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

Kenai Sinaphet takes the hand off from head coach, Dalton Schwetz, during practice Wednesday afternoon at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Washington on August 17, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
‘Fresh start’ for Marysville Pilchuck under new coach Schwetz

The Tomahawks begin practice without longtime coach Brandon Carson, who stepped down following last year’s playoff run.

Stanwood's Ryder Bumgarner rushes with yardage with Arlington's Trenton Lamie, left, closing in the third quarter Friday night at Stanwood High School on September 24, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Prep football: 5 storylines to watch this season

A look at some intriguing questions as local high school football practices get underway.

The Central Welding Supply 125, which serves as the season finale at Evergreen Speedway, will attempt to run on Saturday, after being bumped postponed last weekend due to weather.
Community roundup: ARCA West comes to Evergreen Speedway

Plus, a host of local collegians earn preseason honors, Jake Luton gets released by the Jaguars and more.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
AquaSox fall to Canadians in slugfest

Everett loses 12-8 as the two teams combine for 30 hits.

Seattle Mariners' Cal Raleigh celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run against the Los Angeles Angels during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
Raleigh homers twice, Mariners top Angels to complete sweep

Seattle hits four total home runs in an 11-7 win over Los Angeles.

Seattle Storm head coach Noelle Quinn directs her team during the first half of a WNBA basketball game against the Las Vegas Aces, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Sam Morris)
Can 2nd-year coach Quinn lead Storm to 5th WNBA title?

Seattle’s postseason gets underway at home against Washington on Thursday night.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Drew Lock (2) walks the sideline during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)
Carroll laments lost chance for Lock, Seahawks due to COVID

The QB will miss an opportunity to start Thursday’s preseason game after getting the virus for the second time.

People explore Everett Memorial Stadium’s new turf and track during an open house event Monday, Aug. 15, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett Memorial Stadium reopens with new-look field, track

The facility, which originally opened in 1947, underwent renovations this summer.

Angel of the Winds Arena stands ready and waiting Friday afternoon for Kraken fans to arrive for the preseason game against the Edmondton Oilers. (Jake Goldstein-Street / The Herald)
Kraken’s new AHL affiliate set to play game in Everett

The Coachella Valley Firebirds take the ice at Angel of the Winds Arena on Oct. 28.

Most Read