No. 5 Washington uncorked an Apple Cup beatdown on Friday to rout their in-state rival Washington State 45-17 and lock up the team’s place in the Pac-12 Championship Game next week.
The Huskies ran off four straight touchdown drives to open the game for a school-record 28 points in the first quarter to end any drama in the game. Quarterback Jake Browning returned to the form he displayed when being mentioned as a Heisman Trophy finalist, throwing for 292 yards and three touchdowns for a performance where he had all day to throw and took advantage of it.
Washington really wore down the Cougars on the ground in the second half and finished with nearly 200 yards on the ground. Tailbacks Myles Gaskin (50 yards, one touchdown) and Lavon Coleman (82 yards, two scores) both were able to find big rushing lanes to pick up key yards and help churn the clock.
The Huskies defense also looked dominant all day, with safety Budda Baker racking up eight tackles, two for loss, and one of the three interceptions on the day for the team.
Wazzu quarterback Luke Falk didn’t have his best outing of the season as he failed to rally the Cougars from a big hole. He finished with 269 yards on 50 attempts and threw three picks against just one touchdown. Remarkably, Mike Leach’s squad may have made things a lot more interesting but were stuffed on the goal line twice running the ball.
The victory not only hands the Pac-12 North title to Washington but sends them to Santa Clara for the conference title game next week. The team should also move up into the top four in next Tuesday’s College Football Playoff rankings and certainly control their future when it comes to making a semifinal with a win against either Colorado or USC on Friday.