SEATTLE (NWN) — The third week of October is when it all could have been different in Washington state. If the cougars were ragged at that time of the season, there were easy underlying causes and explanations.
Rather, his determination became his strength. The Cougars won’t let the situation around former head coach Nick Rolovich be the definition of their season.
Because of that flexibility, Washington State still has a chance to win the Pac-12 North Division, going into an Apple Cup showdown with Washington on Friday. The Cougars are already eligible and will play in a bowl game for the sixth consecutive season, not counting the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season.
But if the Cougars can pull off a seven-game losing streak to Washington and Oregon State beats Oregon on Saturday, Washington State (6-5, 5-3 Pac-12) will be the North Division representative as opposed to the Pac-12 Championship Game. . Utah.
That scenario eventually begins to become a reality with the cougar taking care of his own business against the Huskies. But even that is likely unexpected, considering that’s where the cougars were barely a month ago.
“We understand what we’re in and what we can do,” said Washington State linebacker Justus Rogers. “But we just have to focus on this week and then let the chips fall as far as they can go.”
Interim head coach Jake Dickert has placed himself on a permanent job with the Cougars after the program was frozen following the dismissal of Rolovic for refusing to comply with the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
Washington State has gone 2-2 since Rolovich’s firing and last week’s 44-18 loss to Arizona ensured Bowl eligibility. Now trying to eliminate the long skid for the Huskies. His previous win over Washington was 2012. His most recent win at Husky Stadium: 2007.
“I think you can put unnecessary pressure on past pressures or understanding of what has happened in the past,” Dickert said. “This is our moment, ’21 team. We’re trying to be 1-0.”
Washington (4-7, 3-5) would not go to a bowl game, ensuring his first losing season since 2009 after a dramatic freefall. Washington began the season 20 in the NWN 25 pre-season poll and would end in the middle of his coaching quest with the school.
Following the suspension and subsequent firing of Jimmy Lake, Bob Gregory would lead the Husky for a third game as interim coach. While Washington has worked hard, losing to Arizona State and Colorado, there were several mistakes in both games that ended the Husky’s hopes of a postseason trip.
“These guys are working hard, making mistakes, but they’re working hard,” Gregory said. “Can’t ask these guys to play harder than they have.”
Last year was the first time since 1944 that schools did not play. The game was canceled due to the problem of COVID-19 cases within the Cougars program. Due to the cancellation and coaching this season, neither Rolovich nor Lake – both hired before the start of the 2020 season – ever served as head coach in the Apple Cup.
Last week at Washington State was a memorable final home game for the Cougars, leaving Max Borgi behind. Borghi ran for a career-high 139 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Arizona. It looks like the combo of Borgi and Dion McIntosh has the potential for a big game against the Huskies. Washington ranks 109th in the nation for allowing 192.2 yards per game on the field.
It has been a difficult second season for Washington’s Dylan Morris as the starting quarterback. There has been a clear regression from what Morris showed during the brief 2020 season and an ongoing list of mistakes that have cost the Huskies in several games.
With Morris struggling and bowling ability no longer possible, the Huskies are expected to call on Sam Huard afresh on the field against the Cougars. Huard has seen limited photos in the last three games this season.
The name Hobart is familiar enough to Apple Cup fans, but now has a different twist. Joey Hobert is a good wide receiver for the Cougars and had two blocked punts against Arizona last week, one of which went to safety. He is the son of Billy Joe Hobert, who played for Washington for three seasons and was the starting quarterback for the 1991 co-national championship team.
“The Apple Cup has obviously been a big part of my life from the other side, but I’m glad I’m with the Cougas this time around,” Hobert said.
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