Keith Price fired three more touchdown passes, Chris Polk and Kasen Williams each tallied two touchdowns, and the Washington Huskies won the 104th Apple Cup over Washington State 38-21 at CenturyLink Field Saturday night.
Price, who tossed touchdown passes of 16 and 21 yards to Williams in the first half, broke Cody Pickett’s school record when he tossed a 22-yard touchdown pass to Polk in the third quarter, giving him 29 for the season. Pickett had 28 in 2002.
Washington finished the regular season 7-5, snapping a three-game losing streak. Bowl eligible weeks ago, the Huskies will have to wait until after the Pac-12 Championship Game Friday to find out their bowl destination.
Washington State, losers of the past three Apple Cups, finished 4-8 in its fourth year under Paul Wulff, now 9-40 in his WSU career. Wulff reportedly will be fired as soon as Sunday.
Polk, who had 284 rushing yards in last year’s Apple Cup, had 100 yards (he scored on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter), becoming just the second UW runner, following Hugh McElhenny from 1949-51, to produce three 100-yard games in the Apple Cup.
Price completed 21 of 29 throws for 291 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
“I’m just so proud of our kids. This has been a long month for us,” said UW head coach Steve Sarkisian. “For our seniors it means a bunch. We’re getting better. We’re heading to our second bowl game, and we’ve gotten better. But we still have a lot of work to do.”
“We didn’t play our best football, but we beat a rivalry opponent, and that’s what we wanted,” said Polk. “I’m just blessed that we have another game.”
The Huskies had gone eight years without playing in a bowl.
Washington made a disaster out of Washington State’s first possession that ended with a punt attempt. Lineman Thomas Tutogi broke through the Cougars line to get his right hand on Dan Wagner’s punt inside WSU’s 10-yard line. Jessie Callier snatched the high carom and ran it two yards for a touchdown.
Washington increased its lead to 14-0 on Price’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Williams, the first of two for both in the first half.
The momentum shifted to Washington State, which took advantage of a missed Folk field goal attempt to score on a 16-yard touchdown pass from senior QB Marshall Lobbestael to Jared Karstetter. The Cougars tied the score at 2:05 of the second quarter on another 16-yard TD throw, from Lobbestael to Marquess Wilson.
Washington State generated 231 net offensive yards against the Huskies in the first half, while UW had 219.
Washington made it 21-14 just before halftime when Price tossed a 21-yard TD pass to Williams.
Polk had just 39 on eight carries against the Cougars in the first half, but caught a 22-yard touchdown pass at the 5:56 mark of the third quarter, giving Washington a 28-14 lead.
On that drive the Huskies used three pass plays to cover 58 yards.
Washington State wasted no time in answering, scoring in 3 plays covering 62 yards, Lobbestal hitting Wilson for a 38-yard touchdown to cut Washington’s lead to 28-21. It was Wilson’s 12th touchdown catch of the season.
Price engineered another drive late in the third quarter that resulted in a 46-yard field goal by Folk, giving Washington a 31-21 lead. Polk ended the drama with a one-yard run with 5:23 left to play. Price was replaced for a series by backup Nick Montana when Price’s thumb on this throwing hand cramped, but returned to finish the game.
Lobbestael finished with 344 passing yards and three touchdowns, but the Cougars were had only 38 rushing yards.