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Sports >  WSU football

The pick: Why Washington State will beat No. 12 Washington

Nov. 25, 2022 Updated Fri., Nov. 25, 2022 at 6:23 p.m.

PULLMAN – Washington State is taking a new approach to its rivalry series with Washington.

During the past decade, the Cougars’ former coaching staff chose to downplay the significance of the Apple Cup. WSU went 1-10 against the Huskies in the 2010s.

But under coach Jake Dickert, who guided the Cougars to a win over UW last season, WSU is embracing the energy that comes naturally with this heated matchup.

“You gotta understand what that game means,” Dickert said. “I want to make sure that our guys understand it. It’s talking about the history of it, it’s bringing coaches and players back throughout the year and talking about their Apple Cups. … I want our guys to know what that thing means when it’s here in Pullman.”

In past years, the Cougars too often came out flat against the Huskies and absorbed lopsided losses.

WSU flipped the script last season, handing a deflated UW team a blowout defeat.

This year’s UW squad is miles better than that one, of course. And the Huskies will be playing with added motivation.

It may sound like flimsy reasoning, but I think it’s an important factor – the Cougars’ mindset toward this rivalry game has changed.

So have the teams’ identities. The Cougars and Huskies swapped strengths.

WSU’s old Air Raid always featured the nation’s most prolific passing game, but the Cougars’ offense was always curbed by UW’s stellar defense during the Huskies’ seven-game Apple Cup winning streak. This year, UW relies greatly on its passing offense, which ranks first in the country in total production. WSU’s defense is one of the best in the Pac-12 and seems well-equipped for this challenge.

One cliché seems appropriate here: “Defense wins championships.”

It rang true in Apple Cups of years past. That trend will continue in this year’s game.

WSU’s defense will come up clutch in crunch time and the Cougars will squeeze past Washington with a spirited performance to retain the traveling trophy in an Apple Cup thriller in Pullman.

The pick: Washington State 30, Washington 28

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