Washington ruined rival Washington State’s quest to win the Pac-12 North and did so in dominant fashion.
All the Cougars needed to do was win the Apple Cup in Seattle to clinch a trip to the Pac-12 title game, but the Huskies were too much. In a 41-14 loss, Washington State turned the ball over four times and could not compete with Washington in the trenches.
As a result of Washington’s win, Stanford, which took care of Notre Dame 38-20 at home, will represent the Pac-12 North in the conference title game next Friday against USC.
Washington State QB Luke Falk, the Pac-12’s all-time leader in passing yards, was under pressure all night. Falk was sacked five times and seemed to take a hit nearly every time he dropped back to pass. Three of those sacks came in the first quarter, setting the tone for the rest of the night.
Washington defensive line, led by Vita Vea, made things difficult for the high-powered Wazzu offense, and UW’s offense had no issues moving the ball. The first drive of the game resulted in a Myles Gaskin touchdown and went 75 yards on 11 plays. Later in the first quarter, the lead was extended to 14-0 after a Falk fumble.
By the time halftime came around, Washington’s lead was 24-0 and the Cougars had turned the ball over three times and punted four times.
With Gaskin, who rushed for 192 of Washington’s 328 yards on the ground, leading the way, UW increased its lead to 34-0 after three quarters. Washington State put points on the board only in the fourth quarter with the game firmly in hand for the Huskies.
With the win, Washington finished the regular season 10-2, while Washington State dropped to 9-3.
With a conference title no longer in the picture, the attention will likely turn toward WSU coach Mike Leach, who has led the Cougars to nine wins in two of the past three seasons. He has been connected to head coach openings at Tennessee, Nebraska and Arkansas in various reports.
In his coaching carousel column, our Pete Thamel predicted Leach will follow former Washington State athletic director Bill Moos to Nebraska. Moos hired Leach at WSU, but left his alma mater to take the same role at Nebraska earlier in the year. Moos officially let go of Huskers coach Mike Riley earlier Saturday. Nebraska fans are hoping Moos can lure UCF coach Scott Frost, a former Nebraska quarterback, back to Lincoln, but Frost is considered Florida’s top target.
Leach would be a pretty good consolation.
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