After a one-year hiatus, the Apple Cup resumes tonight as the Washington State Cougars and Washington Huskies meet for the 113th time — and as has become the norm, the stakes are huge for the Cougars.
The game will kick off at 5 p.m. PT from Husky Stadium in Seattle; you can find the TV broadcast on FS1, online streaming at FoxSports.com, and via the Fox Sports app on your phone or tablet.
If WSU can win the game — something the Cougars haven’t done since 2012 — they’ll secure part one of a scenario that would see them ascend to the top of the Pac-12 North and into the Pac-12 Championship Game next weekend. Part two would have to come on Saturday, where Oregon State needs to beat Oregon, creating a three-way tie atop the division with the Beavers and the Ducks. By virtue of the top division record and a head-to-head win over the Beavers, the Cougars own the tiebreaker.
Of course, part one is no slam dunk, even though the Huskies enter the game reeling, having lost three in a row — including last week’s stunner to Colorado — and without a chance of bowl eligibility. The rivalry has been lopsided to Washington overall, but even by those standards, the Cougars have had an inordinate amount of trouble with their rivals over the last seven meetings, having lost by double digits in each.
WSU, though, brings a resurgent defense and an explosive offense to the meeting. Sophomore quarterback Jayden de Laura leads the Pac-12 in passing yards (2,497) and touchdowns (23), and two of his favorite targets — Calvin Jackson Jr. and Travell Harris — are second and third, respectively, in the conference in receiving yards and third and first in touchdowns.
The key to the Cougs’ offense, though, might be their rushing attack, led by Max Borghi and supplemented by Deon McIntosh. The Huskies’ run defense seems to be their soft spot.
Meanwhile, WSU’s defense could make life easier on the offense by continuing its ball-hawking ways: Washington has given the ball away 19 times, third-worst in the conference.
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SEATTLE – Set aside for a moment all the noise surrounding this rivalry game – its mostly one-sided history, its anxious build-up and all the annual smack talk.
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It may be a stretch, but local Washington State football fans could find themselves in a rooting interest pickle for Friday’s Apple Cup in Seattle. On one hand, the Cougars. On the other, the Washington Huskies, whose head coach happens to be a former Gonzaga Prep standout and a walk-on football player at WSU.