Washington (7-5) at Washington State (3-8) (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Martin Stadium (35,117) -- Pullman, Washington. Television: FS1. Home Record: UW 4-3, WSU 1-4. Away Record: UW 3-2, WSU 2-3. Neutral Record: UW 0-0, WSU 0-1. Conference Record: UW 3-5, WSU 1-6. Series Record: Washington leads, 68-32-6.
GAME NOTES: The Washington Huskies and the Washington State Cougars will battle it out for the Apple Cup once again, as they meet in a Pac-12 Conference clash at Martin Stadium on Saturday night.
These in-state rivals have met 106 times since that first matchup in 1900 when they played to a 5-5 tie. The Huskies have had the upper hand more often than not, with a 68-32-6 record against the rival Cougars. They have won four of the last five contests, including a 27-17 triumph last season in Seattle.
This will serve as the regular season finale for Washington as well, as the Huskies' 3-5 mark in league play is not nearly close to good enough to warrant a spot in the Pac-12 title game. Washington, which is in its first season under former Boise State head coach Chris Petersen, has been up and down. The Huskies are 7-5 overall following last week's 37-13 triumph against Oregon State. Prior to that win, the Huskies had lost four of five.
Washington State will close up shop on its season entirely after Saturday's contest, as they are a miserable 3-8 overall, which is far below the requirements for bowl eligibility. The Cougars fought hard against No. 13 Arizona State last Saturday, but ran out of gas in a 52-31 loss. The Cougars have lost five of their last six games.
Even though it has grinded out enough wins to have a shot at the postseason, Washington's offensive display has been far from pleasing. The Huskies rank 10th in the Pac-12 in total offense (386.3 ypg), albeit paired with a healthy scoring average (30.8 ppg).
The unit showed real signs of life against the Beavers, who were thought to be one of the better defensive teams in the conference. Washington finished with 481 yards in the victory, averaging a robust 8.2 yards per play. Cyler Miles threw for 253 yards and two scores on 18-of-23 passing and Dwayne Washington racked up 10 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries to lead the way.
Miles has not been nearly as productive most weeks, as he is averaging only 188 passing yards per game. However, he has managed to complete a high percentage of his passes (.671), while limiting himself to only two interceptions. His 14 touchdown passes have been a help as well.
Jaydon Mickens is Miles' favorite receiver, with large leads in receptions (48) and receiving yards (484) compared to other pass-catchers on the roster. DiAndre Campbell (24 receptions, 231 yards, TD), Joshua Perkins (20 receptions, 246 yards, two TDs) and John Ross (17 receptions, 371 yards, four TDs) are the other options. Mickens finished with 84 yards and a touchdown on five receptions in the win over Oregon State, while Perkins had only 32 yards on five catches of his own.
As far as running the ball goes, the wealth has been spread quite nicely. Lavon Coleman (538 yards, TD) leads the team in rushing yards, but Washington (520 yards, seven TDs) is more adept at getting into the end zone, while two- way player Shaq Thompson (456 yards, two TDs) has been extremely tough to bring down.
Washington is a bit further up the Pac-12 ladder in terms of defense. The Huskies rank sixth in the league in total defense (408.3 ypg) and fifth in scoring defense (25.3 ppg). Hau'oli Kikaha has been tremendous for the unit, as he is tied with Utah's Nate Orchard for the most sacks in the country (17.5).
In its loss to Arizona State, Washington State picked up 622 total yards and 30 first downs. However, the Cougars couldn't get out of their own way as they turned the ball over five times. Luke Falk was responsible for the bulk of those mistakes, as he was intercepted four times. He threw the ball 74 times in the contest, completing 45 of those attempts for an incredible 601 yards and three touchdowns.
Falk was making just his second start for the Cougars against the Sun Devils, as he has been forced into the starter's role since Connor Halliday broke his fibula earlier this month. Falk has already thrown for 1,504 yards and 11 touchdowns, compared to five interceptions, this season as he leads the Cougars, who head the country in passing offense (488.8 ypg) by more than 100 yards per game.
Vince Mayle is one of several receivers having excellent seasons for Washington State. In fact, Mayle leads the Pac-12 in receiving yards (1,404), is tied with Colorado's Nelson Spruce for the most receptions (101), while tallying nine touchdown grabs as well. Isiah Myers (75 receptions, 906 yards, 12 TDs) leads the conference in touchdowns, while River Cracraft (63 receptions, 731 yards, seven TDs) and Dom Williams (40 receptions, 607 yards, eight TDs) are outperforming No. 1 receivers on many other teams.
Defensively speaking, the Cougars are not all that sound, ranking 10th in the Pac-12 in yards allowed (442.7 ypg), although they did hold Arizona State to only 330 yards in its own stadium.
The passion of this rivalry will certainly make for a more competitive game than might be expected between a 7-5 and 3-8 team. Kikaha and the rest of Washington's front line should be able to get into the backfield plenty against the Cougars, who need time for pass plays to develop. If Falk is under pressure he could make more mistakes and that could lead to another loss.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Washington 34, Washington State 31Game Date and Time
Saturday, November 29, 10:30 p.m. (ET)