Apple Cup: Washington Huskies vs Washington State Cougars

Washington State Cougars

The Apple Cup Could Play into College Football Playoff

There is more than the Apple Cup bragging rights on the line tonight when 8th-ranked Washington State hosts No. 16 Washington. This Pac-12 showdown. The Cougars are ranked No. 8 in the College Football Playoff rankings. They need two more victories and some help from others be able to crack the final four.

TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, FOX.

LINE: Washington State -2.5; O/U: 51

The winner advances to play Utah in the Pac-12 title game. Huskies coach Chris Petersen knows his defense faces a challenge in Washington State senior quarterback Gardner Minshew II. He leads the nation with 36 touchdown passes.

“In terms of his pocket poise and presence, he’s got a great feel,” Petersen said of the Heisman Trophy candidate in a press conference. “You’re going after him, the ball is out. You’re not coming after him? He’s going to stand in there. You get to him? He’s going to get out of the pocket. Really decisive.”

This is Minshew’s one and only taste of the fierce rivalry. and he didn’t disappoint when he was asked about his view of the Huskies.

“I kind of hate everybody we play,” Minshew told reporters. “So I guess I hate them equally – as much as I hate everybody else.”

Huskies are Trying to Salvage Their Season against the Cougars

Washington is 8-3 in the overall and 6-2 in the conference.

The Huskies will try to avoid a shootout with the Cougars behind a stingy defense that allows an average of 16.6 points per game. It has held five opponents to 13 or fewer points.

Senior linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven has been outstanding with 145 tackles. That ranks second nationally. The only Washington player to record more since 1989 is Mason Foster with 163 in 2010.

Senior quarterback Jake Browning has thrown just of 16 of his 94 career touchdowns this season. Senior running back Myles Gaskin is just 94 yards away from becoming the 10th FBS player to record four straight 1,000-yard campaigns.

Browning passed for 242 yards in last weekend’s 42-23 win over Oregon State after failing to reach 200 in three straight games.

Washington has won 15 of the last 20 meetings, including a 41-14 romp last season.

Washington State is 10-1 overall and 7-1 in the conference.

The Cougars have won seven consecutive games behind the stellar play of Minshew. The East Carolina transfer has topped 300 yards a school-record 11 times. He has done this while passing for 4,325 yards, which is fourth-most in school history.

Minshew fired a school-record seven touchdown passes in last weekend’s 69-28 blistering of Arizona. Eleven different players caught passes and six had scoring receptions.

The defense allows an average of 22.6 points per game. A force in on the squad is senior linebacker Peyton Pelluer, who has a team-high 76 tackles. The Cougar defense is also receiving strong play from sophomore linebacker Jahad Woods who has 68 tackles and four forced fumbles.

PREDICTION: Washington State 48, Washington 41

Supergrid

TitleStatRankStatRank
Away Team Overall Scoring vs Home Team Overall Defense28.007522.6439
Away Team Road Passing vs Home Team Home Passing Defense223.6062200.3347
Away Team Road Rushing vs Home Team Home Rushing Defense151.2070108.5026
Home Team Overall Scoring vs Away Team Overall Defense40.451216.6411
Home Team Home Passing vs Away Team Road Passing Defense421.331207.2037
Home Team Home Rushing vs Away Team Road Rushing Defense74.00128137.6032

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