Nov. 23, 2012; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars head coach Mike Leach (left) holds up the Apple Cup with Elson Flyod after a game against Washington Huskies at Martin Stadium. The Cougars would go onto beat the Huskies by a final score of 31-28 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Well it’s that time of year again; the time of year where your stomachs are full of food one day and the next you are glued to the TV watching the Apple Cup. After last year’s thrilling overtime victory I look to see what the Cougars can do this year to come home with a win for the second time in a row.
Washington (7-4, 4-4) will play host to the Cougars (6-5, 4-4) in newly renovated Husky Stadium. The last time the Cougars played at Husky stadium it was 2009 and the Cougars were shut out 30-0. The Cougars are hoping history doesn’t repeat itself.
This week I am going to throw in a 6th key to a victory. It isn’t the biggest, but it is definitely important if it comes down to it and we all know how big it was in last year’s game.
Stop The Run
Bishop Sankey is one of the best running backs in the conference and in the nation and will be a lot to handle for the Cougars. The Huskies have counted on Sankey in the big moments of this season. With QB Keith Price possibly out for the game the Huskies could really be counting on Sankey to help carry the team. Sankey has managed to rush for 1,575 yards on 272 attempts and has 17 touchdowns on the ground.
Sep 28, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies running back Bishop Sankey (25) rushes against the Arizona Wildcats during the third quarter at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Second leading rusher, Dwayne Washington has 332 yards on 47 carries and has 4 scores. Deontae Cooper is the third leading rusher, has 3 scores on 41 attempts and 267 yards.
Two other Huskies have multiple scores on the ground; Jesse Callier has 3 touchdowns and Keith Price has 4.
The running game struggled last year against WSU and the Cougars hope to repeat that defensive showing. The Cougars have struggled when it comes to stopping the run this year. They have allowed 8 teams to rush for over 100 yards and 4 teams to have over 200 yards on the ground. The only teams the Cougars have not allowed to rush for over 100 yards in Southern Utah (73), Idaho (79), and California (64).
One match-up we will all be waiting to see is the hard hitting Safety for the Cougars, Deone Bucannon taking on the speedy back for the Huskies, Bishop Sankey.