Huskies trash Cougars in Apple Cup, 45-17
PULLMAN – Three times during the fourth quarter of Friday’s Apple Cup, officials stopped the game to chide Washington State fans for throwing debris onto the field to show their displeasure with their team’s performance.
The most anticipated Apple Cup in years quickly turned into just another dud, as No. 23 WSU was blown out by its rival for the third consecutive year in a 45-17 loss to No. 5 Washington.
Optimistic fans may have noted that the Cougars trailed by 18 points entering the fourth quarter, the same deficit they faced when they overcame a 28-10 UW lead to win the 2012 Apple Cup in overtime.
Instead the Cougars left the ball on the UW two-yard line, and the Huskies drove 98 yards. Lavon Coleman’s 15-yard touchdown run, his second score of the day, erased all hopes of a comeback.
The UW (11-1, 8-1 Pac-12) will play in the Pac-12 championship game next week with a shot of playing in the college football playoffs. WSU (8-4, 7-2) will have to wait a week to learn what bowl game it will play in.
WSU turned the ball over four times during Friday’s game, and had three additional turnovers on downs.
Myles Gaskin put the Huskies on the board with a two-yard touchdown run that was set up by a 50-yard pass from wide receiver Dante Pettis to tight end Darrell Daniels. Such trick plays successfully kept the WSU defense off balance – wide receiver John Ross also gained 31 yards on a reverse.
The Huskies quickly put the game away and led 28-3 after one quarter. Pettis had two receiving touchdowns and quarterback Jake Browning threw for 202 receiving yards in that quarter alone. At the half, Browning had completed 17-of-22 pass attempts for 243 yards and three touchdowns. Backup running back Lavon Coleman added a 23-yard score.
The Huskies averaged 8.2 yards per offensive play, while WSU averaged just 4.6. Browing ended the game with just 292 passing yards as the Huskies turned to the running game. Gaskin had 50 yards on 16 carries, while Coleman finished with 82 on 10.
Falk was 33-of-50 for 269 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. His last two passes of the game were picked off.
The Cougars had a chance to make UW’s lead more manageable with the ball at the Huskies 14-yard line and less than a minute left in the first half, but Luke Falk’s pass was intercepted in the end zone by D.J. Beavers.
WSU’s first drive of the second half nearly ended in a similar fashion when Falk was sacked and fumbled on fourth down. However, UW cornerback Kevin King was called for defensive holding, and the drive ended with a touchdown pass from Falk to Gabe Marks to cut UW’s lead to 35-17.
Beavers also forced and recovered a fumble on WSU’s first offensive series, setting up and 18-yard touchdown pass to Pettis.
Jamal Morrow’s 64-yard punt return gave WSU a prime chance to get into the end zone. But the Cougars ended up just a few inches short of a touchdown after running on four consecutive plays.
However, Shalom Luani forced a fumble on UW’s ensuing possession and Jalen Thompson recovered it on the UW 18-yard line. Morrow later scored on a 1-yard run.
The Cougars were stopped for a second time on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line when Gerard Wicks’ run came up just short with 37 seconds left in the third quarter, when a score would have cut UW’s lead to 11 points.
The Huskies outscored the Cougars 10-0 in the fourth quarter to cement its victory. While UW converted six of its 10 third-down opportunities, the Cougars were just 7-of-19 on third and fourth down.