WSU Football: Huskies Make Critical Adjustments to Win Apple Cup 2013


Nov 29, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies defensive end Hau

Washington State (6-6, 4-5 Pac-12) got off to a good start in Apple Cup 2013 but failed to close the deal.


The Washington Huskies (8-4, 5-4 Pac-12) went into their home field locker room at halftime trailing by a touchdown 10-3. Adding to their challenge, the Dawgs would be kicking off to the Cougs to begin the second half of play.

The Cougar defense stymied UW quarterback Keith Price and company through the first two quarters, limiting the Huskies to converting just one of six third down plays.

Both teams came into this game with their offenses torching opposing defenses. Most expected a high scoring shoot out which never materialized.

Based on play in the third quarter, UW Coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff made the right adjustments to get their offense back on track. They came out and put 17-points on the Cougs and seize control of the game.

Inexplicably, Coach Mike Leach watched his team fail to make the right reads, be flagged for penalties and turn the ball over in the second half.

Leach conceded, “We didn’t finish drives as well as we should have in the third quarter. We didn’t stop them as well as we should have in the third quarter.”

Make no mistake, this was a hard hitting rivalry game filled with plenty of plays which will have fans second guessing for months to come.

Nov 29, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Keith Price (17) passes against the Washington State Cougars during the fourth quarter at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The difference between the two teams came down to one player rising above the rest. UW running back Bishop Sankey turned in a monster performance in front of 71,753 in attendance, must of which choosing to wear purple attire.

Sankey showed why he’s arguably the top running back in the Pac-12 by carrying the ball 34 times for 200 yards. Add to that a pitch and catch he raced downfield for 40 yards. And he did most of his damage in the second half leading the come-from-behind win for Washington.

Simply put, every time Sankey broke past the line of scrimmage he put moves on WSU defenders like Barry Sanders used to thrill fans with back in the day. He racked up 139-yards in the second half to lead his team to victory.

Connor Halliday seemed to play much of the game not to lose rather than attack the Husky defense aggressively. Though his offensive line did a good job providing protection, Halliday was sacked four times when he couldn’t find someone to throw the ball to.

Talking about being sacked Halliday stated the obvious, “UW secondary played well today. I think a lot of (the sacks) were just kind of nowhere to go with the ball. Was trying to not force anything and kind of eat it.”

After Sankey and company took control of the scoreboard posting 17 unanswered points for a 20-10 margin, Halliday’s patience payed off.

Neither team was able to move the ball in the early stages of the fourth quarter. WSU got down to the UW 38 when they turned the ball over on downs.

Nov 29, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies linebacker John Timu (10) hits Washington State Cougars wide receiver Dom Williams (80) after Williams caught a pass during the fourth quarter at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

When the Cougar defense stopped the Sankey-express, Halliday led his team down the field to close the score to 20-17. The drive was one keeping Cougar Nation on the edge of their seats while subduing the crowd noise generated by Dawg fans. Halliday dropped a beautiful ball into the hands of Dom Williams for a 22-yard completion on 4th and 15. The officials added another 9-yards (half the distance to the goal) as a result of a targeting penalty. Fittingly, Williams was on the receiving end of a fade pass from Halliday for the touchdown.

If the Cougar defense could turn the ball back over to Halliday, there was plenty of time left to either tie the game or take the lead.

The D did their job. The offense didn’t.

“We just needed another stop and another drive,” summarized Leach during post game interviews.

On 3rd and 10 from the WSU 29-yard line Halliday threw an interception which turned the ball and the game over to Washington.

A disappointing loss.

Watching this team evolve over the season, one expectation was met. Washington State gave a strong effort from beginning to end.

On Black Friday, it was Washington who did what it took to win a very big game.

For Washington State, it’s been a better-than-expected regular season with the possibility of a bowl game in the offing.



  • Connor Halliday’s two TD passes gave him 28 for the season, second-most in WSU single-season history, tying Jason Gesser (2002) and adding to his career passing touchdown total of 52, fifth-most in WSU history. He passed for 282 yards, giving him 4,187 for the season, breaking Ryan Leaf’s record of 3,968 in 1997,third-most in Pac-12 history. Halliday has completed 412 passes this season, most in Pac-12 and WSU single-season history. Also, his 656 pass attempts this season are the most in Pac-12 and WSU single-season history
  • Darryl Paulo recorded his first career sack (shared with Palacio)
  • Gabe Marks caught four passes to up his season total to 69, fourth-most in WSU single-season history