Friday, December 3, 2010

Top five Cougar Apple Cup wins

By Kshell

In rivalry games each school has games they look back on with pride. In this blog post I'll examine the top five Cougar wins in the Apple Cup. Now I must remind people I'm in my mid 20's so you won't be seeing any games before the 1980's on this list. The Huskies may lead the all-time series 65-31-6 but the Cougars have had some memorable wins. In this following blog post I'll bring up the five victories for the Cougars that most Cougars would find as their favorite Apple Cup wins.

5. November 22nd, 2008: Washington Huskies(0-10,0-7) at Washington State Cougars(1-10,0-8)

The Washington Huskies came into this game 0-10 on the season, their coach was already fired but for some reason coaching the season out. The Huskies were also traveling on the road yet were favored by eight points. You see the team they were playing was perceived as the worst team in college football history. The Cougars were routinely giving up over 50 points a game under first year head coach Paul Wulff. This was a battle for the worst team in Pac-10 history.

The Huskies jumped out to a 10-0 at halftime behind running the football. It was looking like the Huskies were prove the nation the Cougars were the worst team in the nation. The Cougars would score a touchdown in the third quarter to close the score to 10-7. Then in the fourth quarter facing a fourth and three from the Cougars 37 yard line Huskies coach Tyrone Willingham decided to punt the ball despite the Huskies rushing for over 200 yards on the Cougars. A first down and the Huskies clinch the game but Willingham consertative until the last second he was no longer coach decided to punt. The Cougars would tie the score up to send this crapfest game into overtime.

In the first overtime each terrible team would settle for short field goals to force the game into second overtime. The Huskies Ryan Perkins would miss a short field goal in the second overtime proving he is no John Anderson. The Cougars Nico Grasu would kick the game winning 37 yard field goal to clinch the Cougars win. Paul Wulff would dance on the field like he just won the Super Bowl instead of just his second win. This win means so much for Cougar fans because it meant the Huskies would go 0-12. This game defines Tyrone Willinghams Huskies career and probably is the reason Wulff is still coaching at WSU.

4. November 19th, 1988: Washington Huskies(6-4,3-4) at Washington State Cougars(7-3,4-3)

This was a big game for both schools as the winner of this game was going to a bowl game. The Cougars were looking for their first bowl game since 1981 when they were denied an even bigger bowl game by the Huskies. The Huskies were having a terrible season by their standards and the worst season for Don James since 1976.

Led by second year head coach Dennis Erickson the Cougars found themselves trailing the Huskies 28-16 at halftime. The Cougars would rally to cut the lead to 28-26. After the Huskies would increase the lead to 31-26, the Cougars would score a touchdown setup by a block punt of the Huskies. The Cougars would take the lead 32-31 led by Timm Rosenbach who would account for 205 total yards.

The Cougars would leave the Huskies home for the holidays. While the Cougars would win in the Aloha bowl to go 9-3 on the season. They left the scoreboard lit up for the entire weekend which read Cougars 32, Huskies 31.

3.November 20th, 1982: #5 Washington Huskies(9-1,6-1) at Washington State Cougars(2-7-1, 1-4-1)

I talked about this game earlier in great detail. The Huskies needed this win to reach the Rose Bowl for the third consecutive year. The Huskies dominated the first half up 17-7 but found themselves in trouble when the Cougars in the second half scored back to back touchdowns to take the lead.

The Huskies would pull within 21-20 and Chuck Nelson who was 30 for 30 on field goals for the year missed a field goal for the first time all year. The Cougars would win the game 24-20 and knock the Huskies out of the Rose Bowl. This game is still the biggest upset in Apple Cup history. I have more on this game in an earlier blog post titled "Biggest upset in Apple Cup History: Flashback to 1982".

2. November 21st, 1992: #5 Washington Huskies(9-1,6-1) at #25 Washinton State Cougars(7-3,4-3)

This game is often referred to as "the snow bowl" which saw more snow in a single game than the Huskies had ever seen. The Huskies had plenty of players from California back then who had never seen snow in their lives. The Huskies were also the defending National Champions, heading to their third straight Rose Bowl and had lost just three games in their previous 36 games. The Huskies were also facing a scandal and future #1 draft pick Drew Bledsoe who wanted to exact some revenge from losing in 1990 in Pullman 55-10 and in Seattle in 1991 56-21.

The Cougars trailed at halftime to the Huskies 7-6 but would erupt in the third quarter scoring on four straight possessions scoring 29 points in the quarter. Bledsoe would pass for 259 yards in his last game in Pullman. While running back Shaumbe Wright-Fair ran for 194 on 22 carries with three touchdowns. The Cougars were used to the snow while the Huskies were not.

The Cougars would beat the Huskies for the first time since 1988 42-23. The Cougars would go on to a bowl game which saw them win the Copper Bowl finishing the year 9-3 and ranked 15th in the nation.

1. November 22nd, 1997: #11 Washington State Cougars(9-1,6-1) at #17 Washington Huskies(7-3,5-2)

This game unlike any other win for the Cougars actually has meaning to their program. For the first time in their history this game was bigger than the Huskies. If the Cougars win they go to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1931. The Cougars who were picked to take seventh place heading into the year led by Ryan Leaf who would finish third in the heisman did something nobody thought possible.

After trailing early 7-0 the Cougars took a 24-7 lead midway through the third quarter. The Huskies would rally to make the game 24-21. This was a high scoring game for both teams that saw Husky quarterback Brock Huard throw four touchdown passes but also throw for five interceptions. The Cougars would eventually increase their lead 41-28, they would finally hang on for a 41-35 victory. They won in Seattle for the first time in 12 years but most importantly for Cougar nation they clinched a trip to the Rose Bowl.

The player of the game of course was Ryan Leaf who would throw for 358 yards and three touchdowns. Leaf clinched his legacy for the Cougars by beating the Huskies in Seattle to clinch the Rose Bowl. Although he turned into the NFL's biggest draft bust in history in college he had a terrific 1997 season. The Cougars would go on to lose the Rose Bowl to eventual National Champion Michigan 21-16 which had it's own fair share of controversy. The Cougars were denied a final two seconds that they should have got. The only game in my life I rooted for WSU was that Rose Bowl.

Well there you have it the top five Cougar Apple Cup victories. I'm sure Husky fans hate me by now for writing this but hope they keep level heads. As for Cougar fans I threw you a few bones this week so don't put me in the Softy category as huge Husky homer. I try to stay level headed and these games although they hurt me must have felt great for Cougar nation especially the 1997 game which was bigger than beating the Huskies.

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