The Pac-12 North will once again be decided in the Apple Cup.
Can they do it again?
Two years ago, the Huskies went to Pullman for the 109th Apple Cup and ripped the Pac-12 North title away from the Cougars in a rollicking 45-17 victory at Martin Stadium. Washington went on to win its first Pac-12 championship in 16 years and secure its first College Football Playoff berth.
As the rivalry returns to Pullman for Friday’s Apple Cup, the setup is remarkably similar. Except, this time it’s Washington State playing for its first conference championship in 16 years and trying to secure its first trip to the College Football Playoff.
#16 HUSKIES vs. #7 COUGARS
Friday, Nov. 23 | 5:30 p.m. | Martin Stadium
📺: FOX | 📻: 710 AM / 1000 AM
The 111th Apple Cup is as big as any before it, matching 2016 and 1981 in the winner-take-all stakes.
Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m. Friday at Martin Stadium. FOX will broadcast the game to a national audience.
The Huskies will be playing for their sixth consecutive victory over the Cougars while also trying to keep alive their Pac-12 championship dreams.
The Apple Cup winner will claim the Pac-12 North title and earn a berth to the Pac-12 title game against Utah, the South Division winner, on Nov. 30 in Santa Clara, Calif.
Washington State has been installed as a three-point favorite by Vegas oddsmakers — the first time since 2006 that the Cougars have been favored in the Apple Cup.
“All we worry about is right now,” said UW senior cornerback Jordan Miller, who had one of the Huskies’ three interceptions of Luke Falk in UW’s last trip to Pullman. “We can control what we can control. That’s what we want to do: Beat the Cougs and win the Pac-12. That’s our idea of success right now.”
The Cougars (10-1, 7-1 Pac-12) climbed to No. 7 in The Associated Press Top 25 on Sunday morning, following their 69-28 thumping of Arizona in Pullman Saturday night.
The Huskies (8-3, 6-2) rose to No. 16 in the AP poll following their 42-23 victory over Oregon State.
“It’s a great feeling (to be in this position), but we’re going to approach it like every week,” WSU cornerback Marcus Strong said Saturday night. “We’ve got to go out there and dominate.”
Led by Heisman candidate Gardner Minshew, the Cougars boast the Pac-12’s top scoring offense, averaging 40.5 points per game.
Led by senior linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven, the Huskies have the Pac-12’s top scoring defense, allowing 16.6 points per game.
UW’s Chris Petersen is 4-0 against WSU’s Mike Leach, and the Cougars haven’t scored more than 17 points in any of those games.
APPLE CRISP CHRIS
Chris Petersen’s Huskies have dominated four head-to-head Apple Cups against Mike Leach’s Cougars:
2017: Huskies 41, Cougars 14
Myles Gaskin rushed for 192 yards and four touchdowns, and the Huskies intercepted Luke Falk three times and sacked him five times as UW spoiled WSU’s Pac-12 North title hopes at Husky Stadium.
2016: Huskies 45, Cougars 17
Jake Browning threw three first-quarter touchdown passes en route to an early 28-3 lead; Budda Baker, DJ Beavers and Jordan Miller all intercepted Falk as the Huskies rolled to their first Pac-12 North title.
2015: Huskies 45, Cougars 10
Gaskin rushed for 138 yards and two TDs in his first Apple Cup, and the Huskies’ defense turned three of WSU’s seven turnovers into touchdowns at Husky Stadium.
2014: Huskies 31, Cougars 13
Dwayne Washington ran for 135 yards and two scores and the Huskies intercepted Falk twice and shut out the WSU offense until early in the fourth quarter.