Washington State vs. Washington Prediction, Game Preview

    Washington State vs. Washington prediction and game preview. A battle for bragging rights takes place in Seattle as the Cougars visit the Huskies.

    November 20, 2015


    The Washington Huskies (5-6) must defeat the Washington State Cougars (8-3) in this year’s Apple Cup to become bowl eligible. Check out the Washington State vs. Washington prediction and game preview.

    Washington State vs. Washington Game Preview

    Broadcast

    Date: Friday, November 27
    Game Time: 3:30 ET
    Venue: Husky Stadium, Seattle, Washington
    Network: Fox

    Follow and/or Contact @Rich Cirminiello

    Why You Need To Care

    Washington desperately wants to qualify for a bowl game, providing the staff with 15 additional practices with its youthful roster. Standing in the Huskies’ way, though, is No. 20 Washington State, as the rivals meet in the 108th Apple Cup.

    The Cougars in 2015 have surpassed U-Dub on the instate pecking order, winning eight games to become this year’s biggest surprise in the Pac-12. Mike Leach, as well as first-year defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, have done a bang-up job guiding Wazzu to its best season in 12 years. Chris Petersen, conversely, has endured hits-and-misses in his second year in Seattle, so what happens on Friday will directly impact this season’s eventual narrative.

    Why Washington State Will Win

    With or without QB Luke Falk, who was injured in last Saturday’s Colorado win, the Cougars have a lot more offensive punch than the Huskies. Wazzu has accounted for 38 touchdown passes, a stark contrast to a U-Dub attack that’s 10th in the league in total offense. The Huskies have consistently misfired versus decent defenses, which will be a problem again this week. Grinch has the Cougs playing very physical D, ranking second in Pac-12 stops for loss behind DE Darryl Paulo and an attacking front seven.

    Why Washington Will Win

    The Cougars are opportunistic, but the Huskies are stout on D, leading the league in scoring and total defense. Washington will win the line of scrimmage, especially since NT Elijah Qualls is expected back from an ankle injury and Wazzu’s best blocker, Joe Dahl, is still in a walking boot. Plus, you don’t get better without Falk, the nation’s leader in passing yards who was beginning to generate Heisman buzz. On offense, QB Jake Browning is improving and RB Myles Gaskin will see daylight against a Cougar defense yielding more than five yards a carry.

    Player Who Matters

    While there’s been no official word on Falk’s health, he was briefly unconscious on the field last week, so his return is unlikely. In that event, Leach will lean on redshirt freshman Peyton Bender. Bender has completed 17-of-33 in four appearances, showcasing even more zip on his throws than Falk. But can he handle the moment, the Apple Cup at Husky Stadium against the Pac-12’s toughest D? No small ask, particularly if the hard-charging Husky linebackers won’t have to deal with Dahl on the edge.

    What’s Going To Happen?

    Wazzu has proven it can thrive in tough road environments, already winning at Oregon, Arizona and UCLA. But that was when Falk was healthy. And while Leach has confidence in Bender, this will be an extremely tough spot for an inexperienced quarterback. Washington, fueled by its defense, Gaskin and the lure of a bonus game in December, will hold off the Cougars for a third straight Apple Cup victory.

    Washington State vs. Washington Prediction

    Final Score: Washington 28, Washington State 27, Line: No Line, o/u: No Line
    Must See Rating: 5: Creed – 1: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade … 2.5

    MORE: College Football Bowl Projections After Week 12

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