In the end, the Huskies put it all together in all three phases of the game, en route to another 31-13 victory over the Cougars.
At halftime, Washington was ahead 21-10 after scoring a couple touchdowns in the second quarter, to seize momentum of the game.
Offensively, the Huskies had a balanced attack with the running and passing games, and out gained the Cougars on total yards.
Defensively, the Huskies were masterful once again in grounding the Cougars “Air Raid” attack and holding them to one touchdown.
After a strong finish to the season in the Apple Cup, the Huskies will now recharge their batteries and await their bowl game destination.
We will now take a look at each position group and coaching staff on the Huskies, and how they fared last night. Here are how things graded out…..
The biggest takeaway from junior Jacob Eason‘s performance was the emotion he showed during the game. Pumping up teammates, yelling and being inspirational was nice to finally see. Eason managed the game perfectly, despite not blowing up the stat sheet. He made good reads and delivered some nice throws down the field and gave his receivers a chance to make some plays. Eason had full command of the pocket and the offense all game long. A
It was a productive and efficient game for this group, as they wore down the Cougars defense as the game went along. Junior running back Salvon Ahmed started finding the creases that allowed him to get into the second level of the defense. When Ahmed gets the ball out in space, he can do major damage, especially when he gets to the edge. Redshirt freshman Richard Newton wasn’t as effective with hitting the hole, despite his two touchdowns in the red zone. B+
WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS
What stood out for this group was their ability to provide Eason help with making plays down the field and not dropping balls. Sophomore Terrell Bynum continues to impress with his ability to gain separation and complete plays. He is quickly becoming a favorite target for Eason. The tight end duo of junior Hunter Bryant and sophomore Cade Otton wreaked havoc on the Cougars defense all game long, as Washington State had no answer for these guys. A
Overall, it was a good performance for the “Big Hosses” up front. Most importantly, the “line” protected Eason and gave him time to step up in the pocket, find his receivers and deliver the ball down the field. It was nice to see Eason not running for his life constantly, which provided the offense a chance to get into a rhythm. It still seems like this talented veteran group should create more holes in the running game. It was sad that sophomore Jaxson Kirkland couldn’t play. B+
The most important position group in these Apple Cup matchups is the defensive line. Defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake‘s scheme against the Cougars all depends on the ability to only rush three up front. Earlier in the game, this group had a tough time getting to Washington State quarterback Anthony Gordon. As the game wore on, they were able to be disruptive and get into the backfield of the Cougars. Senior Benning Potoa’e had a real nice game up front. B+
This group has been heavily scrutinized all season long but they had a very nice game against the Cougars. The productive play and rush off the edge helped the Huskies halt the Cougars offensive attack. Senior Ryan Bowman and sophomore Joe Tryon combined for 3.5 sacks and were constantly flying around the football. On the inside, senior Brandon Wellington had his best game of the season finishing with 16 tackles, while redshirt freshman Edefuan Ulofoshio tallied 12. A-
What comes to mind with this group is the attitude, swag and physicality they played with all game long! They made plays all game long while not allowing the Cougars to make any explosive plays down the field. Junior Elijah Molden was simply “maniacal” as he “laid the boom” and led the secondary with 14 tackles and an interception. True freshman Trent McDuffie provided blanket coverage and came away with a pick. Senior Myles Bryant, well…he’s Myles Bryant! Enough said! A
Once again, this position group remains the most consistent on the team. Junior running back Sean McGrew had a nice kickoff return for 37-yards. Sophomore placekicker Peyton Henry converted his 22-yard field goal and all of his extra point attempts. Senior Joel Whitford was fantastic once again with his distance and hang time, which allowed the coverage units to swallow everything up. Kickoffs were deep and effective by true freshman Tim Horn. A sound day for this group. A
Coming into this week, Washington head coach Chris Petersen and his entire coaching staff were under heavy scrutiny for the “egg” they laid down in Boulder. Myself included, wrote a piece on the need for Petersen to respond during a time of adversity. Well…the staff passed that test with flying colors with the performance they engineered over the Cougars. The great thing about the performance was the team showed no emotional hangovers or letdowns from the Colorado game and that credit goes to the coaches for getting the team “fully” ready to play. Petersen’s dominance continues over the cross-state rival Cougars and the coaching staff’s ability to scout Washington State head coach Mike Leach‘s teams all the way down to their “gym socks” on an annual basis is impressive. While the coaches insist that preparing for the Apple Cup isn’t that difficult because of Leach’s stubbornness to change, it still is a tricky week nonetheless with the rivalry. Offensively, coordinator Bush Hamdan called a sound game as most importantly, he put his best players on offense in position to be successful. There was great balance in both the passing game and the running game, which is a credit to Hamdan. Defensively, the Huskies “own” the Cougars “Air Raid” and defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake knows what Leach is calling before he even does! Another sound plan by Lake and the defensive staff in dominating the Cougars offense. One thing is apparent in this rivalry – it’s almost as if the coaching staff takes this game personally every year and is tired of hearing about Washington State’s offensive stats all season long. They don’t just want the victory, but they want to send a pointed message with it that “we own you!” They want to keep that mental power over Leach and his staff every season, and they have definitely achieved that. Just check out Leach’s post game tirade with a reporter to see how much Petersen’s dominance over him is affecting his psyche! Petersen’s message to the team this past week was to “finish strong” and they certainly did. Great performance by the ENTIRE coaching staff. A+
Give the team credit for quickly shaking off the defeat to the Buffaloes and getting refocused for the Apple Cup. It has been a roller coaster ride of a season for the Huskies, but finishing strong is what shows the heart and character of “true” teams. Make no mistake…Dawgs and Cats don’t mix in the state of Washington and the Huskies played accordingly once again against the Cougars. Washington State running back Max Borghi provided some bulletin board material for the Huskies this week and the Huskies dealt with it swiftly during the game! The players play with an entirely different swagger when they matchup against Washington State, as they know they “own” their counterparts on the other side of the ball. The players don’t just want to win, but they want to take their “heart” and “will” in the process. The type of supreme confidence is what Petersen and his coaching staff are trying to get the players to play with every game of the season. With an average season for the Huskies record wise, it would be easy for the seniors to “mail it in” and not play hard anymore, but that is not the case. The seniors stepped up as leaders and led the way, which is what leaders do! The Huskies completed the “first leg” of the “finish strong” campaign, and now they must remain focused and send the seniors out with a win in their last bowl game appearance as Huskies. Great rebound performance by the ENTIRE team! A
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