Bumpus: What WSU must do to upset UW in Apple Cup

Nov 22, 2023, 3:17 PM

UW Huskies WSU Cougars Pac-12 Apple Cup...

UW Huskies RB Wayne Taulapapa carries the ball against the WSU Cougars in 2022. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

(AP Photo/Young Kwak)

The UW Huskies will look to cap off a perfect 12-0 regular season this weekend when they host the WSU Cougars in the annual Apple Cup.

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The Huskies are heavy favorites both because the game is at home at Husky Stadium, but also because UW is a perfect 11-0, ranked fourth in the latest College Football Playoff poll and has already clinched a Pac-12 Championship Game berth. The Cougs, meanwhile, are 5-6 after snapping a six-game skid last week against Colorado and need to win this Saturday in order to make it to a bowl game.

But we’ve seen big upsets on both sides during this rivalry. So what needs to happen this week for WSU to take down the undefeated Huskies?

Someone who knows a thing or two about winning in the Apple Cup is Michael Bumpus, a legendary WSU receiver who went 3-1 against UW during his time in Pullman. He shared a few stats that need to happen for his Cougs to have a chance this weekend.

Naturally, Bumpus pointed to UW’s top player: quarterback Michael Penix Jr.

“If they hold Penix to 55% completion,” he said during Wednesday’s Bump and Stacy on Seattle Sports.

Stacy Rost, Bumpus’ co-host and a UW alum, said “it’s not happening.”

Replied Bumpus, “Are you sure? Against Oregon, ASU, Stanford and OSU, he’s completing 56% of his passes, and in one game (against Oregon State), it was 40-something. So it’s directly correlated: If you can slow him down, you’ll slow this offense down.”

Bumpus also pointed to a top UW offensive player for the Cougs pulling off the upset.

“Only one touchdown for (receiver) Rome (Odunze). He can’t be going off for two,” he said. “I might have add another one, and that is 80. One touchdown and 80 yards (for Odunze).”

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If WSU can limit Penix’s completion rate as well as Odunze’s final stat line, Bumpus thinks the Cougs can leave Husky Stadium with a big win.

“If you can do that — tall task, big order — but if you can do that, I’m going to guarantee the victory because that’s what they want to do (is pass the ball),” Bumpus said. “Make them have to run the football with Dillon Johnson. You know what’s gonna happen if you run the football, run the football, run the football? You’re not going to have these explosive drives that only last two or three minutes like we’re used to seeing with this team. Again, easier said than done. Michael Penix is a great quarterback, Rome’s a baller, and even Dillon Johnson has had his days. But you’ve got to keep it close. And the teams that have kept it close and made it difficult for Michael Penix. (He had) 56% completion rate (or worse) in those four close games that they’ve had this year. That’s how you’re going to do it.”

Listen to the full second hour of Wednesday’s Bump and Stacy at this link or in the player near the top of this story.

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