#4 Washington Seeks Perfection; Hosting Rival Wash. St. in Apple Cup
SEATTLE (AP) — No. 4 Washington (11-0, 8-0 Pac-12, No. 4 CFP) vs. Washington State (5-6, 2-6), 4 p.m. ET (FOX)
Line: Washington by 16 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: Washington leads 75-33-6.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The last Apple Cup with both schools as members of the same conference arrives with Washington looking to make history. No Washington team has ever finished the regular season 12-0 and the only other Huskies’ team to finish with that mark won a share of the national title in 1991. In the last year of the Pac-12, Washington can become the first team since 2010 to go unbeaten in conference play and the only team to go unbeaten since the conference expanded to 12 teams. Washington State would like to spoil all of that for its rivals and doing so would get the Cougars bowl eligible for an eighth straight full season.
Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. vs. Washington State’s secondary. Penix is coming off his worst game of the season in miserable conditions at Oregon State. His Heisman Trophy campaign could use one more big stat line and the Cougars could be the victim. Last year in Pullman, Penix threw for 484 yards and had five total touchdowns. The Cougars are 101st nationally giving up 241.7 yards per game through the air, but stifled Colorado last week holding the Buffaloes to 164 yards passing. Washington State has held three straight opponents under 200 yards passing.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Washington State: QB Cameron Ward. If the Cougars are going to hang around, Ward needs to have a big day. It’s been an up-and-down season for Ward. He’s thrown only five interceptions in 437 pass attempts, but finding the end zone hasn’t come easy and sacks have remained a problem. Ward threw for 322 and two touchdowns last year against the Huskies. He’ll need a better performance this time.
Washington: WR Rome Odunze. It’s all but given that Saturday will be Odunze’s last game at Husky Stadium. The star wide receiver is projected to be a first-round pick and looks the part of being NFL ready. He has 66 catches for 1,206 yards and 11 touchdowns, and needs 34 yards receiving to move into second place on Washington’s career list.
FACTS & FIGURES
The schools reached a five-year agreement to continue the rivalry series. The 2024 game will be played at Lumen Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks, before playing the next four games on campus – two in Pullman, two in Seattle. … Washington State won the last game played in Seattle in 2021, a 40-13 romp that was the largest margin of victory by the Cougars in the history of the series. … Washington State edge rusher Brennan Jackson returned two fumbles for touchdowns last week against Colorado. Jackson has 19 career sacks and 33 ½ tackles for loss. … RB Dillon Johnson is expected to play for Washington despite playing through a foot injury vs. Oregon State. Johnson needs 121 yards to reach 1,000 for the season.