As the No. 8 Washington State Cougars (10-1, 7-1) head into Friday’s Apple Cup hosting of No. 16 Washington (8-3, 7-1), standout senior Peyton Pelluer admits his desire to settle a score as the sixth-year linebacker has never beaten UW.
“That’s a fact,” Pelluer said when prompted the question.
Pelluer had taken down Utah and Oregon State in 2014. Then Oregon, both Arizona schools, UCLA and Colorado in 2015. He followed that up with a clean sweep of Silicon Valley in 2016, and lastly an immortal trounce on the then-No. 5 ranked USC Trojans a year later.
Since Pelluer’s Cougar debut in 2014, the defensive captain has stamped every subsequent Pac-12 program not coached by Chris Peterson – some may times over – with a loss.
“At the end of the day, it’s another game. We gotta go one-and-0. That’s what we’re gonna focus on, and we’re gonna take it one day at a time, get better, and prepare,” Pelluer said. “We all know what this game means for this program and for Bowl applications, but it’s just another week and we’re gonna get after it.”
Dropping the term “revenge” on occasion, Pelluer is one of the few players on any Mike Leach roster that dares admit emotion plays a factor in how he takes the field. Though, it seems his Martin Stadium finale has aligned with his head coach taking it “one game at a time.”
In years past, Washington State has looked upon their season as monolith with Washington at it’s peak. It has lead to hesitant, tight, and sporadic play at best Pelluer said.
“The good thing about this group is we play loose no matter what. I feel like we have more fun playing this game.”Peyton Pelluer
And for the third year in a row, the in-state rivalry holds the north conference title on the line; a decoration WSU is yet to boast. Recent matchups have been equally uncompetitive as they were important, but don’t expect another barnburner Friday night.
“I feel like past couple years we have been out physicaled,” Pelluer said. “That’s just my blunt observation.”
Like the Men of Troy before them, Washington will see mirror images across the line of scrimmage. A foe whose physical and athletic measurables strike on par with their own. The disparity between both programs will be reduced to execution and coaching; raw talent is hardly a worthwhile discussion.
“It’s gonna be a dog fight. No pun intended.” Pelluer said.
Behind Pelluer’s lead, the outgoing class has lead WSU to the greatest 4-year stretch in program history winning 36 games and counting since 2015. But more importantly, they appear to love Washington State and football – often in that order.
Even before the Apple Cup clash, the Sammamish native has already cemented himself in Cougar lore as the all-time leader in games played (53) complimented by an unfinished 330 total tackles (188 solo, 32 for loss).
Kickoff is set for 5:30 P.M. Live coverage of the action can be found on FOX.