APPLE CUP 2013: Stopping Sankey Will Be Key For WSU - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

APPLE CUP 2013: Stopping Sankey Will Be Key For WSU

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Washington’s Bishop Sankey carries on a three-yard touchdown run against California Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Seattle. (Photo courtesy the Spokesman Review) Washington’s Bishop Sankey carries on a three-yard touchdown run against California Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Seattle. (Photo courtesy the Spokesman Review)

FROM JACOB THORPE FROM THE SPOKESMAN: Four years ago Washington State football coach Paul Wulff couldn't stop Bishop Sankey from switching his pledge at the last minute to play running back for the University of Washington.

Whether or not the Cougars (6-5, 4-4 Pac-12) can stop Sankey today will likely determine whether or not they are able to beat UW (7-4, 4-4 Pac-12) in the Apple Cup, and possibly if they will attend their first bowl game since 2003.

Sankey, now a junior, leads the Pac-12 with 1,575 rushing yards this season, and is on pace to break Corey Dillon's school rushing record of 1,695. His ability to do so against his would-be former teammates will go a long way in deciding who wins the state's regular season-ending rivalry game.

"They feed off of him. If he's out there and he's shredding the defense, he's getting the looks that he needs, the offensive line is working for him, I feel the offense rallies off that," safety Deone Bucannon said. "He's definitely going to be a key player that we need to focus in on and stop."

The Cougars held Sankey in check the last time the teams played, holding the running back to just 84 yards on 26 carries. That defensive performance was critical in WSU's 31-28 win, which coach Mike Leach considers a springboard to the Cougars' success this season.

"I thought it was important, I thought it energized our offseason and it was a win over a quality opponent," Leach said. "I think most importantly it revealed some of the potential that we had." CLICK HERE TO READ MORE: http://tinyurl.com/lt778ln

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