No. 13 Washington State had everything to play for, including a division title, a trip to the Pac-12 Championship Game and the slim hopes of sneaking into the College Football Playoff on a chaos-filled weekend. Predictably, for fans on both sides of this rivalry, the Cougars barely showed up to play on a rainy Saturday night in Seattle and lost the Apple Cup 41-14 in a runaway for No. 17 Washington.
The result gave the Huskies double-digit wins on the year for the first time since the dawn of the 1990’s and was perhaps the team’s most complete effort of the season, especially when considering the stage, the opponent and the weather. Quarterback Jake Browning didn’t need to throw the ball much given the sub-par conditions, managing just 93 yards though the air and finding the end zone only off a short keeper past the goal line.
Of course it’s not like he needed to do much when he could just turn around and hand it off to Myles Gaskin. The junior, who very well could have played his final game at Husky Stadium, was terrific from the opening whistle and finished with 192 yards and four scores to pace an offense that wasn’t quite hitting on every cylinder but was fairly efficient once it found its legs. Backup Salvon Ahmed added another 82 yards as two of the team’s biggest weapons (tailback Lavon Coleman and wideout/return man Dante Pettis) both left in the first half with leg injuries.
Such offensive numbers weren’t bad but they were overshadowed quite a bit by the phenomenal performance from UW’s defense. They recorded four turnovers in the game, five sacks and didn’t allow a third down conversion until late in the fourth quarter. Defensive linemen Vita Vea was a constant presence in the backfield all night despite double-teams and the secondary seemed to have no issues with Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense.
That played a big role in record-setting quarterback Luke Falk looking even less than pedestrian against his rival to go 0-fer in his Apple Cup career against the Huskies. He wound up throwing for 369 yards and a touchdown but had three interceptions and a fumble on a night where not much could go right for the Cougs. Even worse, the team’s best defender — defensive lineman Hercules Mata’afa — was called for targeting in the third quarter and will miss the first half of their bowl game next month.
He will not miss the Pac-12 Championship game next week though because the team will be sitting at home in Pullman watching on. By virtue of Stanford’s win over Washington a few weeks ago, the Cardinal got the result they needed on Saturday to book their ticket to face USC at Levi’s Stadium on Friday for the league title.
That wasn’t how Wazzu wanted things to play out of course after controlling their own destiny in the conference but it was one that their rivals at Washington were happy to give them in order to keep the Apple Cup in Seattle yet again.
(Pardon me while I do a bit of extended weekend housecleaning.)
In late December, it was confirmed that Indiana offensive coordinator Mike DeBord would be retiring from the coaching profession. Three weeks later, the Hoosiers confirmed that Kalen DeBoer has been brought onboard as DeBord’s replacement.
DeBoer has spent the past two seasons as the coordinator at Fresno State.
“Kalen DeBoer is a proven winner,” Hoosiers head coach Tom Allen said in a statement. “He has had great success as a head coach and coordinator at every stop and every level throughout his career. Kalen is an exceptional leader of young men and an experienced play-caller who has taken the offenses he has inherited to new heights. Thanks to the incredible support of Fred Glass and our administration we welcome him, Nicole and their daughters, Alexis and Avery, to the IU family.”
Prior to his two-year stint at Fresno State, DeBoer spent three seasons (2014-16) at Eastern Michigan as the MAC school’s coordinator. He also served as quarterbacks coach at that stop.
“I am honored for the opportunity to join Coach Allen and his staff,” DeBoer said. “They are great coaches and master teachers who are passionate about making Indiana football special. I can’t wait to get to campus, meet the team and help take this program to the next level.”
As the old adage goes, the best-laid plans of mice and men’s Twitter accounts often go awry.
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday, Florida State’s official recruiting account on Twitter posted an inspirational quote from the slain Civil Rights leader. It would’ve been fine for all involved if the account would’ve stopped there; unfortunately for all involved, they didn’t stop there.
Instead, a photoshopped image of Dr. King wearing a football glove and apparently performing the Tomahawk Chop was included as part of the tweet.
Not surprisingly, the Twitter account caught significant heat and flack for the image on social media. Just as unsurprisingly, the tweet was deleted less than an hour after it was posted and an apology subsequently issued.
Rutgers has hired Andy Buh as its defensive coordinator, the program has announced.
“We are excited to add Andy to the Rutgers football family,” head coach Chris Ash said in a statement. “He is an outstanding linebackers coach and has extensive experience in the Big Ten. Andy and I share a defensive philosophy and he is very familiar with the scheme we run, which will benefit the continued development of our defense.”
Ash and Buh worked together previously at Wisconsin, where Ash was the defensive coordinator and Buh the linebackers coach. He spent the past three seasons as the defensive coordinator at Maryland and has previous coordinator experience at Stanford, Nevada and Cal.
Buh replaces Jay Niemann, who served as the Scarlet Knights’ defensive coordinator for the first three seasons of the Ash era. Rutgers was 69th in total and yards per play defense and 89th in scoring in 2018, surrendering 31.4 points per game. Buh’s Maryland defense placed 78th, allowing 28.7 points per outing.
Rutgers is 7-29 under Ash and 3-24 in Big Ten play.
North Texas celebrated MLK Day by announcing a slew of future football opponents.
The Mean Green announced Monday it will play home-and-homes with Baylor and Tulane in the 2028 and ’29 campaigns. North Texas will visit the Bears and Green Wave in 2028, then host both in 2029. UNT will visit Baylor on Sept. 2 and Tulane on Sept. 23 in 2028, while the Mean Green will host Baylor and Tulane in back-to-back weeks to open 2029, with the Bears coming on Sept. 1 and the Green Wave on Sept. 8.
A previously scheduled home game with Army was bumped from 2027 to 2028 in conjunction with Monday’s announcements. North Texas also announced a home game with Texas Southern for Sept. 24, 2022.
Baylor will be the fourth Power 5 program and the second Big 12 opponent to visit Apogee Stadium, which opened in 2011. Indiana visited in Apogee’s opening season, Cal will make a visit in 2022 and Texas Tech will come to Denton in 2027.
“I am thrilled to announce two quality home-and-home series have been added to our schedules,” Mean Green AD Wren Baker said in a statement. “Baylor joins Cal and Texas Tech as Power 5 conference teams coming to Denton over the next few years. Tulane is a quality American Athletic Conference team that will be a fun trip for our fans when we return to New Orleans. I appreciate (COO) Jared Mosley‘s diligent efforts to find compelling games for our fans.”
North Texas and Baylor have met 13 times previously. The Bears have won 12 of those meetings but North Texas took the most recent meeting in Denton, a 52-14 thumping in 2003. That remains UNT’s most recent win over a Big 12 opponent.
The Mean Green and Green Wave have played just once previously, a 21-14 Tulane victory in New Orleans in 2013.
Baylor has a previously scheduled trip to Oregon slated for 2028, a return trip for the Ducks’ flight to Waco in 2027. Tulane also has a home-and-home with Iowa State in 2028-29, with the home dates flipped from the UNT series.