The Cougars have not dropped four consecutive games to the Washington Huskies since they lost six in a row from 1998-03. WSU won two in a more from Washington in 2007-08.
GAME: Washington (7-4 overall, 5-2 Pac-12) at Washington State (2-9 overall, 0-8 Pac-12 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 national. RADIO: KJR-950 AM, IMG College Sports Network.
Where WSU head coach Mike Leach is concerned, one never knows. Leach said earlier this week that senior Jeff Tuel “will probably” start when the Cougars and Huskies engage. At this point in WSU’s season — the last game — Tuel’s assignment doesn’t mean much. He’s started several recent games, but hasn’t finished any of them.
Tuel has either struggled and been replaced by Connor Halliday, or has suffered an injury, or both. But since it’s Tuel’s last game in a Washington State uniform, Leach will go with him. Maybe.
“You try to get onto the guy that’s hot, but that’s been tough to identify,” Leach said. “They’ve both been good, but inconsistent. With Connor, one of his best qualities is that he tries to make a lot happen. One of his worst qualities is that he tries to make a lot happen.”
Of equal significance to the Cougars is that they will be without the services of linebacker Travis Long (9.5 sacks), who apparently suffered a serious knee injury last week at Arizona State. WSU doesn’t comment on injuries, so the extent of Long’s injury probably won’t be known publicly until kickoff.
Oddsmakers have installed Washington as a 11½-point favorite to beat Washington State for the fourth consecutive season, The spread would be larger if records against common opponents were the only consideration.
UW and WSU faced six common foes: Colorado, Oregon, Oregon State, California, Stanford and Utah. Washington State went 0-6 and was outscored a combined 209-106. Washington went 5-1 by a combined 182-82. The most similar of the six scores involved Oregon, which defeated Washington 52-21 and Washington State 51-26.
While Washington State has lost four games by three or more touchdowns, including a 43-point setback to Utah, which Washington defeated by 19 points (34-15), two WSU games have to give the Huskies pause.
On Oct. 27, Washington State came within one drive of upsetting nationally ranked Stanford in Palo Alto, losing 24-17. Three weeks ago, the Cougars spotted nationally ranked UCLA a 30-point lead and roared back, losing 44-36. After the UCLA game, Bruins coach Jim Mora said, “Washington State is a lot better than its record. The Cougars played their butts off.”
Leach said he expects no less an effort in the Apple Cup and hopes to use it as a springboard into a successful off-season.
“We don’t need to add to the motivational level for this game,” said Leach. “We already have the motivation. We just have to worry about focusing on our effort and our work and development and just worry about what we can do.”
Leach will be coaching in his first Apple Cup, but is well aware of the rivalry.
“I’ve seen it on TV for years,” Leach said. “It’s quite an impressive rivalry. It’s just been such an enjoyable experience over the years for the people involved. I’m really looking forward to being involved. If we win, it will be a good way to ignite the offseason.”
Leach has never coached a game against Washington, or in a game against Washington’s Steve Sarkisian, a fellow BYU alum.
“I don’t know him really well,” Leach said of Sarkisian. “We both went to BYU, but at different times. I don’t know him real well, but what I know of him, I like.”
SERIES: Dates to Nov. 30, 1900, when the teams played to a 5-5 tie at Denny Field in Seattle. Washington has won the past three after Washington State won in 2007-08. Last season, 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.
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.
WSU STATS / NOTES
COUGARS OFFENSIVE LEADERS
COUGARS DEFENSIVE LEADERS
|Tackles||Bucannon 95, Monroe 73, Long 61|
|Sacks||Long 9.5, Monroe 3.0, Coen 3.0, Cooper 3.0|
|Interceptions||Bucannon 4, Coen 3, 4 tied with 1|
|Passes Defensed||Long 4, Coen 4, Simmons 4|
|Forced Fumbles||Monroe 2, Palacio 2|
|Fumbles Recovered||Monroe, Locker, Coen, Byers, Gauta, 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 NOTES: Washington defeated San Diego State (21-12), Portland State (52-13), Stanford (17-13), Oregon State (20-17), California (21-13), Utah (35-14) and Colorado (38-3) and lost to LSU (41-3), Oregon (52-21), Arizona (52-17) and USC (24-14) . . . The Huskies rank 9th in the Pac-12 in scoring offense (23.5), 5th in scoring defense (23.2), 10th in total offense (354.7), 4th in total defense (351.8), 8th in rushing offense (142.8), 10th in rushing defense (177.5), 8th in pass offense (211.9), 2nd in pass defense (174.3) and 9th in pass efficiency (124.0) . . . RB Bishop Sankey ranks fifth in the conference in rushing yards per game at 104.5 with 13 TDs . . . Keith Price is 8th in the league in passing yards per game (208.4), 7th in pass efficiency (124.0) and 7th in total offense (205.4) . . . TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins is 7th in the league in pass receiving yards per game at 68.5 and leads the nation’s tight ends with 58 catches.
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.
Washington State 2012 Schedule/Results
|Date||Opponent||WSU Rnk||Opp Rnk||W/L||Score||Rec.|
|9/8/12||vs. E. Wash||—||—||W||24-20||1-1|