WSU seeks to defend Apple Cup

Storied rivalry as strong as ever



Quarterback Gardner Minshew II gets tackled by Washington sophomore defensive lineman Levi Onwuzurike during the Apple Cup on Nov. 23 at Martin Stadium.

TREVOR JUNT, Evergreen deputy sports editor

The history of the Apple Cup is not on WSU’s side. In the past ten years, University of Washington has beaten WSU eight times. WSU only came on top in 2012 and last year in 2021.

UW is having an incredible season so far, they are 8-2 and are currently ranked no. 15 in the nation, according to the AP Poll.

The UW quarterback Michael Penix Jr. looks like one of the best quarterbacks in the nation. He is leading all of college football in passing yards with 3,640 yards. Penix is ranked 10th in the country with 25 passing touchdowns.

UW is coming off its strongest win of this season after beating then-ranked No. 6 Oregon. In a tightly contested game, they were able to rally in the fourth quarter and score 10 points in the last three minutes.

They have three players with over 500 yards receiving and seven with over 200 yards. Their leading receiver is Rome Odunze with 63 receptions with 914 yards and six touchdowns. The second is Jalen McMillan with 57 receptions for 792 for six touchdowns.

WSU is under-ranked for their record, each of their losses has come from teams that are currently ranked in the Top 25 AP Poll. Each loss to Oregon, USC, Utah and Oregon State.

They are currently sitting at 6-4 and have one of the best defenses in the Pac-12.

Linebacker Daiyan Henley is one of the best linebackers in the country, he has 95 total tackles this season. He is second place on the team, Jaden Hicks, by 33 tackles. Henley is second on the team in sacks with four and is second in the team in interceptions with one pick.

WSU head coach Jake Dickert spoke on the importance and Henley and how well he has been playing all season.

“Daiyan’s growing daily, you know, and the challenges of each week and the preparation and what it takes, and he’s working to be a professional. I think those things are really important but man, what a playmaker he’s been,” Dickert said. “I think that’s his best trait. When he’s out there he’s confident and has his eyes right. I don’t think there’s many better in the whole country.”

This competition will be a very good offense in UW against a very good defense in WSU. UW is averaging over 38 points scored per game and WSU is limiting opposing teams to under 20.

Dickert credited UW for having one of the top ten passing games in the country. He said it will be tough competition and that the team will have to limit big explosive plays.

The WSU offense will also have to keep up with UW and score more than they have. They are averaging around 27 points per game.

Cam Ward will need to play better and limit the number of turnovers against this tough team. He will have to throw for more touchdowns and step up the offensive output. The run game has been on a roll lately, especially Nakia Watson who has rushed for well over 100 yards in his last two games. The run game will need to be relevant for WSU to compete.

Currently, UW is 3.5-point favorites against WSU, and ESPN gives each team around a 50% chance to win the game.

The Cougars will play the Huskies at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Martin Stadium. The game will be broadcast by ESPN.