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Apple Cup Instant Reactions: Huskies Contain the Air Raid Yet Again

The Washington defense lead the way forcing three turnovers.

NCAA Football: Washington State at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

For the seventh year in a row, the Huskies passed the Air Raid test with flying colors. After a shaky start, the Huskies owned the second quarter and didn’t let up in the second half, winning the Apple Cup 31-13.

Washington State started with the ball and drove right down the field in a 13 play, 81 yard drive ending in a touchdown. For five minutes and fifty three seconds, it looked like WSU might have finally cracked the Jimmy Lake defensive code.

Things got a little more nerve wracking when Washington responded with an ugly three-and-out where Jacob Eason got hit on each play, including a sack on 1st down. The Husky D tightened up and forced a punt getting the ball back at their own 29 yard line. A few plays later, including a 57 yard bomb to Terrell Bynum, Washington was knocking on the door to the end zone. Jacob Eason snuck it in a couple plays later to make it 7-7.

Washington State nearly answered right back with another long drive - this time 16 plays. But the Huskies kept forcing short passes, swarming to the ball, and wrapping up. After a WSU field goal Washington put together a 10 play drive capped up with a Terrell Bynum touchdown. He got a lot of looks throughout the game and made a nice adjustment to get under the ball. Then the Husky defense really came alive, sacking Anthony Gordon twice. Another UW touchdown and it was 21-10. From that point on Washington State managed just 3 more points.

The second half was more of the same. The defense had an answer for everything Washington State threw at them, and the offense was able to score enough to keep the game out of reach. An unfortunate Aaron Fuller fumble almost allowed WSU back in it but Trent McDuffie caused a fumble of his own when the Cougars were in the red zone. Washington only managed a field goal from then on, but it didn’t matter. The more desperate Washington State got in pushing the ball downfield, the worse things got. Anthony Gordon ultimately passed for 300 yards, but couldn’t get it into the end zone and had two costly interceptions.

Instant Reaction Dots

  • This Apple Cup felt eerily similar to the past six in how it played out. The defense with this staff have the players, strategy, and execution down to a science when it comes to Mike Leach’s Air Raid. They sacked Anthony Gordon 5 times and kept everything in front of them.
  • The run game had surprisingly little success against a porous WSU defense. They mustered just 98 yards on 29 carries. There is certainly room for improvement, but Richard Newton did punch it in twice for TDs and Ahmed had more than a couple first down runs. Though, 16 carries for Ahmed still feels like too few.
  • The tight ends as always were heavily featured. Hunter Bryant was the team leader with 6 catches for 96 yards, while Otton had 3 for 46. Included were a 4th and 5 conversion and a 25 yard run after catch on a nifty screen play.
  • Myles Bryant should have had a scoop and score on the fumble caused by Trent McDuffie. The WSU player fumbled and it almost looked like he regained possession on the way to the ground, causing the refs to blow the play dead.
  • The Huskies held the Cougars without a passing touchdown for the first time this season.
  • Aaron Fuller got the full “Gabe Marks treatment” on his fumble. He was bent over backwards in an awkward position with his foot pinned and he coughed it up. The play probably could have been called dead since his momentum was stopped and he was covered in defenders.
  • Jacob Eason had maybe 1 bad throw but was overall very sharp. Considering the offensive line’s protection issues early, he hung in there and finished 15/22 for 244 yards and a TD. That’s 11.1 yards per attempt. He was efficient, explosive, and as effortless as always.
  • Terrell Bynum keeps getting more and more involved, and for good reason. He was the big play guy today with 3 catches for 77 yards. His 57 yarder opened the door for Washington’s first touchdown and then he caught another later, making a beautiful adjustment to get underneath it in the end zone.
  • Joe Tryon looks like a gladiator out there. He was unblock-able for stretches of the game and had two sacks that killed WSU drives.
  • Elijah Molden was everywhere today, making tackle after tackle in the flat, and fighting through blocks on screens. He had 12 solo tackles and a tackle for loss.
  • Trent McDuffie is going to be Washington’s next first team All Pac-12 player at DB. He covers well, tackles securely, and forces turnovers. He’s been doing it all year and the Apple Cup was no different for the true freshman.
  • What to say about Eddie Ulofoshio? He got his shot to play and he’s repaid the coaching staff by beginning to stabilize the inside linebacker unit. He had 7 solo tackles and 2 tackles for a loss, as he keeps looking more comfortable out there.
  • After Eason’s QB sneak for the first Husky TD, he showed some serious fire and energy. Washington would score touchdowns on their next two drives, which included some gorgeous Eason passes.
  • Nick Harris, you will be missed: