The mistake-riddled Cougars (8-4, 6-3 Pac-12) had their worst performance since the shocking season-opening loss to FCS Portland State. What was a competitive game through the middle of the third quarter got completely out of hand as Washington scored two of its three defensive touchdowns during the fourth quarter.
Washington State looked nothing like the confident, effective team of the last month. How much of it had to do with the loss of quarterback Luke Falk is impossible to quantify, but certainly it had an impact.
With Falk sidelined after suffering an injury last week against Colorado, Peyton Bender made his first career start. Bender had some good moments early, but like the Cougars overall, slipped as the game progressed. The second-year freshman completed 36 of 58 passses for 288 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions..
What killed the Cougars more than anything were seven turnovers. Washington returned three for touchdowns, and all totaled turned the WSU mistakes into 28 points. The Cougars converted their lone turnover into a touchdown.
Washington State led 3-0 after scoring on its opening drive, then didn't score again until the Huskies built a 24-3 lead midway through the third quarter.
The Cougars' lone touchdown came with 4:14 left in the third quarter, when Bender hit Dom Williams with a 1-yard pass, trimming UW's lead to 24-10.
But Washington piled on in the fourth quarter, scoring three times.
Washington outgained WSU 443-319. The Cougars ran the ball only 12 times. The Huskies' Myles Gaskin ran 32 times for 138 yards and two scores.
Robert Lewis and Gabe Marks led WSU with seven receptions each. Eleven different Cougars caught passes.
Next up for Washington State is awaiting the bowl selection process. Despite the loss, this is the Cougars best season since 2003, so the Apple Cup shouldn't completely kill the team or fan's spirit.
Much, much more Apple Cup coverage coming in hours to come at Cougfan.com,, including video, analysis and photos. Come back and check it out.