SEATTLE — Jake Locker threw for 196 yards and a touchdown and ran for another 94 yards and a score, and Washington posted its first shutout of rival Washington State in 45 years with a 30-0 Apple Cup victory over the Cougars on Saturday night.
Washington stopped a two-game losing streak to the Cougars and beat Washington State at home for the first time since 2003.
The Huskies did it with a battering defense that knocked out Washington State quarterbacks on three different occasions and an offense that wore down the Cougars by dominating the second half on the ground.
Locker made just one mistake — a third-quarter interception that gave the Cougars a little life — but otherwise was potent with his arm and feet. He completed 16 of 28 passes, including a 50-yard TD to Jermaine Kearse, and averaged nearly 10 yards on his 10 carries.
He capped the night with a swerving 15-yard TD run with 6:45 left as Washington posted its biggest victory over its rival since a 51-3 blowout in 2000. That was the only Apple Cup in the previous 14 to be decided by more than 10 points.
Chris Polk added 130 yards rushing to become the first Washington freshman to crack 1,000 yards in a season, and his 1-yard TD plunge in the third quarter put the Huskies (4-7, 3-6) ahead by three scores. Erik Folk kicked three field goals for Washington.
The dominating Washington performance was a strong answer to last year’s thud in Pullman when the favored Huskies let a late lead slip away and watched the Cougars rush the field to celebrate a 16-13 double-overtime victory, the lowest point in Washington’s 0-12 season.
Earlier in the week a little spice was added to the rivalry when Washington tight end Kavario Middleton popped off that the Huskies intended to put up 50 on a Cougars team that ranked 118th in the country in scoring defense, allowing nearly 40 points per game.
Washington barely got halfway to that total, but it was more than enough against the beleaguered Cougars (1-11, 0-9), whose injury-filled season only got more wacky.
This year it was the Cougars shaking their heads over what went wrong. After struggling to get the running game going in the first half, the Huskies rushed for 222 yards in the second half, more than the Cougars’ offensive total of 163 yards for the game. Locker had 82 yards on the ground after halftime, while Polk added 97.
Locker’s passing set the tone early. He was 10 of 19 in the first half — including a few drops — and his 50-yard scoring pass to Kearse gave the Huskies a 10-0 lead.
Meanwhile the Cougars were trying to find a healthy quarterback. How bad did things get? Backup punter and fourth-string quarterback Dan Wagner took the final four snaps of the first half after Kevin Lopina was knocked out for a second time.
Marshall Lobbestael took over after Lopina went to the bench in the first quarter with an apparent right shoulder injury. But Lobbestael found himself wobbling to the sideline following an 11-yard run in the second quarter. Lopina returned and was immediately sacked and on the Cougars’ next series was driven into the turf by Washington defensive tackle Cameron Elisara.
With freshman quarterback Jeff Tuel out (sprained right knee), Cougars coach Paul Wulff had no choice but to go with Wagner, listed as the backup punter. Wagner, a walk-on who doesn’t take snaps in practice, didn’t attempt a pass and Lobbestael returned in the second half, facing a 13-0 deficit.
Lobbestael finished 9 of 22 for 71 yards.
Washington State was trying for an unprecedented third straight win over the Huskies, and its best chance at injecting the slightest competitiveness came on its opening drive.
From the Huskies 34, WSU attempted a double pass with Tardy throwing back to Lopina. With a second to look downfield, Lopina threw toward freshman Gino Simone near the goal line. Simone jumped but the pass went through his hands and landed in the golden end zone while the Cougars coaches flailed their arms in disappointment on the sideline.
That turned out to be the Cougars’ best scoring chance. Washington State didn’t run a play inside the Huskies 33 all night.