clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The good, the bad & the unknown: Apple Cup

The Huskies put an exclamation mark on the season by destroying Washington State in the Apple Cup.

Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

The Good

Defensive scoring explosion - The only thing the dominating Husky defense hadn't really been able to do this season was create turnovers and take turnovers back for scores. That changed in a big way Saturday as the Husky defense took three Cougar turnovers back for scores.

Sidney Jones & Kevin King - The Husky corners made life a living hell for Washington State's Gabe Marks and Dom Williams. They ended up with some catches, yards, and a touchdown, but they finished far below the level of what they have usually produced this year and that was on 58 pass attempts. Jones' pick six also essentially sealed the game and King also made two tackles-for-loss and caused and recovered a fumble.

Pass rush - The Huskies didn't get a ton of sacks, but they affected Peyton Bender all game and regularly just about got to him. Cory Littleton only finished with one sack, but he was in the Cougar backfield all day.

Turnovers - As I said earlier, the only thing the Husky defense was really lacking were turnovers, but that was not the case. They caused seven turnovers and probably should have gotten a couple more they lost due to dropped picks and a weird fumble overturn.

Coffin nailing - The Huskies bucked the yearly Apple Cup trend of letting the Cougars back into the game after getting them down with a nasty 84-yard drive that ended at the start of the fourth quarter with a Myles Gaskin touchdown. The Huskies not only put seven points on the board to push it back out to a 21-point difference,  they gassed and demoralized the Cougar defense and put a lot of pressure on the Cougar offense.

Myles Gaskin - Gaskin put up 138 tough, tough yards and scored two touchdowns for another very nice game. He wasn't prolific and broke just one longer run, but he was powerfully consistent and wore down the Cougar defense as the game went on by grinding out every yard available on seemingly every run.

Jake Browning - Outside of one bad interception, Browning was damn near perfect again. He did exactly what he needed to, threw some really nice balls and made great plays with his feet all game.

Bowl game - The Huskies are going to a bowl game and as a true bowl-eligible team.

Chris Petersen & staff - I have been pretty right down the middle on Petersen and his staff, but I am fully on board now. I thought the Huskies would probably win four or five games this year and it would be fine because they were a very young team in a very tough conference/division, but Petersen exceeded my expectations and ended on a high note.

The future - This team has a endless ceiling. This is as excited about the future of the program as I have been since the early-2000s.

The Bad

Missed field goals - Van Winkle has been pretty good all year, so it was surprising when he missed a fairly easy kick that could have iced the game and then Vizcaino missed another relatively short one as well.

Pass protection - The pass protection regularly broke down and got a lot of help from some mobility by Browning.

Browning interception - Browning's only mistake of the game was a big one that opened the door back up for the Cougars. His interception was particularly painful as it was at a point where even keeping field position and getting a field goal seemed like it could have been enough to really put the Cougars in a hole.

The Unknown

Washington State? The Cougars were obviously missing their starting quarterback, whom I think they get back for a bowl game they should win to cap a huge, huge season for them. That's seems certain, but I am very hazy about their future. Will the Cougars be able to string this year's success into a consistent improvement under Mike Leach, or will this end up being more like their one-off 2013 bowl run?

Bowl game? It seems like the Huskies could end up in five different  places at this point.

Pete Kwiatkowski? Kwiatkowski just looked over a defense that was the best in the Pac-12 despite losing four players in the first 40 picks of the draft and some other key players. Will other schools reach out for elite coordinator positions or even head coaching jobs?

Transfers? It's inevitable in this day and age that the Huskies will lose some players to transfers soon. Who will those players be?

Next year's expectations? The Huskies made it to a bowl with one of the youngest teams in the nation. They will still be very young, but much more experienced and ultra-talented in 2016. What are early expectations?

2016 Pac-12? The Pac-12 looks very wide open in 2016? Stanford, Oregon, and Cal lose a lot in the North and every team in the South has a ton of questions. What will the landscape for the conference be in 2016?