No. 6 UW withstands No. 23 WSU’s comeback attempt in third quarter to win 4th straight Apple Cup
The No. 6 Washington Huskies’ first half was a sight to see in Friday’s Apple Cup. But it was the way they withstood a comeback attempt in the third quarter by No 23 Washington State that made sure the Dawgs went back to Seattle as the Pac-12 North champions.
Though WSU possessed the ball for over 12 minutes in the third quarter, Washington held the Cougars to just one touchdown in the frame, which kept the Huskies’ lead at a comfortable three-score margin.
“The first half went as well as it could for us,” Huskies coach Chris Petersen said, “and then (the Cougars) controlled the whole time (in the third quarter), but the defense answered when we needed to.”
The answer came in the form of a goal-line stand in which Washington stopped a Gerard Wicks run from the 1 on fourth down. It was the second time in the game the Huskies stopped WSU at the goal line on a fourth-down run, which is as big of a reason as any that UW was victorious.
“I know they were big momentum swings, for sure,” Petersen said of the fourth-down stops. “They’re hard to stop and that’s a hard run offense to stop when they only need a yard or two yards, and they take those splits and they got some big guys out there. So it was awesome to see our D-line take over because it’s a hard team for our D-line to take over.”
Just as big as the third-quarter stop was for Washington was how much time the drive it came on took up. While allowing your opponent multiple 6-minute drives in one quarter isn’t exactly a positive, it can be when you’re trying to put a game on ice.
“It also ate up a lot of clock for them, and then our defense held, so it all worked out,” said Petersen.
While Washington quarterback Jake Browning was the star of the game, orchestrating the Huskies’ big first half, he pointed out just how much of a team effort UW’s fourth straight Apple Cup win was.
“We stalled a bit in the third quarter with the three-and-out and they got some momentum back, and we had a big goal-line stand by our defense,” Browning said. “We played well in all three phases of the game and that’s why we won.”