The 2013 Apple Cup was literally a tale of two halves. Unfortunately for the Washington State Cougars, their half wasn't as dominant as the Washington Huskies'. In front of 70,000-plus screaming fans at Husky Stadium, the Huskies won in-state bragging rights with a 27-17 win on Friday.
It was an entertaining and spirited battle, but in the end, the Cougars fell to 6-6 while the Huskies improved to 8-4. Here's how it went down.
Solid Start for the Cougars
The first half belonged to the Cougars, who led at the break by a score of 10-3. Quarterback Connor Halliday engineered a 13-play, 91-yard drive that led to the only touchdown of the first half. A beautiful 14-yard touchdown pass from Halliday to Rickey Galvin capped the drive and sent the Cougars into the locker room with a seven-point advantage.
Halliday thoroughly outplayed his more highly touted counterpart, Keith Price of the Huskies, in the first half. Price looked unsure and turned the ball over twice.
Still, the Cougars could only manage a one-touchdown lead after first 30 minutes.
Price Finds Himself, Bishop Sankey Carries the Load and the Huskies Defense Stiffens
Price found his rhythm with a few short passes, but he didn't key his team's resurgence. Bishop Sankey, the Huskies' all-world running back was primarily responsible for Washington's 17 unanswered points.
In just the third quarter, Sankey had 80 yards rushing and a touchdown. Austin Seferian-Jenkins did make a very athletic touchdown catch in the third, but even that was set up by an 18-yard run from Sankey.
On defense, the Huskies started to consistently pressure Halliday, and it curtailed a Cougars offense that had looked promising in the second quarter.
A Good and Bad Halliday
The junior quarterback started to get comfortable again in the fourth quarter. He threw two nice touchdown passes to Dom Williams. The second one was a five-yard touchdown pass on a fade route. The score brought the tally to 20-17, still in favor of the Huskies.
The Cougars came up with a big stop on the Huskies' next possession. Washington State had a shot to take the lead in the final seven minutes, but Halliday threw a pass grossly behind his receiver and it was picked off by Gregory Ducre.
With a chance to end the drama, Sankey and the offensive line crushed the Cougars' hopes of a comeback. The junior from Spokane gashed Washington State's defense on the definitive drive. His presence helped set up Price's waltz into the end zone to put the game out of reach with 2:08 left in the game.
Grading the Key Players
How did the stars perform in the Apple Cup? Check out the grades.
Keith Price: B-
Price stopped turning the ball over in the second half, but the Huskies won along with him, not because of him on Friday. His 15-20, 180 yards, one touchdown and an interception marked what was just an adequate day.
Bishop Sankey: A+
Without Sankey's big-time performance, the Huskies wouldn't have won this game. He had a iron man-like 34 carries and a Superman-like 200 yards rushing with a score. In the process, he became the Huskies' all-time leader in rushing yards and touchdowns.
Sankey impressed everyone from NFL scouts to Washington football fans with this game.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins: B
The big, athletic tight end made the great touchdown catch, but he wasn't a major factor in the game. He had just two catches for 52 yards.
Washington State Cougars
Connor Halliday: B-
The Cougars quarterback showed off a beautiful touch on a handful of throws, but his pocket presence and poise under pressure left a little to be desired in the second half. He threw two picks, including the one that sealed the deal for the Huskies.
Halliday completed 32 of 59 passes for 282 yards and two scores to go with the two interceptions.