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3-2-1, football: The Daily’s primer on Washington State

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Minshew

Set for maybe the most consequential Apple Cup in recent memory, the No. 16 Washington football team will play for a Pac-12 North title against No. 8 Washington State at Martin Stadium in Pullman. Before the Huskies take on the Cougars this weekend, read up on WSU’s season so far.

3 numbers to know

9: After the departure of Cody “The Continent” O’Connell last season, the Cougars have put together maybe their best offensive line in school history, at least statistically. Through 11 games this season, Washington State’s front has only allowed nine sacks. Quarterback Gardner Minshew has thrown 578 pass attempts, so the fact that the offensive line has protected him the way they have this season makes this offense even more dangerous.

If the Huskies can’t find a way to pressure Minshew, they could be in for a long night.

0-4: WSU coach Mike Leach has never beaten Chris Petersen. In the past four years, the Huskies have outscored Washington State 162-54, with the Cougars never having scored more than 20 points against Washington’s top-ranked defense.

Just take last season for example, Washington State was going into the game with a chance to make the Pac-12 Championship game, and Washington was just hoping to play spoiler. It turned into a route quickly, as the Huskies rushed for 328 yards, and the Cougars rushed for -24. This year could be different, and it’ll be interesting to see if Leach can finally figure out that UW defense.

125.5: In years past, Myles Gaskin and co. have gashed the Cougars for a ton of yards, controlling the tempo of the game and pounding the Washington State defense in dominating fashion. This year, Washington State’s rush defense is definitely not a weak point, they give up just 125.5 rushing yards per game, good for No. 23 nationally.

For reference, the Huskies give up 125.2 rushing yards per game, good for No. 22 nationally. If the Cougs can stop the UW run, the Washington offense will be in trouble.

2 players to watch

Gardner Minshew - QB

You can’t discuss Washington State this season without mentioning Minshew’s Magic Mustache. When we talked with Ryan Mosher of the Daily Evergreen earlier this week, Mosher said that maybe over a third of the stadium will be wearing mustaches as they have embraced the senior graduate transfer from East Carolina.

On the field, Minshew has thrown for over 4,000 yards, 36 touchdowns, and just seven interceptions. In his latest game against Arizona, he threw for seven touchdown passes, a school record in a single game. The Cougar offense will run through Minshew, and when he’s on his game, opposing defenses are in trouble.

Peyton Pelluer - LB

The sixth-year senior was granted one more year by the NCAA after suffering a season-ending injury last season, and he’s come back strong for WSU. He leads the team with 76 total tackles, and also ranks near the top on the roster with 7.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks.

The stalwart of that WSU defense, Pelluer is the surefire leader on that end, and will look to cap off his career at Washington State with a win over the Huskies.

1 recap of last week

In maybe its most dominant offensive performance all season, Washington State hung 69  points on Arizona last week, with 55 of those in the first half. Minshew threw for a school record seven touchdowns, and 473 yards.

While the offensive end looked good, the Cougars did struggle on the defensive side of the ball against Khalil Tate and the Wildcats, giving up over 400 yards of total offense and 28 points. However, they did force four Arizona turnovers, including three fumbles and one interception.

Reach Assistant Sports Editor Alec Dietz at sports@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @AlecDietz

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