SEATTLE – Heading into the 2019 season, the annual Apple Cup showdown between Washington and Washington State was expected to have major Pac-12 North title implications. But Friday afternoon's 112th meeting in Seattle find the Huskies and Cougars in a three-way tie for third place in the North along with Cal with disappointing 3-5 conference marks.
TV: 4 p.m. ET, Fox. LINE: Washington -7
That makes winning the in-state rivalry and picking up the bragging rights that come with it even more important for the two schools this season although Washington head coach Chris Petersen tried to low key things during his press conference this week. "I always tell you this: Washington State's not more important than Colorado," Petersen said. "It's like one game at a time. That's all how I think. Then you go and play the next game. And is it fun that there's more energy and those type of things coming into the stadium? That's fun on game day. But it's got to be all done with the preparation. So my mentality is one game at a time." That philosophy has worked well for Petersen and the Huskies who have won 16 of the last 21 meetings, including six in a row.
ABOUT WASHINGTON STATE (6-5, 3-5 Pac-12)
The Cougars comes in off a pair of high-scoring home victories over Stanford (49-22) and Oregon State (54-53), winning the latter on a two-yard run by Max Borghi with two seconds remaining. Quarterback Anthony Gordon, who led the team on a 10-play, 58-yard drive to pull out that win, completed 50-of-70 passes for 606 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions and leads an Air Raid passing attack that tops the nation in passing (456.7), is fifth in total offense (533.0) and ninth in scoring (41.5). Gordon leads the nation in passing yards (4,920), passing yards per game (446.3) and touchdown passes (45) while Borghi ranks second in Pac-12 with 14 total touchdowns and leads the conference with an average of 6.7 yards per rushing attempt.
ABOUT WASHINGTON (6-5, 3-5)
The Huskies stumble in off a 20-14 loss at Colorado and have lost three of their last four games. Junior quarterback Jacob Eason, a former USA Today Offensive Player of the Year and considered a potential first round NFL Draft pick, has completed 223-of-351 passes for 2,678 yards, 21 touchdowns and eight interceptions but has thrown more interceptions (three) than TDs (one) over his last two games. Junior Salvon Ahmed has rushed for 915 yards on 166 carries and scored nine TDs to lead the ground game while the defense, which has allowed just one scrimmage play of 40 or more yards this season, features one of the Pac-12′s top secondaries led by senior free safety Myles Bryant who leads the team with 61 tackles while outside linebacker Joe Tryon paces the squad with six sacks.
1. Washington won last year's meeting, 28-15, in the snow in Pullman and is 41-15-5 against the Cougars in games played in Seattle.
2. Borghi leads all running backs nationally with 69 receptions and has also rushed for 100 yards in a game four times.
3. Washington State LB Jahad Woods is 10th in the nation with 111 tackles and has had seven games with 10 or more tackles.
PREDICTION: Washington 34, Washington State 28