ESPN's SP+ predicts the score of Washington's game against Washington State
A new chapter in the Apple Cup is written on Saturday. Both Washington and Washington State are enjoying strong seasons, the Huskies 9-2 in Kalen DeBoer’s first year at the helm and the Cougars 7-4 with one of the best defenses in the Pac-12.
The Huskies are looking for payback after last year’s embarrassment at home.
Bill Connelly’s SP+ thinks they’ll get it in dramatic fashion.
The predictive model is calling for a 26-25 UW win on the road.
Wazzu is up to 12th in defensive SP+ while UW ranks 15th in offensive SP+. This should be a good-on-good matchup when UW quarterback Michael Penix Jr. is on the field.
The Cougar defense has forced nine turnovers during the current three-game winning streak — including four last week. Washington does well to protect Penix and he in turn takes care of the football. The Cougars stop the run better than anyone in the league and really try to force the issue at the line of scrimmage.
In turn, UW has one of the most explosive offenses in college football. Do the Huskies try and neutralize the Cougar front with quick outs or can the offensive line keep winning?
Wazzu won the Apple Cup last season 40-13 to snap a seven-game losing streak. This year, all four of the Cougars’ losses have been to teams currently ranked inside the Top 25. Two of those were by four points or less. When tailback Nakia Watson plays, Wazzu is 7-2.
Meanwhile, Washington has won five in a row. DeBoer got a contract extension earlier this week. The Huskies beat Oregon in Eugene. It’s all turning up rosy for the Huskies… who still have a chance to play in the Rose Bowl game. But they’ll need to win to get there.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. PT on ESPN on Saturday.