For the second year in a row, the Washington State Cougars had a chance to win the Pac-12 North and advance to the Pac-12 Championship Game with a victory over the Washington Huskies in the Apple Cup.
And, for the second year in a row, the Cougars failed to even show up.
As has become an annual tradition under Mike Leach, WSU suffered an embarrassing loss to UW, this time by a score of 41-14.
The Cougars have now lost eight of the last nine games to the Huskies, including the last five in a row by an average margin of nearly 24 points.
The defense wasn’t as good as we’ve come to expect, allowing 17 points in the second quarter and 24 points in the first half to again end the game before it ever really got started. Myles Gaskin added himself to the long list of UW running backs going off in the Apple Cup, finishing with 192 yards and four touchdowns.
That said, the defense also was at the mercy of the Cougs’ offensive ineptitude as they spent the majority of that crucial first half on the field — another Luke Falk stinker ensured the Cougs never really even had a chance to compete. In the first half alone, he took four sacks and turned the ball over three times — two interceptions, one fumble.
How unconcerned was Chris Petersen with the Cougars? Up 21-0, he let his kicker, Tristan Vizcaino attempt a career-long 44-yard field goal. Naturally, he split the uprights.
Then, in the second half — following a drive-extending targeting penalty that resulted in the ejection of Hercules Mata’afa — the Huskies ran back-to-back trick plays. The Cougs sniffed them both out, but on the second one, after three Cougs missed their shot at Jake Browning, the QB found a receiver on a shovel pass for a large gain.
The Huskies would eventually stretch their lead to 34-0. Falk piled up a bunch of stats after that in order to ensure WSU didn’t suffer its first shutout since 2010.
The Cougars now await their bowl fate, which will almost certainly be either the Foster Farms Bowl or Sun Bowl. It’ll be a week before we find out.
Oh, and by the way, they’ll be missing Mata’afa for the first half of that game. Fun times.