Washington State wide running back Max Borghi during a game against Arizona on Nov. 19 in Pullman. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Washington State wide running back Max Borghi during a game against Arizona on Nov. 19 in Pullman. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

WSU looks to snap Apple Cup losing streak vs. Washington

The bowl-eligible Cougars haven’t beat the Huskies since 2012. Both teams are led by interim coaches.

By Tim Booth / Associated Press

SEATTLE — The third week of October is when it could have all fallen apart at Washington State. There were easy built-in reasons and explanations if the Cougars had crumbled at that point of the season.

Instead, their resolve became their strength. The Cougars were not going to let the situation surrounding former head coach Nick Rolovich be the definition of their season.

Because of that resiliency, Washington State finds itself still with a chance at winning the Pac-12 North Division going into Friday’s Apple Cup showdown with Washington. The Cougars are already bowl eligible and will play in a bowl game for the sixth straight season, not counting the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season.

But if the Cougars can snap a seven-game losing streak to Washington and Oregon State beats Oregon on Saturday, Washington State (6-5, 5-3 Pac-12) would be the North Division representative in the Pac-12 championship game opposite Utah.

Ultimately that scenario becoming reality begins with the Cougars taking care of their own business against the Huskies. But even the possibility is unexpected considering where the Cougars were at barely a month ago.

“We understand the position we’re in and what we can do,” Washington State linebacker Justus Rogers said. “But we just got to focus on this week and then let the chips fall where they may as far as that goes.”

Interim head coach Jake Dickert has put himself in position for the permanent job with the Cougars after stabilizing the program following Rolovich’s dismissal for refusing to follow the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Washington State has gone 2-2 since Rolovich’s firing and last week’s 44-18 rout of Arizona ensured bowl eligibility. Now comes trying to end the long skid to the Huskies. Their previous win over Washington was 2012. Their most recent win at Husky Stadium: 2007.

“I think you can put unneeded pressure on understanding the pressures of the past or what’s happened in the past,” Dickert said. “This is our moment, the ‘21 team. We’re trying to be 1-0.”

Washington (4-7, 3-5) won’t be going to a bowl game, ensured of its first losing season since 2009 after a dramatic freefall. Washington started the season ranked No. 20 in The AP 25 preseason poll and will end with the school in the midst of its own coaching search.

Bob Gregory will lead the Huskies for a third game as interim coach following the suspension and subsequent firing of Jimmy Lake. While Washington has played hard in losses to Arizona State and Colorado, there were numerous mistakes in both games that ended the Huskies hopes of a postseason trip.

“These guys are playing hard, made mistakes, but they’re playing hard,” Gregory said. “Can’t ask these guys to play harder than what they have.”

HELLO AGAIN

Last year was the first time since 1944 that the schools didn’t play. Issues with COVID-19 cases within the Cougars program led to the game being cancelled. Because of the cancellation and the coaching moves this season, neither Rolovich nor Lake — both hired before the start of the 2020 season — ever served as a head coach in the Apple Cup.

BORGHI BALL

Washington State running back Max Borghi had a memorable final home game for the Cougars last week. Borghi rushed for a career-high 139 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Arizona. The combo of Borghi and Deon McIntosh would seem to have chances for a big game against the Huskies. Washington ranks 109th in the country in giving up 192.2 yards per game on the ground.

QB QUESTION

It’s been a tough second season as the starting quarterback for Washington’s Dylan Morris. There’s been a clear regression from what Morris showed during the shortened 2020 season and a running list of mistakes that have cost the Huskies in several games.

With Morris struggling and bowl eligibility no longer possible, the Huskies are expected to have highly touted freshman Sam Huard on the field against the Cougars. Huard has seen limited snaps in three previous games this season.

FAMILIAR NAME

The Hobert name is quite familiar to fans of the Apple Cup, but has a different twist now. Joey Hobert is a sophomore wide receiver for the Cougars and last week had two blocked punts against Arizona, one of which went for a safety. He’s the son of Billy Joe Hobert, who played at Washington for three seasons and was the starting quarterback for the 1991 co-national championship team.

“Apple Cup obviously has been a huge part of my life from the other side, but I’m glad that I’m with the Cougs this time,” Joey Hobert said.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Everett Silvertips players huddle together during a game against Kamloops on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett. (Kristin Ostrowski/Everett Silvertips)
Patterson: Tips appear to be legit contenders in top-heavy WHL

Everett proved itself in a tight 3-2 loss to Kamloops, but a few moves could help shore things up.

FILE - Toronto Blue Jays' Robbie Ray pitches to the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Ray won the AL Cy Young Award on Wednesday, Nov. 17, bouncing back from taking a rare pay cut after a dismal season to capture pitching’s top prize. Ray became the first Toronto pitcher to earn the honor since the late Roy Halladay in 2003.  (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)
Source: Mariners, AL Cy Young winner Ray agree to 5-year deal

The left-handed starter’s contract is expected to be worth $115 million.

Kalen DeBoer watches Fresno State play Connecticut during a game in Fresno, Calif. on Aug. 28, 2021. Washington is in talks with Fresno State’s Kalen DeBoer to be its next head coach, two people familiar with the discussions between the Bulldogs’ coach and the Pac-12 school told Associated Press on Monday. (AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian)
Sources: UW football in talks with Fresno St. coach DeBoer

The Huskies are said to be targeting the 47-year-old as their next head coach.

Lake Stevens' Drew Carter holds up the ball after scoring a touchdown to secure the win as Lake Stevens beat Eastlake 45-28 in a 4A state semi-final football game at Pop Keeney Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 in Bothell, Washington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Lake Stevens downs Eastlake to reach 4A state title game

The Vikings win 45-28 and will face Graham-Kapowsin for the state championship next weekend.

Marysville-Pilchuck's Brayden Rogers, left, and Dylan Carson take comfort after loosing to Bellevue High Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium in Seattle on November 27, 2021. The Tomahawks fell to the Wolverines 27-3 ending their playoff run. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Marysville Pilchuck’s state run ends with loss to Bellevue

The Wolverines hold the high-powered Tomahawks in check and pull away in the second half for a 27-3 win in the 3A semifinals.

Padres second baseman Adam Frazier field the ball during a baseball game against the Giants on Sept. 16, 2021, in San Francisco. The Mariners acquired the All-Star second baseman from the Padres in exchange for two minor-leaguers on Saturday. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Mariners acquire All-Star 2B Frazier from Padres

Seattle sends a pair of minor-leaguers to San Diego in exchange for the soon-to-be 30 year old.

Silvertips forward Alex Swetlikoff (90) battles for the loose puck during a game against Kamloops on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett. (Kristin Ostrowski / Everett Silvertips)
Blazers hand Silvertips 1st regulation loss of season

Kamloops earns a 3-2 win in a battle of Western Conference powers at Angel of the Winds Arena.

Eastern Washington wide receiver Efton Chism III, a Monroe High School graduate. (Photo provided by Eastern Washington University)
Former local standouts hope to lead Eastern to national title

With Efton Chism III, Josh Jerome and Anthany Smith helping lead the way, the Eagles begin their quest for a crown.

Washington State running back Max Borghi (21) evades a tackle attempt from Washington tight end Carson Smith (42) as he runs for a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Cougars end Apple Cup skid, clobber rival Huskies

Washington State snaps a seven-game losing streak to Washington with a record-setting 40-13 win.

Most Read