Cougars overrun in 31-13 Apple Cup loss to Huskies
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — By the fourth quarter, Martin Stadium had mostly emptied and the applause that came when Luke Falk found Dom Williams on a 35-yard touchdown was simply because Washington State would not be shut out.
Otherwise, the Apple Cup was a forgettable night for the Cougars.
“I don’t think we consistently stayed out of our own way today,” Washington State coach Mike Leach said.
Dwayne Washington rushed for 135 yards and touchdown runs of 51 and 60 yards, and Washington retained the Apple Cup with a 31-13 win over Washington State on Saturday night.
Washington State quarterback Luke Falk threw two interceptions and Vince Mayle had a costly fumble late in the second quarter. The Cougars (3-9, 2-7 Pac-12) were shut out in the first half for the first time in 26 games.
The Huskies (8-5, 4-5) were on the verge of shutting out Washington State in Pullman for the first time since 1935 before Falk found Williams on with 9:55 left. It avoided Leach being shutout for the first time in his career as a head coach.
Falk added a 6-yard TD pass to River Cracraft with 1 minute left.
“I think the biggest thing was just trying to do too much. We went out there trying to play perfect,” Leach said. “You don’t play perfect. You got to turn it loose and not hesitate, definitely offensively. I think we went out there and tried to play too perfect.”
The loan highlight for the Cougars came between the first and second quarter when former linebacker Steve Gleason took the field in his wheelchair surrounded by family, friends and former Washington State coaches Bill Doba and Mike Price to be inducted into the Cougars Hall of Fame.
The entire stadium stood and applauded, the only time until early in the fourth quarter the Cougars had something to celebrate.
The 107th meeting between the rivals was the coldest on record with a temperature of 19 degrees for the 7:30 p.m. PST kickoff. And nothing came easy for Washington State’s passing game that had been so potent all season.
“I just need to read the field better and do my job better and give us a chance to win,” Falk said.
The Huskies were able to fluster Falk by rushing just four defensive linemen and dropping the rest into coverage making it a struggle to find open receivers downfield. Falk threw for 355 yards — most after the game was decided — and was intercepted by John Ross III in the closing seconds of the second quarter and by Kevin King in the third quarter.
Washington entered the game No. 2 in the nation in sacks and got to Falk four times. The Huskies consistent pressure without needing to blitz was the bigger impact.
“It was the key to the game on defense,” Washington coach Chris Petersen said. ”... Our (defensive) line did a heck of a job getting to him and not letting him stand back there too long and I thought our secondary covered well.”
Washington State was shutout in the first half for the first time since Nov. 17, 2012 at Arizona State, a 46-7 loss. It wasn’t for a lack of opportunities. The Cougars outgained the Huskies 183-167 in the first half, but three times failed to convert on fourth-down in Washington territory. The Cougars gave up possession at the Washington 42, 19 and 32 on their first three possessions. Falk appeared to hit Williams on for a 19-yard touchdown on Washington State’s second possession but Budda Baker separated Williams from the ball.
“I thought that we didn’t get into much of a rhythm on offense early, marched the ball up and down the field and then didn’t put it in, and then went through a series where we dropped a bunch of balls, which that’s concentration,” Leach said.
Washington QB Cyler Miles was 25 of 39 for 249 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He found Kasen Williams on a 6-yard TD reception late in the second quarter for a 14-0 halftime lead and added an 18-yard TD pass to Joshua Perkins early in the fourth quarter.
Dwayne Washington’s two long TD runs both came on the Huskies second offensive play of each half. The Huskies had eight offensive touchdowns of 35 or more yards in their final three games.