Can either team start fast in Apple Cup?

A FAST START. It's been so long, Coug fans might have forgotten what one looks like. But the Cougars' opponent in the Apple Cup offers some potentially positive news in that area.

The problem for the Cougars in the vast majority of games this season has been falling behind by a large margin early and trying to play catchup. If that continues against UW, it could be another long day. Over the last three games, WSU has been outscored 100-7 in the first half.

But the Huskies' blueprint this season hasn't been a fast start.

Washington has been outscored in the first quarter this season by a margin of 66-54.

Over the first 15 minutes, the Huskies have averaged 4.9 points per game.

For the Cougs, you have to go back to the Colorado game to find the only contest this season WSU scored on their opening drive on offense. And you have to go back to the early part of the season to find a game where WSU scored touchdowns on both its second and third possessions (UNLV, Eastern).

Washington's best quarters have been the second and third, where they've scored 80 and 72 points, respectively.

In overall scoring, despite seven wins, the Huskies have outscored opponents by just three points, holding a 258-255 edge.

IF WSU IS to start fast on Friday, they'll need their offensive line to hold their own.

WSU quarterbacks were sacked seven times against ASU, and the Cougs have allowed 53 on this season. More telling than that has been the number of times that WSU quarterbacks have had the most rushes in a game (4).

Cougar running backs carried the ball but 10 times against ASU. Still, that's more than they did against Utah (5) and Stanford (6). Cougar backs also had 10 carries in the BYU game.

Mike Leach's offense is never going to feature a ton of carries by its running backs -- it's not designed that way. But WSU is averaging just 13 carries a game by its 'backs this season. And that's too few, even for the Air Raid.

In 2008, when Texas Tech went 11-1 under Mike Leach in the regular season, the running backs that season averaged 21 carries per game.

Cougfan Top Stories