SEATTLE – Washington’s defensive strategy against Washington State hasn’t changed much in recent years.
Neither have the results.
The Huskies won their fifth straight in the series with a 41-14 rout Saturday. They’ve limited WSU to 13.6 points per game in the last four Apple Cups.
WSU quarterback Luke Falk had a miserable day against the Huskies’ three-man pass rush. He was sacked five times and was responsible for four turnovers. He has four touchdown passes and eight interceptions in three Apple Cup losses.
“They get a lot of guys out in routes. Their offense is hard to defend, but it’s a little bit of trying to cloud up the windows, passing lanes, and confuse him a little with what we’re doing,” Washington defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski said. “But to do that, the guys up front have to make some things happen.”
They did, led by defensive lineman Vita Vea.
“There’s a point to where we have to push the ball downfield in order to get back in the thing and of course the nose guard (Vea), he’s the best player on the team,” said WSU coach Mike Leach, adding Vea is “disruptive to more things than he gets statistics for.”
WSU receivers had to deal with eight in coverage. Falk passed for 369 yards, but many of those plays ended with jarring hits from Husky defenders.
“I feel like a lot of those dropped passes were because they were nervous,” defensive back Jojo McIntosh said. “I feel like they were scared. They knew the safeties were coming down and the linebackers and linemen were coming from behind.
“We knew if they were going to catch the ball, make sure they were going to pay for that.”