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Apple Cup: UW Huskies have answer for WSU’s strong start in 31-13 win

Nov 29, 2019, 1:51 PM | Updated: 5:43 pm

Apple Cup, Anthony Gordon, Joe Tryon...

The UW Huskies won the Apple Cup over the WSU Cougars for the seventh straight year. (Getty)


Seven years, seven Apple Cup wins for the UW Huskies.

Despite a spirited start from WSU, Washington used a combination of big plays of offense, takeaways on defense and untimely penalties for the Cougs to win the annual rivalry game 31-13 at Husky Stadium.

UW 31, WSU 13: 710 reaction | Photos and story | Stats

There wasn’t much on the line this year other than pride, as the two teams entered the regular season finale with matching 6-5 records. But considering how much Washington has dominated the series since Chris Petersen and Mike Leach took their posts in Montlake and Pullman, respectively, this was still very much an important game for the two bowl-bound programs.

Quarterback Anthony Gordon led WSU on an impressive opening drive where he completed 9 of 10 passes en route to set up a Max Borghi 1-yard touchdown run, and the Cougars had big plays early on both defense and special teams, as well.

The tide turned beginning with a 57-yard pass from Washington QB Jacob Eason to Terrell Bynum, however, setting up a tying TD run by Eason late in the first quarter. And though WSU made a field goal early in the second quarter, the Huskies had back-to-back touchdowns and an Elijah Molden interception that helped demoralize the Cougs before halftime.

A lost fumble and interception early in the fourth quarter prevented WSU from cutting into Washington’s lead, and the Huskies prevailed for the seventh straight Apple Cup, the last six of which have been under Petersen. Leach falls to 1-7 all-time in the Apple Cup.

Eason completed 15 of 22 passes for 244 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions, while Gordon was 48 of 62 for 308 yards, no TDs and two picks. UW’s Salvon Ahmed led all rushers with 85 yards on 13 carries, while Borghi had 10 attempts for 50 yards. He also had a game-high 12 receptions, totaling 58 yards. WSU’s top receiver was Renard Bell with 87 yards on nine catches, while the Huskies were paced by Hunter Bryant (six receptions, 96 yards) and Bynum (three receptions, 77 yards and a TD).

First quarter

WSU 7, UW 7

Not only had it been six years since a Washington State win in the Apple Cup, but the last several were notable for how the UW defense was able to ground the Cougars’ Air Raid.

WSU went to work right away trying to put that narrative to rest.

Gordon completed eight passes before his first incompletion, including three to Borghi for 30 yards, and Borghi finished off a stellar 13-play, 81-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to give Washington State a 7-0 lead out of the gate at Husky Stadium.

The Cougars’ defense was strong to start, as well. Linebacker Willie Taylor came flying around the edge for a sack of Eason on Washington’s first offensive play, and a pair of WSU defenders were ready to blow up a short pass to Bynum on third-and-15 to force the Huskies into a three-and-out.

It turned out to be a trifecta as it pertained to setting the tone for WSU, as though the Cougs failed to get a first down on their second offensive series, they had great coverage on Oscar Draguicevich’s 50-yard punt and hammered UW’s Aaron Fuller before he could make any sort of return.

And yet all it took was one big play from Washington against a WSU defense that has struggled more than it has excelled this year to even things up.

A long bomb from Eason to Bynum resulted in a 57-yard gain for the Huskies, and Eason followed a nice push at the line of scrimmage for a 3-yard keeper for a touchdown as Washington evened things up at 7-all.

WSU – Max Borghi 1 run (Blake Mazza kick, 7-0 WSU), 9:07
UW – Jacob Eason 3 run (Peyton Henry kick, 7-7), 3:53

Second quarter

UW 21, WSU 10

For the first 18-plus minutes of game time, the story of the Apple Cup was the Cougars making a strong case to change the narrative this year from the one that has been carried over the last six times the game was played.

The rest of the first half looked a lot more like the Apple Cups we’re become used to watching during the Petersen/Leach era of the rivalry.

WSU broke a 7-7 tie with a field goal to cap off a 16-play drive that took 7:15 off the clock to open the second quarter, but the Cougars’ three-point advantage didn’t last for long. The Washington State defense’s problems that have plagued it throughout the season were apparent on the Huskies’ initial offensive series of the second frame. First, an incomplete pass on third down turned out to be a pass interference call on WSU, giving Washington new life. Then, Eason found Cade Otton for a first down on fourth-and-5, and UW’s quarterback found Bynum for a pretty 16-yard touchdown pass that suddenly put the Huskies in the lead.

The UW defense then got the crowd into the game, coming up with back-to-back sacks of Gordon to force WSU into a three-and-out. That’s where things really seemed to get out hand for the Cougars, as Washington found the end zone again on a 1-yard Richard Newton run to complete a seven-play, 47-yard drive.

Bad turned to worse for WSU as Gordon attempted a pass on third-and-13 inside the final minute, and Molden made an interception for the Huskies to keep the Cougs from drawing closer before halftime.

WSU – Blake Mazza 28 FG (10-7 WSU), 11:38
UW – Terrell Bynum 16 pass from Jacob Eason (Henry kick, 14-10 UW), 7:12
UW – Richard Newton 1 run (Henry kick, 21-10 UW), 1:38

Third quarter

UW 28, WSU 13

The Huskies built on their lead in the third quarter, but the Cougars got a break that they desperately needed later on that opened the door for a potential comeback.

Washington took advantage of multiple WSU penalties on its opening offensive drive after halftime, and a 2-yard Newton run resulted in his second touchdown of the day, pushing the Huskies’ lead to 28-10.

The Cougars were the next to score, however, though they had to settle for a 38-yard field goal by Blake Mazza, cutting Washington’s advantage to 15 points. WSU found its way to the red zone on that series, but a sack of Gordon by Joe Tryon put the Cougs at second-and-goal from the 21, and they stalled out and needed to turn to Mazza’s foot to score.

UW appeared on its way to scoring again, but the Cougs were able to pry the ball away from Fuller on a 13-yard pass and recovered the fumble in WSU territory. Washington State’s offense moved the ball past midfield before the fourth quarter began, still trailing by two scores.

UW – Newton 2 run (Henry kick, 28-10 UW), 11:54
WSU – Mazza 38 FG (28-13 UW), 6:40

Fourth quarter

UW 31, WSU 13

The Cougars had their biggest opportunity of the second half to challenge Washington’s lead by coming up with a fumble recovery late in the third quarter, but they needed to capitalize on that for it to matter.

That that did not happen.

WSU’s ensuing drive ended the same way Washington’s previous series ended – a lost fumble. On third-and-3 at the UW 9, Gordon completed a pass to Deon McIntosh, but the ball came loose as Trent McDuffie’s helmet dislodged it from McIntosh’s grasp. The fumble was missed on the field by the officials, however, so while Myles Bryant recovered it and had nothing but wide-open field ahead of him, the play was called dead and it took a replay review for possession to be awarded to Washington.

There was another shot for the Cougs, too, as the defense came up with a three-and-out to pick up its offense. The Huskies had an answer for that as well, though, with McDuffie picking off Gordon and returning it 29 yards to the WSU 40. That set up an important 22-yard Peyton Henry field goal that pushed the Huskies’ lead to three scores.

WSU reached the red zone one last time, but it came down to fourth-and-5 from the 15, and a desperation heave under pressure by Gordon fell nowhere near a Cougars receiver as UW took the ball over on downs with 3:06 to go. That was the last legitimate chance Washington State had at making a final run before time ran out.

UW – Henry 22 FG (31-13 UW), 6:35

Follow’s Brent Stecker on Twitter.

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