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No. 13 Washington, rival Washington State vie for Apple Cup – KX NEWS

Washington State ended a seven-game slip in the Apple Cup last season and is looking to turn No. 13 Washington’s season on its head when the bitter rivals clash in Saturday night’s Pac-12 game in Pullman, Wash.

The Huskies (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12) still have a shot at making the conference title game, but a loss would end that pursuit.

Washington is coming in on a five-game winning streak, but freshman-year coach Kalen DeBoer has noticed that a coveted piece of hardware is missing.

“We definitely don’t have that trophy in our trophy cabinet right now,” DeBoer said. “I know it means a lot. It’s one of those two games that circles the entire Husky Nation every year and we’re looking forward to a great week. I think we’re playing for a lot of things, it’s not just this trophy.”

DeBoer has set the school record for most first-year wins by a coach and was rewarded Tuesday with a contract extension through the 2028 season. His salary for next season was increased by $1 million to $4.2, followed by annual increases of $100,000.

A large part of Washington’s rise can be attributed to the stellar season put together by Indiana transfer quarterback Michael Penix Jr.

Penix leads the nation with 3,869 passing yards, which ranks second in school history behind Cody Pickett’s 4,458 yards in 2002. Penix has thrown 26 touchdowns against six interceptions.

Penix passes on praise in the same way as its 66.7 completion rate.

“My season would not be possible without this team,” said Penix. “I’m not really just talking about myself in general. It’s always about that team, because team success would definitely shed light on individual success.”

“At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what you do as an individual, if your team doesn’t win it’s no good.”

Washington State (7-4, 4-4) has won three straight games as it looks to beat the Huskies for the first time in consecutive seasons since 2007-08.

The Cougars have won just six of the last 23 Apple Cups but put on a dominating show last season when they won 40-13 in Seattle. Washington State intercepted four passes and held Washington for just 200 yards.

“I thought they were playing for nothing,” Cougars coach Jake Dickert said of the impressive win. “I thought that’s a big deal in a rivalry game, in a supposedly big moment. The boys need to loosen up and be themselves and have fun and understand that it’s going to be a little cheesy. … Enjoy the moment. Be there.”

This is the first Apple Cup for Washington State quarterback Cameron Ward, who has rushed for 2,772 yards, 21 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season.

While he said he’s eager to add his name to the list of quarterbacks who have won the Apple Cup, he also insisted that Saturday’s matchup was no bigger than any other game.

“There’s a lot of energy around the building,” Ward said. “Especially for me, it’s just another game. I try to approach every game the same way. This game has had a bigger day and history and we want to win it for Washington State and all the cougs out there.”

Washington State ranks 23rd in defense with 19.8 points per game, with star linebacker Daiyan Henley (102 tackles, 12 for losses) leading the way.

–Field level media

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