University of Washington

Apple Cup Preview: UW’s running backs vs. WSU’s running backs

Washington State Jamal Morrow may not have a ton of rushing yards but he’s proven to be an effective receiver out of the backfield.
Washington State Jamal Morrow may not have a ton of rushing yards but he’s proven to be an effective receiver out of the backfield. The Associated Press

Offense comes with the territory as it relates to Washington and Washington State.

The Huskies (9-2, 6-2) are the No. 21 offense in the nation while the Cougars (9-2, 6-2) are tied for 37th with Mississippi.

Each team does it differently. UW has uses a balanced attack whereas WSU does its damage with its air-raid scheme.

Running backs are part of both offenses but each scheme requires something different out of the position.

With The Apple Cup only a few days away, the News Tribune continues to preview what the Cougars and Huskies have at each position group.

MAKING A CASE FOR THE HUSKIES

UW’s rushing attack has arguably become the offense’s most consistent feature.

Senior Lavon Coleman and junior Myles Gaskin have given the Huskies a steady combination. Coleman, who has rushed for 378 yards, is a power back capable of wearing down opponents. Gaskin, who has ran for 1,090 yards, is a featured back who can punish defenses with his agility, power and speed.

Perhaps the most undervalued trait Coleman and Gaskin bring to the offense is their receiving ability. UW has tried to spread the ball and both running backs have proven to be reliable options. Coleman has 155 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Gaskin accounts for 228 yards and three touchdowns.

MAKING A CASE FOR THE COUGARS

At first glance, it appears there’s not much of a case to be made. The Cougars are the second-worst rushing offense in America behind Western Kentucky.

That’s mainly due to WSU running a pass-happy scheme which uses the running game here and there.

Senior Jamal Morrow and sophomore James Williams haven’t rushed for a ton of yards. They are, however, frustrating for any defense trying to stop WSU’s passing attack. Morrow has 46 catches for 403 yards while Williams has 59 receptions and 383 yards.

THE WINNER IS...

It’s a tie and with good reason. UW’s running backs work within designed system built for balance. WSU’s personnel can run when asked yet their value is as receivers which is just as vital.

Ryan S. Clark: @ryan_s_clark

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