Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange

November 20, 2018 at 10:39 pm.

Huskies stand in the way of Cougars’ goals

Washington State coach Mike Leach is 1-5 against rival Washington in the Apple Cup with the Cougars losing the last five meetings.

He does not look at Washington with disdain, however. Leach is most notably respectful of Washington coach Chris Petersen.

“He’s just a great guy,” Leach said during a Monday news conference. “He’s a good guy, he’s the guy that the teachers probably always liked and got to school early, got his homework done early. And your parents would occasionally say, ‘Why can’t you be more like the Petersen boy?'”

Pleasantries will not last into Saturday, when the No. 8 Cougars (10-1, 7-1 Pac-12) host the Huskies (8-3, 6-2) for the Pac-12 North title and a spot in the conference championship game against South champion Utah Nov. 30 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

Petersen said of Leach during his Monday press conference: “He just does it his way. I think there’s a lot of ways to skin a cat, obviously. I think he believes in his way. I think he’s a really smart guy, and he sticks to the script and he can weather the storm. He just perseveres and comes through it.”

Leach’s lone win in the Apple Cup was in 2012, his first season with the Cougars. That win was Washington State’s only conference victory that season. Andrew Furney made a 27-yard field goal in overtime and then Toni Pole made an interception of Washington quarterback Keith Price to preserve the win.

Petersen has not lost to Leach since arriving in Seattle from Boise State in 2013. He is 4-0 against the Cougars with a 23.8 points-per-game margin.

That has not affected the bond between Leach and Petersen.

“We’re pretty good friends,” Leach said. “(I) knew him first when he was in Boise, knew a lot of people in common. Didn’t know each other well.”

For the second week in a row, Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew II faces another quarterback who was a preseason Heisman candidate but now looks up to Minshew and his Heisman aspirations. Last week, it was Arizona’s Khalil Tate. This Saturday, it’s Washington’s Jake Browning.