Preview to Highly Anticipated Apple Cup  

Kellan Odegard, Staff Writer

On Nov. 26, the Washington State Cougars are set to take on the University of  Washington Huskies in the state’s well known game, The Apple Cup. The two football teams play each other in the rivalry every year. The game was once known as the “The Governor’s Trophy,” until in 1962 when the game was renamed to the well-known title of The Apple Cup. The title came from the fact Washington is known as the main producer of apples. The two teams have faced off 112 times and the Huskies lead the series at 74-32-6. Although the Huskies lead the series significantly, the games tend to be close games as most rivalry games are. As of right now the Cougars are also ahead of the Huskies in standings, and this year, the game looks more balanced than usual. 

Although history shows the odds are not in the Cougars’ favor, this year seems to be the year the Cougars have a very good chance of beating the Huskies in the Apple Cup. The Cougars have a pretty good offense with the 42nd highest passing offense while averaging 259.3 passing yards a game and averaging 115.1 rushing yards a game, which is 110th best in the country and the defense is tied at 68th for fewest points allowed on average of 24.7 points per game. The Cougars do have a solid squad, but one big factor that has knocked the Cougars off track a little is the loss of head coach Nick Rolovich and his four assistant coaches. On Oct. 18, the five coaches were fired for their failure to be vaccinated against COVID-19 following the new Washington state mandate in which all state employees need to be vaccinated. This is a huge setback to the team. Luckily, they were able to have a month with new coaching staff before they take on the Huskies. Junior Elizabeth Mchugh emphasized the loss of the coaches to be a big factor into the Apple Cup: “Losing a head coach this late into the season is definitely a challenge the team is going to have to overcome.” The Cougars did lose a close game to BYU following the loss of a head coach Nick Rolovich but dominated the next game in a PAC 12 game versus Arizona State, bringing life back into the fans of Washington State. Senior Ike Moore says, “The Arizona State game definitely was a statement game with our defense having five takeaways which is really impressive and proves we’re a force to be reckoned with.” The defense has been playing very well and has kept the Cougars in almost all of their games. Moore was also very confident in the offensive run game with star Max Borghi leading the charge in the run game. Borghi has been playing very well this year and is definitely a major factor in the team’s success this year. Junior Asher Liddle says, “Borghi is my favorite player as he really plays with his head on fire and is very explosive and a hard guy to take down. He makes the offense a lot better and definitely gives other teams a problem trying to figure out how to stop him” Borghi has been having a good year and will definitely be a player to watch in the Apple Cup as he will be a huge factor to how well the Cougars play. 

Just because  the Huskies are not looking like their normal dominant team does not mean they are not favorites in the Apple Cup. The Huskies always seem to finish their seasons with an Apple Cup win and the slow season this year has in no way made Huskie fans worried about the game. Freshman Charlie Lydum still has all the confidence in the world for his Huskies saying, “The Huskies are going to blowout the Cougars this year.” He also predicted the score of the game “35-10 Huskies on top.” He was very confident and believes the Huskies will do what they practically do every year, which is take it to the Cougars in a somewhat close Apple Cup game. Even though the Huskies are not keeping up with their usual team, it does not mean the team has not been playing well. The Huskies are ranked 83rd in passing yards per game, averaging 216.8 and 109th in rushing yards per game, averaging 115.3, and are ranked 23rd in points against with an average of 19.7 points per game. The Huskies have had some hiccups this season and one concern from sophomore Trent Bacon is “Dylan Morris hasn’t been playing that well but we need him to play an average game and we’ll win the game. If he makes too many mistakes the Apple Cup actually might be a close game” Bacon did not seem too nervous about the game and had high praise for the defense “The defense is amazing. They keep us in the game and don’t allow teams back into games. Mcduffie has been playing amazing and is lockdown in coverage.” Trent Mcduffie has been a great attribute to the team as he helps his team and gets the defense off the field with some clutch interceptions he has in very close games.

The Apple Cup this year should definitely be one of the best games in the last couple of years. The fans are pretty confident in their teams as the Cougars fans predict themselves winning the game. Moore said he thinks it will be a close game but has the Cougars on top 28-24. Liddle had pretty similar thoughts and predicted the Cougars would end on top 27-24. The Cougars fans have high hopes and do believe it will be a close game but the Husky fans are more than confident it will be a breeze as Bacon predicts 32-20 Huskies on top win and Lydum keeps high hopes predicting a blowout with Huskies winning 35-10. The rivalry is hot and the lead up to the game is just getting started. The state of Washington is definitely going to have an entertaining football game come Nov. 26.