Another week in college football has passed and we near the end. Although this saddens me it’s this time of year the best match ups happen and after some upsets on Saturday there are some AWESOME story lines all over college football and especially in the Pac-12! The Civil War, the Territorial Cup, the Battle of L.A. and the Battle of the Rockies are all interesting match ups!
This week we’ll be looking at the big match up on black Friday! The Apple Cup. Last year’s game was very exciting as Washington State staged a 4th quarter comeback to beat the Huskies in dramatic fashion, in overtime. This year the Apple cup is looking a lot more important and it actually a significant match up for something other then pride.
This one will decide both teams bowl fate for the first time in 10 years! Now even though both teams are bowl eligible Washington State is trying to guarantee themselves a spot in a bowl by beating Washington in this Apple Cup. Meanwhile Washington is trying to avoid ending with 7 wins as this has become a limit for this program.
The win would be huge for both sides but we’re on the Cougar’s side so let’s take a look at the trends for Wazzu to win this game.
What Washington Brings:
Bishop Sankey is a ridiculous power and speed running back from Spokane. He has gained national attention and is very hard to stop. He’s kind of a Ka’deem Carey situation for opposing defenses, where he’s gonna get his numbers, you just have to try to limit the effect it has on the game and shut down other aspects of the Huskies’ game.
When the Huskies are not pounding the ball down your throat with #25 on offense, they are making life difficult for you with #7 Shaq Thompson on defense. Shaq is a key piece to Washington’s defense, he is just a Sophomore but he’s a leader and a play maker. He flies around and can chase down anyone on the field. He’s a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks and a big part of this very good UW defense.
So what are the Cougar trends this week?
Offense first… I’ll lead with Connor Halliday. Connor has been playing as good as any quarterback in the Pac-12 over the past 2 weeks. Although a big difference in his success is improved play by the wide receivers, Connor has greatly elevated his play.
This needs to continue through the Apple Cup if the Cougs are to make it to their 7th win of the year. This one is tough because even though Connor is a redshirt junior, he has never played in an Apple Cup. His freshman year he was injured after the Utah game and last year Jeff Tuel started and played the whole game.
This year, it is Halliday’s team and it all comes down to this; the biggest game of the year, the Apple Cup, trying to guarantee his team a bowl. How will Halliday handle the emotion? Now the emotions of this game are important but need to be under control and as we know, Halliday is a very passionate player but he can’t let the emotion get in the way, he needs to execute and focus and he will do well.
Next we need continued production for the run game. Our rushing game has been refreshing the last couple weeks and has given us an added weapon for picking up tough yards. Our offense is best in short yardage situations and we need early success with the run game to continue that.
Defensively with Sankey on the other side of the ball of course the play of the front-seven is important but what will decide this game is the play of our DB’s. Going up against a backup quarterback (potentially), how will this group react? They are the key to turnovers and they will need to have one of their best group efforts to win this one.
Made up of mostly seniors (Deone Bucannon, Damante Horton, Nolan Washington, Anthony Carpenter and Casey Locker) these guys are playing in their last regular season game in Cougar uniforms and it’s going to be interesting watching how this group performs.
It’s the Apple Cup baby! The Cougs’ bowl hopes are hanging in the balance, no one is going to give it to us, so let’s go take it! GO COUGS!