Huskies had the answers in dominant Apple Cup win over Cougs

Nov 30, 2014, 12:23 AM | Updated: 12:31 am
Dwayne Washington shredded the Cougar defense for touchdowns of 60 and 51 yards in UW’s 31-13...
Dwayne Washington shredded the Cougar defense for touchdowns of 60 and 51 yards in UW's 31-13 win. (AP)

Heading to frigid Pullman to close out the regular season was supposed to be one of the toughest games on Washington’s schedule this season.

Instead, the Huskies turned out a rare dominating Apple Cup performance on enemy territory, giving first-year head coach Chris Petersen a feather in his cap as the 8-5 Dawgs await news on where they’ll go bowling.

It’s a much different story for the 3-9 Cougars, whose third season under Mike Leach ended with a whimper in front of a dwindling crowd fed up with another poor showing at Martin Stadium.

Watching Saturday’s battle, it was pretty clear that the two teams were heading in different directions after the game. It was also clear that Washington State was the less comfortable squad despite the conditions, which should have favored the Cougars considering the temperature hung in the teens and a pile of snow occupied the space behind the east end zone.

“I think the biggest thing is we tried to do too much,” Leach said after the game. “We went out there and tried to play perfect. You don’t play perfect. … We never relaxed and got into a good rhythm.”

The Huskies, on the other hand, handled the cold well enough to continue their offensive surge from last week’s win over Oregon State. Sophomore tailback Dwayne Washington’s big-play ability was on display again in his third 100-yard game in a row – he opened the scoring by hitting a hole and going untouched 51 yards to the end zone, then one-upped himself with a 60-yard score on just the second play after halftime. He finished with 135 rushing yards on 12 carries and added another 27 yards on three receptions.

Washington’s big performance wasn’t the only one to come from the Dawgs’ O, either. Sophomore quarterback Cyler Miles came out firing and made another significant step forward in a season that has had just as many downs as ups, completing 25 of 39 passes for 249 yards and two scores.

Then there were the receivers, who played as good of a game as a whole as the Huskies have seen all year. Jaydon Mickens continued to be the favored target, hauling in five receptions for 51 yards, while Kasen Williams (25 yards, one touchdown) and tight end Joshua Perkins (51 yards, one touchdown) gave their seasons some much-needed highlights.

The Cougars, who entered the game with the nation’s best passing offense, weren’t anywhere near as effective. Freshman quarterback Luke Falk had his second straight lackluster showing, returning to earth after looking like a revelation in his first two games filling in for the injured Connor Halliday. The Huskies were able to keep Falk from feeling cozy in the pocket, getting to him for four sacks, forcing him into two interceptions and holding him to 27 for 49 passing for 355 yards (241 of which came in the second half) and two late touchdowns.

Dealing with Washington’s defensive front certainly didn’t make for a fun evening for WSU, just as the Huskies intended.

“I think the credit starts with our defense,” Petersen said. “Our defensive coaches put together a heck of a game plan and our kids executed it as well as can be expected. It was really impressive how those guys worked.”

In the end, the story was simple: Washington’s stout defense had the answer for Washington State’s Air Raid offense, while the struggling Cougar defense didn’t have the same for a Husky offense that has just recently started hitting its stride. And considering that, it’s easy to see why one team is on to its fifth straight bowl and the other is done for the winter.


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Huskies had the answers in dominant Apple Cup win over Cougs