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Moore Predicts: Apple Cup can go WSU’s way if Cougs follow Max Borghi’s lead

Keeping Max Borghi and the offense on the field will be key for WSU in the Apple Cup. (AP)

My favorite day of the year is here, and it’s fair to wonder why it would be my favorite since it typically ends so poorly. The Apple Cup will kick off at Husky Stadium today at 1, and I’ve gone to one of those secondary ticket sites and paid through the nose to be there with my kids.

Apple Cup previews: WSU offense has been missing | QBs in spotlight

As has so often been the case in the past six years, there might be a time today when I wonder why I spent so much to watch what we’re watching. I dread thinking about Jacob Eason playing like he did against BYU, finding receivers everywhere, throwing on-target bullets all day long.

And as much as I don’t like Jimmy Lake because of his post-game comments criticizing Mike Leach’s offense, the Husky defense appears to have the Air Raid figured out. So I worry about us not operating like we typically do with Anthony Gordon throwing for 450 yards and four or five touchdowns.

I picture Mikey saying: “Can we leave?” in the third quarter or maybe even at halftime if the Cougars trail by two touchdowns. The last time we were at Husky Stadium two years ago, we left the stadium early but were stuck in Montlake, parked in a driveway behind other cars that blocked us in, owned by Husky fans who wanted to enjoy the game until the end.

I will somehow forget being the 60-year-old guy who promised himself to never park like that again in the future and be the optimistic 62-year-old as I drive back into a Montlake neighborhood and park like that again. Surely the Cougs will make it a competitive game to the finish this year, won’t they?

The saying about the definition of insanity plays out almost every year in the Apple Cup – we’ve managed to lose nine of the last 10 to the Dawgs, and history is the best thing Washington has going for it this year. Chris Petersen’s team – or at least his offense – is broken. My hope is that it continues to malfunction for 60 more minutes even though I expect that it won’t. Somehow, as I’ve already noted a few paragraphs ago, Eason will look like a No. 1 NFL draft pick overall today.

That kid has all kinds of talent, and we’ve made lesser quarterbacks look like No 1 picks all season long. That’s my biggest concern – the Cougar defense, the one that gave up 52 points to an Oregon State team that did not manage one single first down in the second half in a 19-7 loss to Washington. Think about this for a second – the Beavers moved up and down the field all night long against the Cougars last Saturday and did not score against the Dawgs. Their one touchdown came from a pick six.

Here’s my biggest hope – that we keep our defense off the field as long as possible. For that to happen, I’d like to see us dink and dunk our way down the field while handing the ball off to Max Borghi as much as possible. That’s the biggest key to the game, giving the ball to Borghi and let him take advantage of a suspect Husky run defense. I repeat with bigger letters to emphasize what must happen for the Cougars to win: GIVE THE BALL TO BORGHI!

That’s what we did on the last play of the game to beat the Beavers last week; that’s what needs to happen all game long today. And if you’re not going to hand it off to him over and over again, throw a bunch of swing passes to him and let him make the most of his ground-churning ability in the open field.

Can’t wait for kickoff. The Apple Cup might not have as much on the line this year, but it’s still the Apple Cup. I’m guessing it will be a much closer game this year with a much different outcome.

Prediction: Cougars 41, Huskies 35

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jim Moore on Twitter.

More on the Apple Cup

• Moore: Lake stoked UW-WSU rivalry, but his defense isn’t as good this year
• Apple Cup Decision Day: Will Paul Gallant choose to be a UW or WSU fan?
• Moore: Apple Cup history isn’t usually on WSU’s side, but it could be Friday