Gaskin, No. 17 Washington run over No. 13 Washington State
SEATTLE — With embarrassing ease, running back Myles Gaskin made cornerback Sean Harper Jr. whiff at the line of scrimmage. Cutting to the sideline, only safety Hunter Dale stood between the Washington running back and the end zone.
Dale made a hopeless dive at Gaskin’s ankles, a common occurrence on the night, as Gaskin leapt from the two-yard line for the corner of the front pylon for his third touchdown on the night. The hyped up Gaskin stood up and started a full sprint for the Huskies sideline, leaving quarterback Jake Browning hanging for a celebratory body bump.
The score put Washington up 34-0 in the third quarter, all but drowning out Washington State’s Pac-12 championship dreams in the heavy Montlake rain Saturday night at Husky Stadium.
It was the third of Gaskins’ four touchdowns as the junior running back ran for 192 yards as the No. 17 Washington Huskies, dominated No. 13 Washington State 41-14 in the 2017 edition of the Apple Cup.
“Oh yeah, that was one was cool,” Gaskin said of the run. “I didn’t know if I was gonna get in there, he missed the tackle, so I said I gotta make it happen.”
Washington State needed a win to clinch the Pac-12 North, but instead Stanford, which upset Notre Dame, is the major beneficiary of the result. The Cardinal will play USC in the Pac-12 championship game.
Instead of a seamless Air Raid offense going punch for punch with the Huskies, Cougars quarterback Luke Falk found himself under the relentless pressure of a three-man Washington pass rush and eight-man coverage scheme. The Huskies dropped Falk five times for sacks and picked him three times.
“You turn it over four times, it’s a bad night,” Falk said. “I don’t think I played that well. I had to give my team a chance.”
Gaskin created a highlight reel of making tacklers miss, making his outstanding performance look easy.
His 2-yard touchdown scamper finished a five-minute, 75-yard touchdown drive to open the game. Gaskin’s second touchdown, also a 2-yard score, capped an impressive 93-yard march down the field in which he contributed 70 yards, including a 43-yard dash, to put Washington (10-2, 7-2) in control at 21-0 in the second quarter.
His fourth touchdown answered the only score of the night by Washington State’s (9-3, 6-3), making it 41-7.
Browning threw for 93 yards and moves to 3-0 in Apple Cups.
Much-maligned Washington kicker Tristan Vizcaino took advantage of the momentum of his game-winning kick last week at Utah and hit his only two attempts (44 and 34 yards) on the night.
Falk, the leading passer in Pac-12 history threw for 369 yards, only finding the end zone in garbage time.
“I saw about three different Luke Falks today,” Washington State coach Mike Leach said. “I saw the first half guy which that guy was a complete stranger. I saw the middle of the game, that’s a guy struggling to get on track, which i thought he courageously did. Then I saw the Luke Falk at the end, that’s the guy I’m a lot more familiar with.”
Jamal Morrow put WSU on the board with a two-yard touchdown run at the end of an 88-yard drive which padded Falk’s stat-line. Falk hit Tay Martin for 33 yards down the left sideline with 2:48 left in the game for his only touchdown pass.
Washington’s record-breaking punt returner and leading receiver Dante Pettis left the game in the first quarter with an apparent ankle injury.
Washington is a long-shot to qualify for a New Year’s Six bowl, although the Alamo Bowl was in attendance at Husky Stadium and is the type of game Washington could potentially expect to play in with a group of seniors that have won 37 games since Chris Petersen started at Washington in 2014.
“They’re great guys to coach, that’s what we’re always feeling,” Petersen said. “We know we have a good team. We’ll play somebody who is good in our bowl game, I know we’ll get matched up with a really good opponent.”
NOTES: Washington notches back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time since doing it three years in a row in 1990-92. ... QB Luke Falk’s struggles in the Apple Cup continued, and he ends his Wazzu career with eight interceptions in the rivalry series. ... RB Myles Gaskin’s 192 yards is the 20th 100-yard effort of his UW career, one shy of Chris Polk’s program record. ... Washington State was shut out in the first half of the Apple Cup for the fourth time since 2008. ... Washington State has now lost the opportunity to clinch the Pac-12 North in the Apple Cup two years in a row. ... Washington went undefeated at home for the first time since 2001.