Nov.24 – There aren’t many football teams that have played each other more than the Washington State Cougars and Washington Huskies.
Earlier this season, we looked at some of the numbers in WSU’s Battle of the Palouse vs. Idaho rivalry. Now it’s time to do the same with the Cougars’ biggest rival by far.
WSU (7-4, 4-4 Pac-12) hosts No. 12 Washington (9-2, 6-2) in the Apple Cup at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (ESPN) at Gesa Field in Pullman.
“When you talk to former cougs, you don’t remember many points, but you do remember the Apple Cups,” said WSU coach Jake Dickert. “That’s what this group is excited about.”
In suitable rivalry fashion, the first meeting between the two schools was a draw.
Washington Agricultural and UW battled it out to a 5-5 draw in 1900 in a game in Tacoma.
The Cougars got their first win of the series a year later when they defeated Washington 10-0 in the Pullman tournament.
WSU and UW have faced each other 114 times in 122 years.
The Huskies have a huge advantage in the series, 74-33-6.
The teams have drawn six times, but the last was a 0-0 draw in 1942. Fun fact: Four of those six draws occurred in a 10-year span from 1932 to 1942.
history of the series
The rivalry has had several official names and nicknames over the years, including the 1931-61 Governor’s Trophy.
The game was called The Apple Cup in 1963 with the introduction of the Big Apple Trophy and has borne that title ever since.
WSU has never won more than two games in a row, while Washington twice had eight-win streaks in 1959-66 and 1974-81.
WSU went on a seven-game losing streak in the series in last year’s 40-13 win at Husky Stadium.
The Cougars intercepted Washington quarterback Sam Huard four times and WSU running back Max Borghi rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns in the surprise blowout.
Prior to this game, the Huskies had won seven straight games since 2013, all by double digits. The game was not played in 2020 due to the pandemic.
It had become a topic of conversation that former WSU coach Mike Leach would lead the Cougars to great seasons but would consistently lose in the most important game. Leach went 1-7 in Apple Cups, with his only win in his debut season in 2012.
UW quarterback Michael Penix Jr. leads the nation with 351.7 passing yards per game.
The nation’s best passer is likely to surpass 4,000 yards this season as he already has 3,869 to his name.
The Indiana transfer has exceeded expectations in its debut purple and gold season and will be a key focus for the WSU defense.
WSU only allows 19.8 points per game and is the only team in the Pac-12 to allow fewer than 20 points.
WSU’s scoring defense is No. 23 in the country, just ahead of juggernauts like Clemson and LSU.
The number of Ol’ Crimson Flags, former Cougar quarterback Jayden de Laura, planted in center field after WSU’s win last season at Husky Stadium.
Both teams’ coaches are likely to be on high alert for “extracurricular activities” in what could be a crisper than usual game between the two rivals.
According to OddsShark.com, Washington is only a 1.5 point favorite. The over/under is 60.
Wiebe can be contacted at (208) 848-2260, [email protected] or on Twitter @StephanSports.