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WSU vs. Washington football reaction: Cougars must stop Huskies' counter runs

The Washington State Cougars must be active in stopping the Washington Huskies' use of the counter run game in Friday's Apple Cup.

William Mancebo

One of the keys for the Washington State Cougars against the Washington Huskies for Friday's Apple Cup will be containing running back Bishop Sankey. The sophomore running back has 1,156 yards and 13 touchdowns for the Huskies this year, and his recent success has been thanks to the counter run schemes that Steve Sarkisian's team employs.

According to's Brian J. Anderson, it'll be up to WSU's defensive physicality to stop the counters:

In establishing a running game, the counter for UW will be a focal point. They are very comfortable running it from a variety of formations and it serves as a basis for a lot of their play action. If they can get lineman to the second level on Coug linebackers, only Deone Bucannon and Casey Locker separate Bishop Sankey from massive yardage and a touchdown.

With Keith Price snapping the ball under center in a single-back formation, Washington sometimes pulls a guard across the line of scrimmage to block for Sankey. In a two-back, shotgun formation, the Huskies will use a blocking back to pave the way for Sankey at the line and send the offensive linemen downfield to block at the second level.

If the Cougars want to find success against UW run game, the defensive tackles must get a push in the middle with the ends not overrunning the outsides, Anderson writes. Then, the Cougar linebackers must fill the right gaps and handle any downfield blocking by the UW offensive line.