Huskies vs. Cougars Game Preview and Prediction

#16 Washington (8-3) vs. #8 Washington State (10-1)

Friday, November 23rd @ 5:30 p.m. PST

Martin Stadium (Pullman, Washington)

Line: Washington State -2.5

TV: FOX

Radio: KOMO AM-1000/FM-97.7

 

The Washington Huskies will face-off against the Washington State Cougars in front of a raucous crowd at Martin Stadium.

Last weekend, the Huskies got a tune-up with their game against the Oregon State Beavers after resting during the bye week.

This week, the Huskies will enter the annual Apple Cup showdown as an underdog against their cross-state rivals.

At stake, is a Pac-12 North Division Championship with the chance to play in the Pac-12 Championship Game on November 30th.

“I don’t think we’ll overthink. You just prepare from what you know from the past, what you see on tape. And then you adjust on the run. The kids have to go play, they have to go make plays. These are good players we’re going against. They are going to get yards, they’re going to get points. They’re really good. We just have to keep battling and reload and slow ’em down a little bit.”  Washington head coach Chris Petersen said earlier this week.

In recent years, the Huskies have completely dominated this matchup with the Cougars and most of the games have been decided by blowouts.

Petersen boasts a 4-0 record against Washington State head coach Mike Leach and seems to have the upper hand against the Cougars each season.

The Cougars are the surprise team of the entire nation this season in a year where rebuilding and fighting for a bowl berth was the expectation.

This game has all the makings of an epic showdown and could be one of the best offerings the Apple Cup has ever seen.

KEY PLAYERS: WASHINGTON

QB –  Jake Browning

Jake Browning is a four-year starter for the Huskies and was extremely accurate against the Beavers while going 17 of 23 for 242 yards and 3 TD’s.  Browning is at his best when the Husky offense is balanced, and he finds open passing lanes to throw into.

RB – Myles Gaskin

Myles Gaskin returned to the Husky backfield two weeks ago and since then he has had back-to-back games of 135 yards or more rushing.  Gaskin is the heart and soul of the Husky offense and it all starts with him.

LB – Ben Burr-Kirven

Ben Burr-Kirven was named a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award given to the most outstanding defensive player in college football.  He has notched 145 total tackles on the season thus far which is remarkable.

KEY PLAYERS: WASHINGTON STATE

QB – Gardner Minshew

Gardner Minshew is a graduate transfer who has completely transformed the Washington State offense this season.  Minshew is having a Heisman candidate type of season averaging 401.5 yards per game passing and has 36 TD’s total.

RB – James Williams

James Williams is a redshirt junior who leads all RB’s nationally with 69 receptions and is tied for 1st in Pac-12 with 14 total TD’s.  He is currently leading the Cougars in all-purpose yards at 1.017 (487 rushing and 530 receiving).

LB – Peyton Pelluer

Peyton Pelluer is a graduate transfer who owns the WSU record for games played (52), tied for 7th in tackles (325), tied for 9th in TFL (32.0).  He is currently is the Cougars leading tackler on the season with 76 total.

GAME NOTES

– The Washington-Washington State series dates back to 1900, when the teams played to a 5-5 tie in Seattle. Washington holds a commanding 72-32-6 edge in the 110-game series, including a 40-15 record in Apple Cup games (1962-present).

– UW is 31-15-1 in away games in the series, including games played in both Spokane and Pullman.

– The Huskies have won 15 of the last 20 Apple Cups.

– The last six times that the Cougars were ranked in the AP top 25 heading into an Apple Cup, the Huskies have won the game (2001, 2002, 2003, 2015, 2016, 2017).

– The Huskies have never lost more than two games in a row to WSU. On the other hand, UW has had 9 streaks of three or more wins in the series.

PREDICTION (2-0)

I don’t see this game being a blowout like the past Apple Cups have been recently.  The Huskies have struggled at times this season to put it all together while the Cougars have been peaking at the right time. With the game being in Pullman and the Cougars being much improved defensively, I see this game going down to the wire.  Petersen has had Leach’s number every single season and knows his schemes inside and out. Combine that aspect with a stout Husky defense and it will be just enough for Peyton Henry to kick the game winning 28-yard FG at the end of the game.   This time around, Petersen runs a couple more plays to get the kick closer.  Huskies prevail in a nail biter!

Washington 27 – Washington State 24

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