The No. 17th ranked University Washington Huskies ( 10-2 overall, 7-2 Pac-12) used a flawless first half on their way to a dominating 41-14 win over cross-state rivals and no. 13th ranked Washington State Cougars in the 110 th Apple Cup game Saturday Night at Husky Stadium. The Huskies went into the game as the favorite to win despite the lower ranking.
While no one really knows if the Huskies felt disrespected with the lower ranking, the reality is that Washington was playing with a chip on its shoulder and was focused, ready, determined to finish the regular season on positive note and beat the Cougars a fifth consecutive time
The Huskies wasted no time in setting the tone and asserting their dominance as they took the opening kick and drove 75 yards on 11 plays and took a 7-0 lead courtesy of a Myles Gaskin two-yard run. Husky cornerback Austin Joyner recovered Cougar quarterback Luke Falks fumble and the Huskies extended the lead to 14-0 after a Jake Browning one-yard run.
The Husky defense forced the Cougars to punt on its next possession and the Husky offense marched 93 yards on nine plays and distanced themselves from the Cougars for good on another two-yard touchdown run by Gaskin. The Junior tailback finished the game with 197 yards and four touchdowns. Gaskin had 118 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the decisive first half. Husky head coach Chris Petersen was impressed with his team’s offensive output throughout the game.
“The offensive coaches did an awesome job putting that plan together. Those guys are hard to block. We protected gaps for our running backs. We knew if we could get things started and avoid getting hit in the backfield, which Washington State is very good at, we were going to have a chance. ” Petersen said after the game.
“We did a good job for most of the night. It’s hard to not get negative yards against those guys. The other thing is third downs. Our defense rallied on third downs and we were close to 50 percent on offense. When we have struggled, those are some areas we haven’t done well in.”
A 44 yard by Tristan Vizcaino extended the lead to 24-0. Husky DB Ezekiel Turner intercepted a second Luke Falk pass with 23 seconds left and the Huskies went to the halftime break with the commanding 24-0 lead. The only first-half blemishes for the Huskies were first quarter leg injuries to wide receiver Dante Pettis and running back Lavon Coleman.
The Cougars received the second half kickoff and it was more of the same as the drive ended after just three plays and a punt. The Husky offense continued its dominance as Vizcaino booted a 34-yard field to extend the Huskies lead to 27-0.
The Husky defense continues to harass Falk on the Cougars next offensive possession as Bun Burr-Kirven intercepted Falk for the third time resulting in another Gaskin touchdown this one from 26 yards out to extend the Huskies lead to 34-0 with just six minutes left in the third quarter.
Cougar running back Jamal Morrow gave the Cougars their first points of the game when scored from two yards out with 9:01 left in the game to narrow the Huskies lead to 34-7. Gaskin scored his fourth touchdown of the game from three yards out on the Huskies next offensive possession to widen the lead to 41-7.
The Cougars scored their second touchdown of the game when Falk completed a 33yard pass to Tay Martin to narrow the Huskies lead to 41-14 with 2:46 left on the game clock. The Huskies were able to run out the clock and secure another Apple Cup victory over there cross-state rivals.
- Myles Gaskin added to his school record and became the 16th Pac-12 player to reach 40 career rushing TD’s when he scored from 2-yards out on UW’s first drive. He scored three more times to move up to 43 for his career and he now has solo possession for 11th most all-time most in Pac-12 history and one shy of tying for 9th most in Conference history.
- Gaskin also added to his school-record total of 47 touchdowns (43 rush, 4 receiving), nine more than Bishop Sankey.
- Gaskin tied a career high with four rushing TDs is the first Husky to do four or more twice in their career. and Hugh McElhenny holds the record for rushing TDs in an Apple Cup with 5 in 1950.
- Gaskin has nine rushing touchdowns over the last three games (3 vs. Stanford, 2 vs. Utah and 4 vs. Washington State). It is the second most in a three-game span, trailing only Corey Dillon who had 10 in a three-game-span during the 1996 season.
- The 192 yards Gaskin amassed were the ninth most by a Husky in the Apple Cup.
- Gaskin went over 100 yards rushing for the sixth time this season and the 19th time in his career. He only trails today’s Husky Legend Chris Polk (20) for most career 100-yard games on the ground.
• Gaskin is up to 3,957 career yards for a 101.5 per game average, which ranks first in UW history
- Jojo McIntosh and Ezekiel Turner each recorded their first interceptions of the season during the first half, and the second of their careers. McIntosh’s previous pick was as a freshman in 2015 vs. Arizona. Turner’s first career pick was in the 2016 Pac-12 Championship game vs. Colorado.
- In the second quarter, Jake Browning scored his sixth rushing TD of the season, the 11th of his career.
- The 44-yard field goal by senior Tristan Vizcaino was a career high.
- The Huskies held an opponent scoreless in the first half for the third time this season: also Oregon State and California.
- Washington has a 130-35 scoring advantage in the second quarter this season after outscoring WSU, 17-0.
- Saturday nights attendance of 71,265 was a season high and the sixth largest crowd since Husky Stadium re-opened in 2013. Washington averaged 68,822 fans at home this season, the highest mark since 2003.