From Pullman- The Washington Huskies (8-5) blew out the Washington State Cougars (3-9) in the 107th Apple Cup, 31-13. UW used a couple of big plays from running back Dwayne Washington to take the lead in the first quarter, and then put the game away in the fourth.
Washington scored the first touchdown of the game when he broke off a 51-yard run through the Cougar defense; he broke the run on UW’s second offensive play from scrimmage. The running broke of another 60-yard rushing touchdown at the beginning of the first half. WSU’s defense didn’t fill the lanes like it was supposed to, due to the fact that players were out of position on both plays.
“It was really kind of a miscommunication..uhhh…lack of communication on the defensive side of the ball, being out of gaps and stuff.” Said redshirt freshmen linebacker Peyton Pelluer.
The Cougars vaunted passing attack struggled to get going all night long, as the Husky defense took away the deep route with its press coverage. With the deep routes unavailable, for most of the game, redshirt freshmen quarterback Luke Falk was forced to rely on the shorter routes to get rid of the ball before the pocket collapsed. Unfortunately for Falk, the routes were often well covered and the young quarterback was flushed from the pocket.
“Sometimes he did (flush out of the pocket too soon),” said WSU head coach Mike Leach. “but sometimes there was stuff that we would have quick and he didn’t react to it.”
Falk’s confidence in his receivers seemed to waiver at times, as the wideouts struggled to complete their catches throughout the game.
“The balls we dropped were devastating.” Leach said.
One of those devastating dropped passes was midway through the first quarter when Falk found wide receiver Dom Williams open in the endzone on 4th and 1, and Williams dropped the pass. The dropped pass was the Cougars best chance to score until the fourth quarter.
Williams wasn’t the only one dropping passes, as senior wide receiver Vince Mayle had trouble holding onto the ball all night. The senior wideout dropped three passes (by my count) in his final college game. Mayle finished the night with five receptions for 79 yards, good for an average of 15.8 yards per catch.
For Washington State, the Cougars completed a season that was filled with freshmen being thrown into the fire and having to learn the system in live games. The Cougars will be entering into next season needing to perform at a higher level if the squad is going to return to the post season.