The Washington football program is set to do something they’ve never done, and that’s play in a Pac-12 Championship Game thanks to a big win over Washington State in the Apple Cup.
In the most meaningful Apple Cup in decades, the No. 5 Washington Huskies (11-1, 8-1 Pac-12) dismantled the rival No. 23 Washington State Cougars (8-4, 7-2 Pac-12) in a de facto semifinal game, placing the winner in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
It was one of the most complete performances against a quality opponent the Huskies had given all season, and a perfect prelude to a game that can lead to Washington’s first conference championship since 2000.
Fans got what they expected on offense. Jake Browning finished the game 21 of 29 for 292 yards and three touchdowns, while he was flanked by leading receiver Dante Pettis (86 yds, 2 TDs) and rusher Lavon Coleman (82 yds, 2 TDs). Of course John Ross made his usual contributions catching the ball and making plays on special teams (marred by one fumble which led to an eventual Wazzu score).
While everyone knows about the potent Washington offense, led by quarterback Browning and Ross, it was the Husky defense that brought their A-game to Pullman. The Huskies held one of the most prolific offenses in the nation to just 334 total yards, and forced seven total turnovers – including three turnovers on downs, with two coming at the goal line.
Every time the Cougars seemed to be breathing life into their offense, Budda Baker and his cohorts found a way to shut them down. This was the defense that should have shown up against USC.
Speaking of the Trojans, this sets up what could possibly be an epic rematch, IF the Colorado Buffaloes were to lose to Utah in their season finale (right now the Buffs are 9-point favorites, per oddsshark.com).
In Chris Petersen‘s third season he’s brought the Huskies back to not only Pac-12 relevance, but also on a national level. Three years ago to imagine that Washington would be one win away from a potential spot in the College Football Playoff seemed unthinkable.
On that note…Dear Texas, LSU, Houston, Notre Dame, Arkansas, Purdue and anyone else who might be looking for a head coach…don’t get any funny ideas. Petersen is quite happy in Seattle.
Comment below and tell us who you’d rather see the Huskies play in the Pac-12 Championship Game: USC or Colorado.