that night, as he let out a fumble which was quickly recovered by Washington and run in 2 plays later by Gaskin. He did manage to throw to Davontavean Martin and hand off to Jamal Morrow for WSUs only 2 touchdowns. Like many times before though, Washington State was too dependent on their Quarterback who couldn’t function under pressure in the pocket, especially against a defense like Washingtons.
The game came with its disruptions though. WSU’s defense took a hit when their best DL Hercules Mata’afa was ejected for targeting QB Jake Browning. Soon after, the game was stopped due to fans shining laser pointers onto the field.
Of course, Stanford is the real beneficiary of this outcome, as UW’s victory led Stanford to clinch the Pac-12 north. Even though the Huskies had a better record, the Cardinal had beat UW two weeks prior. Signs of “You’re Welcome Stanford” could be seen in the crowd.
“I’m happy we played our best ball late in the year,” stated Petersen.
Wrapping up their regular season with a 10 and 2 is certainly something for the Huskies to hang their hat on, and this game is definitely one of their best this season. With 303 yards, their immaculate defense, and Gaskin and Ahmed’s ability to step up in absent of their receivers truly made this another great Apple Cup.