(1090 The Fan) — For the first time since 2001, the Washington Huskies finished a regular season with eight wins thanks to a 27-17 Apple Cup victory over the Washington State Cougars.
Behind 200 rushing yards from Bishop Sankey and a couple of late interceptions from the defense, Washington overcame a 10-3 halftime deficit to win its 68th Apple Cup, Friday at Husky Stadium.
The two cross-state rivals entered with winning records for the first time since 2002 and the game was correspondingly competitive. Washington State built a 10-3 halftime lead thanks to two Huskies turnovers and a defense that limited Washington to under 11 minutes time of possession.
The pivotal moment in the 2013 Apple Cup may have come on Washington’s first drive of the second half. With the Huskies trailing 10-3, facing a third-and-five, the majority of the 71,753 sat restless, waiting for a big Husky play to cheer for.
A 40-yard screen pass to Bishop Sankey got the crowd on its feet and propelled the UW offense to 17-unanswered points.
Five plays later, Keith Price connected on a 18-yard touchdown pass to Austin Sefarian-Jenkins to tie the score 10-10. An energized Washington defensive unit subsequently forced a Cougars’ three-and-out and Price engineered an 8-play, 60-yard drive capped by Sankey’s record-breaking 7-yard touchdown run, putting UW ahead 17-10.
The run gave Sankey the record for rushing touchdowns at Washington with 35, surpassing Napoleon Kaufman and also gave him 121 yards for the game, passing Corey Dillon’s 1996 single-season high-water rushing mark of 1,695. Sankey finished with 200 yards on 34 carries and the one touchdown.
More importantly, the touchdown run and the noted achievements seemed to give Washington the lift it needed. From that point on, the Cougars were left playing catch up.
The Cougars mounted a response in the form of a 10-play, 83-yard touchdown drive to cut the lead to three at 20-17. Washington State converted a fourth-and-15 at the UW 36-yard line when Halliday connected with Dom Williams on a 22-yard completion.
Washington State would get the ball back after forcing a Huskies punt, with 5:26 remaining. Two plays later, though, Halliday was intercepted by Washington corner Greg Ducre, giving UW the ball at the Cougars’ 37-yard line. Washington would extend its lead to 27-17 on a 2-yard scamper by Price with 2:08 remaining.
Price started his final regular season game on senior day, finishing 15-for-20 for 181 yards, a touchdown and an interception one game after sitting out with a sore shoulder. Despite the finish, it was a rather shaky beginning for the senior.
After receiving the opening kickoff, Washington drove 54 yards on eight plays for a 48-yard Travis Coons field goal to take a 3-0 lead with 12:14 to play. The drive was keyed by a 34-yard pass by Price to Sefarian-Jenkins.
But that was about all the excitement Price would engineer in the first half for Washington.
The Husky defense withstood the challenge of a prolific Cougars’ pass offense for one quarter, forcing three punts on Washington State’s first three possessions. But two Price turnovers gave WSU momentum, leading to 10 first half points.
A fumble from Price with 21 seconds left in the first quarter led to a WSU field goal which tied the score 3-3. Price then threw an interception along the sideline at the WSU 9-yard line that led to a 13-play, 91-yard WSU drive, culminated by a 14-yard Connor Halliday touchdown pass to junior receiver Rickey Galvin.
Halliday finished 32-for-59 passing for 282 yards and two touchdowns, he was also intercepted twice. Among the nine different Cougars’ receivers to catch a pass, Gabe Marks led with 46 yards on four receptions.
-Anthony Dion, 1090 The Fan
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