Washington has won three consecutive Apple Cups under head coach Steve Sarkisian and four of the six Apple Cups played at Martin Stadium in Pullman since 2000.
GAME: Washington (7-4 overall, 5-2 Pac-12) at Washington State (2-9 overall, 0-8 Pac-12). WHEN: Friday, 12:30 p.m., Martin Stadium, Pullman. MEETING: 105th (Washington leads 67-31-6 ). COACHES: Steve Sarkisian, Washington; Mike Leach, Washington State. RANKINGS: UW 25 BCS. LINE: UW by 11½. TV: FOX. RADIO: KJR-950 AM, 102.9 FM
Just days after Washington lost to Baylor 67-56 in the Alamo Bowl in December, head coach Steve Sarkisian fired longtime friend Nick Holt, the Huskies’ defensive coordinator, and brought in Justin Wilcox, poached off the University of Tennessee staff, to mend a defense that had allowed a school-record 467 points, 35.9 per game.
With Holt having been busted to a $55,000-per-year on-campus recruiting coordinator at the University of Arkansas (he made $650,000 at UW) and Wilcox running things, the Huskies are allowing 23.2 points per game, their lowest per-game yield since the 2000 Rose Bowl team allowed 20.5.
Wilcox has especially made a difference in Washington’s pass defense. Under Holt last year, the Huskies allowed an average of 284.6 yards per game, a school record. This year, UW allows just 174.3 (ninth best in the country), the fourth-lowest total in the past 25 years and just 4.3 more yards than the 1991 co-national champions yielded (170.0).
The question is whether Wilcox’s handiwork will be sufficient to shut down, or at least slow down, Washington State’s passing offense, which leads the Pac-12 at 328.6 yards per game.
If the Huskies win the 105th Apple Cup, they become the first UW team to win five consecutive games since the 2000 Huskies closed out that campaign with eight straight victories, including a Rose Bowl triumph over Purdue.
A Washington win would also be its fourth straight over WSU, the Huskies’ longest Apple Cup victory streak since they won six in a row from 1998-03.
Washington’s best weapon Saturday against WSU quarterbacks Jeff Tuel and Connor Halliday could be sophomore Bishop Sankey, the conference’s fifth-leading rusher, who will be going against the Pac-12’s ninth-ranked rushing defense. If Sankey, A Gonzaga Prep grad who once committed to play for Washington State, can grind out yards and eat clock — he has six 100-yard games — he will deny Tuel and/or Halladay chances to put up points.
Sankey’s job will be a lot easier if, as expected, linebacker Travis Long is unable to play. Long apparently suffered a serious knee injury (WSU won’t discuss injuries) at Arizona State last week, threatening his school-record streak of 47 consecutive starts.
SERIES: Dates to Nov. 30, 1900, when the teams played to a 5-5 tie at Denny Field in Seattle. Washington has won the Apple Cup the past three years after Washington State won back-to-back Cups in 2007-08. Last year, Washington quarterback Keith Price threw three touchdown passes, including a pair to Kasen Williams, in the Huskies’ 38-21 victory. The Apple Cup trophy has been awarded annually since 1962.
UW HEAD COACH: Steve Sarkisian (26-23-0) is in his fourth season. After a 5-7 record in 2009, Sarkisian guided the Huskies to a 7-6 record in 2010 that included a 19-7 victory over Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl. That marked Washington’s first postseason game since the 2002 Sun Bowl. Sarkisian coached the Huskies to another 7-6 record in 2011, including a berth opposite Baylor in the Alamo Bowl. Prior to joining the Huskies, Sarkisian served as a USC assistant under Pete Carroll (2001-03, 2005-08). He also worked as an Oakland Raiders assistant in 2004. Sarkisian played quarterback at Brigham Young University and later played in the Canadian Football League.
UW STATS / NOTES
HUSKIES OFFENSIVE LEADERS
|Keith Price||11||359||223||2290||16 /10||124.3|
HUSKIES DEFENSIVE LEADERS
|Tackles||Timu 65, Feeney 62, Parker 61|
|Sacks||Hudson 5.5, Shirley 5.5, Feeney 4.0|
|Interceptions||Peters 3, Thompson 3, 3 with 2|
|Passes Defensed||Peters 10, Timu 6, Trufant 6, Watson 5|
|Forced Fumbles||Parker 3, Shirley 3, 4 with 1|
|Fumbles Recovered||Glenn 2, Shamburger 2, 5 with 1|
Pac-12 Standings / North
|Stanford||9-2||7-1||Sat. at UCLA, 3:30 p.m., Pac-12|
|Oregon||10-1||7-1||Saturday at OSU, 12 p.m., Pac-12|
|Oregon St.||8-2||6-2||Sat. vs. Oregon, 12 p.m., Pac-12|
|Washington||7-4||5-3||Friday at WSU, 12:30 p.m.|
|WSU||2-9||0-8||Friday vs. UW, 12:30 p.m.|
Pac-12 Standings / South
|UCLA||9-2||6-2||Sat. vs. Stanford, 3:30p.m., FOX|
|USC||7-4||5-4||Sat. vs. Notre Dame, 5 p.m., ABC|
|Arizona||7-4||4-4||Friday vs. ASU, 7 p.m., ESPN|
|ASU||6-5||4-4||Friday at Arizona, 7 p.m., ESPN|
|Utah||4-7||2-6||Friday at Colorado, 12 p.m., FX|
|Colorado||1-10||1-7||Saturday vs.Utah, 12 p.m., FX|
WASHINGTON STATE NOTES: Washington State defeated Eastern Washington (24-20) and UNLV (35-27) and lost to BYU (30-6), Colorado (35-34), Oregon (51-26), Oregon State (19-6), California (31-17), Stanford (24-17), Utah (49-6), UCLA (44-36) and Arizona State (46-7) . . . The Cougars rank 11th in the Pac-12 in scoring offense (19.5), 11th in scoring defense (34.2), 9th in total offense (358.6), 9th in total defense (440.2), 12th in rushing offense (30.0), 9th in rushing defense (171.3), 1st in pass offense (238.6), 8th in pass defense (268.9) and 11th in passing efficiency (117.6) . . . QB Connor Halliday ranks 7th in the Pac-12 at 208.7 yards per game. He’s also thrown 15 touchdowns. Connor ranks eighth in total offense at 191.3 . . . Jeff Tuel ranks 9th in passing yards per game (193.0) and has thrown eight touchdowns. Tuel is ninth in passing efficiency at 121.3 . . . Deone Bucannon is the league’s fourth leading tackler with 95 total . . . Travis Long ranks T5 in sacks with 9.5 . . . The Washington State roster includes three players who list their hometown as Seattle and 24 players who attended high schools in Western Washington.
WSU HEAD COACH: Mike Leach (87-50 overall, 2-9 WSU). Hired Nov. 30, 2011 to replace Paul Wulff, who went 9-40 in four seasons, Leach in 10 seasons at Texas Tech (2000-09) earned 10 bowl bids. The Susanville, CA., native, who was raised in Cody, WY., recorded a school-record 84 victories. Leach’s offenses led the nation in passing six times and three times accumulated the most total yards. In 2009, the Red Raiders finished second in passing offense and fourth in total offense, both marks tops among BCS conference schools. Prior to Texas Tech, Leach spent one season as the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma (1999). That year, the Sooners set six Big 12 and 17 school records.
COMING UP: The Huskies will play in a yet-to-be-determined bowl game.
University of Washington 2012 Schedule/Results
|Date||Opponent||UW Rnk||Opp Rnk||W/L||Score||Rec.|
|9/1/12||vs. SD State||—||—||W||21-12||1-0|
|9/15/12||vs. Port. State||—||—||W||52-13||2-1|
UW 21, San Diego State 12 (Sept. 1): Keith Price completed 25 of 35 passes for 222 yards and an eight-yard TD to Kasen Williams, and Will Shamburger returned a fumble 44 yards for a touchdown. The UW defense, maligned throughout the 2011 season, gave up 199 rushing yards but just 128 passing yards, recovered two fumbles, had three sacks and an interception.
LSU 41, Washington 3 (Sept. 8): No. 3 LSU sacked Keith Price four times, hit him an additional dozen times and romped easily to victory in the Huskies’ first trip to the Southeastern Conference since 1983. LSU outgained Washington 437 yards to 170 and held Price to 157 passing yards with one interception.
UW 52, Portland State 13 (Sept. 15): Price threw three touchdown passes in the first 23 minutes, Bishop Sankey ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns, Shaq Thompson blocked a field goal that Tre Watson returned 79 yards for a touchdown, and the Huskies massacred the Vikings at CenturyLink Field. It marked the Huskies’ biggest win since a 53-3 win over Idaho in 2001.
UW 17, Stanford 13 (Sept. 27): Price threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Kasen Williams late in the fourth quarter and Desmond Trufant made a game-sealing interception as Washington shocked No. 8 Stanford at CenturyLink Field. One year after UW lost to Stanford by 44 points and a week after the Cardinal defeated national title contender USC, Washington used a stifling defense to upset Stanford, holding the Cardinal to just 235 yards and no offensive touchdowns. Sankey ran for 144 yards and scored on a 61-yard run on the last play of the third quarter, sparking Washington’s stagnant offense.
Oregon 52, UW 21 (Oct. 6): Oregon freshman Marcus Mariota passed for four touchdowns and the No. 2 Ducks recorded their ninth consecutive victory over UW in Eugene. The 23-ranked Huskies aided the Oregon cause with a series of mistakes, including three personal fouls. Price completed 19 of 31 for 145 yards and two interceptions. Sankey scored on a pair of short runs and Eric Wilson added a TD with 32 seconds to play.
USC 24, UW 14 (Oct. 13): Anthony Brown blocked a punt and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown, Jawanza Starling forced a key fourth-quarter fumble, and No. 11 USC used big plays from its defense and special teams to overcome an inconsistent offense. The Huskies held Trojans (5-1, 3-1 Pac-12) scoreless in the second half but got help from a defense that sacked Price five times and forced four turnovers to give USC its third straight win. The Huskies points were on a 17-yard TD pass from Price to Williams and a two-yard pass from Price to Seferian-Jenkins.
Arizona 52, UW 17 (Oct. 20): Matt Scott threw for 256 yards and four touchdowns, Ka’Deem Carey ran for 172 yards and Arizona raced out of its bye week with a rout. The Wildcats had their way with Washington’s defense from the opening drive, eclipsing 500 total yards (533) for the sixth time this season. Washington (3-4, 1-3) had no chance against Arizona’s fast-paced offense. Price had another so-so game in the Huskies’ third straight loss. Price matched Scott with 256 yards passing, but his line didn’t look quite as good, needing 52 attempts to get there, and with two interceptions to offset his one touchdown.
UW 20, Oregon State 17 (Oct. 27): The Huskies stemmed a season spiraling downward and ended No. 7 Oregon State’s shot at the first 7-0 start in school history at CenturyLink Field. Sankey ran for 92 yards and two touchdowns, Travis Coons kicked a 30-yard field goal with 1:20 left and Washington took advantage of four interceptions from Oregon State’s Sean Mannion. OSU became the second AP Top 10 team to be upset by the Huskies at home this season. Washington knocked off then-No. 8 Stanford 17-13 in late September. Price, who committed 10 turnovers in the previous three games, started Washington’s decisive drive hitting Seferian-Jenkins for 20 yards, just his third catch of the night. On third-and-7, Williams made a juggling catch along the sideline for 19 yards and an additional 15 yards was tacked on for a personal foul against Oregon State to move the ball to the Beavers’ 18 to set up Coons’ game-winner.
UW 21, California 13 (Nov. 2): Bishop Sankey ran for 189 yards and two touchdowns and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins caught eight passes for 152 yards and a touchdown, which snapped the Huskies’ six-game road losing streak. The UW won despite four turnovers and 12 penalties for 108 yards.
UW 34, Utah 15 (Nov. 10): Price finally broke out, throwing for two touchdowns and running for another. Washington became the last BCS conference team to top 21 points against an FBS opponent when Sankey scored on a two-yard toss sweep late in the third quarter for a 27-15 lead. Sankey finished with 162 yards on 36 carries and became the 11th 1,000-yard rusher in Washington history. Price threw touchdowns to Williams and DiAndre Campbell and ran for a four-yard TD, his first rushing touchdown this season.
UW 38, Colorado 3 (Nov. 17): Price tied a school record by throwing five touchdown passes to five different receivers as the Huskies improved to 7-4. The Huskies also got a 139-yard rushing performance from Sankey while holding the Buffaloes to just 141 offensive yards.