Seattle, WA – The Washington state Cougars beat the Washington Huskies for the first time since 2012, bringing the Apple Cup trophy back to Pullman. Another frustrating loss caps an extremely disappointing season for the Huskies, who started the season ranked #20 in the nation.
The game was won with a mixed attack by WSU, as quarterback Jayden de Laura only had five completions on the night, adding 245 yards through the air. Max Borghi, senior tailback for the Cougars, complimented the passing game by running for 129 yards and putting the ball in the endzone twice. The Washington defense stayed in a three man pass rush for most of the game, leaving open lanes for Borghi, and letting him gain 5.9 yards on average. A bad Husky run defense was exposed once again, in their last game of the year.
The offensive struggles continued this game for the purple and gold, but with a different quarterback. True freshman Sam Huard would start his first career game, being put into a difficult situation. Huard would have an underwhelming starting debut, throwing four interceptions and competing slightly over half of his passes. Not all of the issues would be Huard’s fault, as his wideouts dropped nine passes. Kamari Pleasant would get the majority of the carries on the ground with eight, gaining 34 yards and scoring once. The run game was mostly non-existent, as UW ran the ball only 12 times. The Huskies would only total 200 yards of offense, and be outgained in time of possession 18:35-41:25.
This year will be one that Husky fans will immediately want to forget. The program has not lost eight or more games since 2008, arguably the worst year in team history when their record was 0-12. Losing the season opener to Montana set the stage for what would be a major let down, as expectations were high considering the talent on the team and the hype still surrounding head coach Jimmy Lake. Ranked #20 coming into the season, the Huskies would lose that game with poor offensive production and a bad run defense.
Those trends would continue throughout the season as coaching would fail to properly adjust, and make questionable decisions. Jimmy Lake would be involved in controversy and be fired. Dylan Morris would struggle. Everyone in the program and in the fanbase will now hope to put this year in the past, and return to the level of play that is expected from this university.
The importance of making the right decision on who is at the helm of this football team next year loom over the head of athletic director Jen Cohen, who has been under scrutiny for the hiring of Lake and men’s basketball coach Mike Hopkins, who has struggled in his coaching tenure. The bounce back for the program starts when the new head coach is announced, with the hope that the 2021 season was an outlier.