Friday’s NCAAF Game of the Day: Washington at Washington State

(No. 5) Washington at (No. 23) Washington State (6, 64)

It has been a long time since the Apple Cup packed such importance and No. 5 Washington and No. 23 Washington State square off in a duel for the Pac-12 North Division crown when they meet on Friday in Pullman. The last time the two rivals were both ranked when they met was in 2001 – a 26-14 win for the Huskies – and visiting Washington’s national championship hopes hang in the balance as well as attempting to secure a spot in the Pac-12 title game.

The Huskies are thriving in Chris Petersen’s third season at the helm and the coach expects his team to handle the ferocious atmosphere on game day. “I just think they’ve really been invested this whole year, every game, and I think that’s what you’ve kind of seen, but it’ll be exciting,” Petersen said during a press conference. “They get the rivalry. They get that we’re playing a heck of a team in a really hostile situation.” The Cougars had an eight-game winning streak halted with a 38-24 road loss to Colorado on Saturday and are itching for the opportunity to rebound with a huge victory. “This is a feeling we haven’t had in a while, and we don’t want it again,” senior defensive back Parker Henry said. “We’ve got no choice but to flush it.”

TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, FOX. 

LINE HISTORY: The Huskies opened as 5.5-point road favorites, that spread was bet up early in the week to 6.5, the line faded down to 6 and has held firm. The total hit the board at 66 and has yet to move.  Check out the complete line history here.

INJURY REPORT

WASHINGTON – WR Brayden Lenius (questionable, undisclosed)

WASHINGTON STATE – LB Isaac Dotson (questionable, undisclosed)

WEATHER REPORT: The playing conditions at Martin Stadium are expected to be rainy. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-40’s with winds coming out of the Southeast at 9 mph.

WHAT SHARPS SAY: “Despite a strong season by both teams, going a combined 18-4 SU, these squads are just 11-11 ATS overall.  These two teams are a combined 15-7 to the Over this season as both offenses have been strong.  The Huskies are averaging 50.5 points and 571 total yards per game (8.3 yppl) on the road, while the Cougars are averaging 50.2 points and 550 total yards per game (6.6 yppl) at home this season.” – Covers Expert Steve Merril.

CHEERLEADER WAR:


ABOUT WASHINGTON (10-1 SU, 5-6 ATS, 8-3 O/U): Sophomore quarterback Jake Browning fueled the Huskies’ rise with his superb play that includes a school-record 37 touchdown passes to go with 2,870 yards and only seven interceptions. Two junior big-play wideouts have certainly aided his production as both John Ross (64 receptions for 991 yards and 15 touchdowns) and Dante Pettis (46 for 701, 12 scores) are enjoying solid campaigns, as is sophomore running back Myles Gaskin (1,130 yards, nine touchdowns). The defense has lost key players in linebackers Azeem Victor (67 tackles) and Joe Mathis (five sacks) with season-ending injuries while junior inside linebacker Keishawn Bierria leads the nation with five fumble recoveries.

ABOUT WASHINGTON STATE (8-3 SU, 6-5 ATS, 7-4 O/U): Junior quarterback Luke Falk is enjoying his own splendid season with 35 touchdowns passes (three off the school record he set last season) and he ranks third nationally with 3,935 passing yards. Senior receiver Gabe Marks (74 catches, 12 touchdowns) became the 13th player in FBS history to top 300 career receptions – he stands at 301 – and his 36 career touchdown catches are five shy of the Pac-12 record held by USC’s Dwayne Jarrett (2004-06). Senior free safety Shalom Luani has a team-best four interceptions and junior middle linebacker Peyton Pelluer has a team-leading 80 tackles for a defense allowing 25.5 points per game.

TRENDS:

* Huskies are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Friday games.
* Cougars are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up loss.
* Cougars are 9-2 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
* Over is 8-2 in Huskies last 10 conference games.
* Over is 4-1 in Cougars last 5 games overall.

COVERS CONSENSUS: 59 percent of Covers users are taking the road favorite while 70 percent favor the over in this battle of top 25 teams. View full Covers Consensus here.

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