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The X-factor in this year’s Apple Cup? WSU QB Gardner Minshew

Gardner Minshew was this year's Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year. (AP)

The college football rivalry between the Washington State Cougars and Washington Huskies dates back 118 years, but the meeting between the two teams at this year’s Apple Cup could be one of the most exciting iterations yet.

UW’s Browning has chance to cap stellar career in Apple Cup

The last several contests haven’t been close: Washington has won the last five Apple Cups, and the last four games have been by a three or more score margin of victory.

There’s good reason to believe this year could bring a change in that dynamic, and according to 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake Heaps, the biggest reason for that change will be Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew.

“The defensive staff for UW has done an excellent job changing the picture,” Heaps said during the Blue 42 segment of Brock and Salk. The former NCAA and NFL quarterback attributes Washington’s string of success to their defense and run game.

“When I go back and watch the tape, they change the picture every time, pre-snap to post-snap, and really create confusion for the Washington State quarterbacks. On the offensive end, UW has really established the run game, and they’ve been able to jump ahead quickly and kind of put into the heart of WSU fans and their team that you’re in a hole you’ll have to come back from, and that’s tough to overcome mentally.

“With all that being said, the X-factor and difference-maker in this is Garner Minshew. He’s simply just different. He doesn’t just have this team believing, but they feel like they’re bulletproof. This team isn’t just hype; they’ve been battle-tested and it’s very much real. Washington is going to have to stick to the script of what they’ve been able to do the last couple years.”

This year’s Apple Cup will be played in Pullman, Wash. on Friday, Nov. 23 at 5:30 p.m PST. You can hear the pregame show on 710 ESPN Seattle at 3:30 p.m., with play-by-play beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Heaps also answered questions about the key to the Seahawks’ Thursday night win over the Packers and Monday night’s matchup between Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Rams quarterback Jared Goff. You can hear the full segment in the audio clip embedded above. New segments of Blue 42 will air every weekday at 7:45 a.m. on Brock and Salk.