Sour Apples; Cougs Fall to UW

Jake Brown threw for 292 yards and 3 touchdowns, and the Husky running game added 168 yards as the Huskies use a huge first quarter to dominate their 3rd straight Apple Cup 42-17 in Pullman.

In possible the biggest Apple Cup in history, the stage was set for the #5 rank Huskies and #23 Ranked Cougars to battle in a classic for the right to go to the Pac-12 Championship.  This Apple Cup was everything but that, the Cougs came in like a team who had nothing to play for and just looked over matched both offensively and defensively.

In the Huskies opening drive the game, quarterback Jake Browning drove the huskies 76 yards sparked by a 50 yard pass from receiver Dante Pettis to Darrell Daniels and Myles Gaskin punched to in from two yards out to give Washington the early 7-0 lead. On the Cougs first possession, Jamal Morrow fumbled the ball and the Huskies had the ball Cougar territory.  A few plays later, Browning found Pettis from 18 yards out to put the Dawgs up 2 touchdowns.  On the following Husky drive, Browning found Pettis in single coverage and the corner Darrien Molton fell down and Pettis strolled into the end zone for the 60 yard touchdown.  Browning then found John Ross from 6 yards out on the next drive to put the Huskies up 28-3 after the first quarter.

It sprinkled in the first and second quarter, and for some reason, the past two seasons this team just has trouble getting anything going offensively in the rain.  The way this Husky offense came out of the gate early, the Cougar offense needed to match scores, but they just couldn’t get the flow like they have the majority of the season.  On the Huskies first put of the game, Jamal Morrow returned the punt 64 Yards to the Cougar 6 and the Cougs were in business.  Wazzu ran on 4 straight plays, and on 4th and goal from the 1 yard line, Gerard wick was stopped, and the Cougs came up empty.  Following a John Ross fumble, Jamal Morrow punched it in from a yard out to give the Cougs some life.  As it seemed to go all game, the Huskies had an answer for everything that the Cougars brought.  Browning marched the Huskies right down the field in just under 2 minutes, ending in a Lavon Coleman 22 yard touchdown run.

In the last minute of the half, the Cougs were trying to score on consecutive drive, but Falk’s Pass in the end zone on 2nd down was intercepted, and the Huskies led 35-10 at half time.  The Cougs came out of the half with hopes of getting back in the ball game.  Their opening drive of the half marched the ball down in just over 6 minutes and Falk connected with Gabe Marks from 9 yards out, to give WSU some life.  Following a Husky punt, the Cougs had a chance to really put this game in reach, but on 4th and goal from 1, Gerard Wick was stuffed.  That was the last Cougs gasp to try and get back in the game, but the UW defense was just too tough on this day.

Coach Leach, Gabe Marks, and Luke Falk and said that their execution wasn’t where it needed to be.  This is the Cougs 7th Apple Cup loss in the last 8 years.  The game that is usually competitive, just hasn’t been the last 3 years, and with some of the best Cougar teams in history.  The Cougs right now are looking at the Vegas Bowl, KRAFT Fight Hunger Bowl, and a repeat trip to the Sun Bowl.  This Will be the Gabe Marks and possible Luke Falk’s final game; so next year’s Cougar team will have a different look to it.  Something to take away from this game would have to be the defense.  The defense just doesn’t seem to be able to stop top 25 teams and look weaker.  It will be good to get a gauge on how they are going to fix this problem and who they have coming in later this winter.


Buffs Trip Cougs, Apple Cup Looms

The Colorado Buffaloes used a quarterback/running back combination to rush for 250 yards and power through the Cougs in Boulder 38-24.  In the first ranked matchup the Cougs have had since early October, they were looking to make a statement and come away from the high altitude with their biggest win of the season over the tenth rank buffaloes.

On the first drive of the game for the Buffaloes, quarterback Sefo Liufau drove the Buffs down the field in 10 plays giving the ball to the back Philli Lindsay in the last 3 plays to gather up 34 yards as Colorado took the early 7-0 lead.  The Cougs answered back the following drive when Falk found Robert Lewis from 15 yards out to tie the game at 7.  The next drive for WSU, Falk threw a nice ball over the shoulder of Jamal Morrow and he took it in for the 46 yard touchdown completion to put the Cougs up seven at the end of the 1st.

Just when the Cougs looked like they had found their stride, the Buff defense tightened up. Colorado tied up the game early in the second on a quarterback keeper from Sefo Liufau.  The Cougs took a 17-14 lead into the locker room.  The Cougs seemed to be just be a little off this game.  Luke Falk finished under fifty percent passing for the first time in his college career, and they just didn’t seem to have control of the game like they did for most of the year.  The Pac-12 all time leader in catches, Gabe marks dropped an easy touchdown in the first half, and also misread a fade pass for another touchdown which could have had something to do with the thin air.  “I didn’t think we consistently did our job on offense, defense, either one,” Coach Mike Leach said following the game. “There were some key downs that they rose to better than we did.”

In the second half, the Buffaloes took control and put together long drives, and controlled most of it on the ground.  They took the lead on their first drive of the second half when Liufau rushed the ball for 16 yards and 7 yards respectively to put the Buffaloes up 21-17.  The Buffaloes cruised from there, with no punts in the 2nd half and the thin air of Colorado appeared to tire both the offense and defense of WSU out.   Midway through the 4th Philli Lindsay had a 13 yard rush that put the Buffaloes up 38-24 and put the game out of reach for the Cougs.  “I think we definitely missed some opportunities early on,” Luke Falk said after the game.  “We gotta look at the film tomorrow, and move on.” 

In the grand scheme of things, the loss doesn’t hurt the Cougs, because they have the chance to win the Pac-12 north and play for the Pac-12 championship with a win against the Huskies on Friday in the Apple Cup.  It seemed to me that the Cougs may have been looking ahead to the Apple Cup and if they play the Buffs in the Pac-12 championship in Palo Alto, the game will go better for the Cougs.


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