The Apple Cup provided rare joy for Washington State fans, absolute pain for Washington fans, and a reminder of why college football can be so great.
1. It's very rare to find yourself rooting openly for other teams in sports. I mean, I'm sure you'll have rooting interests (primarily based on your bets or your fantasy players).
But damnit, Washington State has been so bad for so long, and this year of great expectations has been one game after another of egg to the face. If you root for a crappy team in 2012, imagine the suffering your team has put you through this year, then multiply it by a decade. That's how long the Cougars have been bad, how long those passionate fans up in Pullman have had to deal with rooting for a mediocre to terrible to downright horrifying team. Washington State has lost by six or more touchdowns at least 7000 times in the past six years, so it's been lean times to find good things to talk about when it comes to the Cougars.
So when the Cougars started mounting that improbable comeback, and started holding down Washington, and somehow shut them down offensively, and rallied from three scores and got all three,and then got that field goal miss, and then nearly got a walkoff fat guy pick-six, and were doing all this without Travis Long ... I mean, it was hard not to break out and go full Wazzu.
Keep going at it Cougs. One of these years, you're going to be winning more than a game or two here and there.
2. Brian Floyd of CougCenter was on the scene, and wrote this excellent account of the Apple Cup.
As Travis Coons stood over a 35-yard attempt, I could picture how it all would end. The field goal would split the uprights, Washington fans would pile out of their seats and onto the field in the east end zone, and that would be that.
Have you ever watched something happen in front of you, still believing it wasn't real? No, I'm not talking about the field goal. I'm talking about the WSU student section ripping metal benches from their concrete supports and crowd-surfing them up to the top of the stands. This really happened, and it was surreal to see.
Kidding aside, I figured there would be a flag or something on the field as Coons' field goal attempt sailed wide right. It never had a chance, and the sound in the stadium was something to behold. A wall of noise, a sea of people moving and gyrating, a cannon blasting in the background. They shot the cannon off. I can't make this up. It felt like the game was over, even if overtime was ahead.
I never should've underestimated you. The crowd filled in, save for the top corner of the student section. And I didn't notice it until I was on the field with time winding down, but the "alumni side" was packed and loud. As I turned around to survey the scene, a full crowd greeted me in full throat, on its feet and making plenty of noise. You guys brought it.
After the game, Mike Leach and the team complimented the crowd over and over. Players talked about how the energy of the fans kept them pushing through, propelling them to a comeback. And as the Cougars mounted a comeback, the noise level and energy inside Martin Stadium rose.
3. Ben Knibbe of UW Dawg Pound is quick to point toward one of the worst offensive line performances in modern Husky history.
The line was bad. Really bad. Run-blocking, their strength, was better than the pass blocking; it certainly couldn't have been worse. Sankey consistently was hit in the backfield or at the line of scrimmage. Running backs need to be able to get through the line of scrimmage to consistently gain yards. One example of what went wrong was the Price fumble. The defensive tackle ran right through the line and hit Price as he was extending to hand the ball off. That is the type of run-blocking Sankey gained 84 yards behind.
4. Crazy stat #1: Washington ended the game with 17 first downs and 18 penalties, and every penalty cost Washington dearly, as Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reports.
Washington was also called for personal fouls and pass interference on defense, which drew the ire of defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox.
"When you get three 15-yard penalties on drives, it's hard to keep them from scoring," he said. "You've got to play with proper technique and know when to knock the ball out and not hit the quarterback high. It's all of those things. When you have those types of big penalties it's hard to stop a team from scoring."
5. Crazy stat #2: Washington State scored three rushing touchdowns on the game. They had three rushing touchdowns all season before this game.
So you're telling me Mike Leach won an overtime game without his team throwing any touchdown passes?— Jason Kirk (@JasonKirkSBN) November 24, 2012
6. Christian Caple talked about the Cougars rallied behind the injured Travis Long and used him as a rally to arms.
So his teammates rallied around him. Played for him. And made sure that afterward, in the locker room, the Apple Cup trophy found its way into Long’s hands.
That was the plan all along.
"He works the hardest out of anyone and has the greatest passion for the game that you’ve ever seen," said sophomore linebacker Logan Mayes, who started in Long’s place. "We won the game and we handed him the trophy. That’s all we wanted to do."
7. Video highlights!
8. After a season like this, rushing the field seems totally apropos.
9. Thanks to Washington State, the Pac-12 circle of life is complete once again (click for bigger image).
Your transitive property will prove that yes, Colorado, you have a shot at Pasadena.
10. GIF of the week courtesy of CougCenter (aren't these guys great? Click on image if having trouble viewing the animated GIF.)
GIF of the week in real time? Listen, soon-to-be-fired UW assistant coach, this ain't good (click on image for animated GIF)
And finally, nearly the greatest fat guy touchdown in fat guy history.
Again, click on these images to view the animation!
Kids are the best.
Young UW fan tried to walk and stare down WSU fans in the RV lot. Walked straight into a pole.— Brian Floyd (@BrianMFloyd) November 23, 2012
And your obligatory Mike Leach mention.
Mike Leach just got $25,000 richer. Straight cash homey.— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) November 24, 2012
Guess what he spent his bonus on?
Mike Leach apparently opened a tab at Valhalla for the fans. First drinks on him. — Brian Floyd (@BrianMFloyd) November 24, 2012
12. Where do the Washington Huskies go from here with Steve Sarkisian? Obviously the Huskies looked good at times and got up for big name opponents, toppling Stanford and Oregon State at home. Justin Wilcox helped UW's defense play over their heads on multiple occasions, and Washington seemed all set to finish in a flourish.
But again there were too many inconsistent moments. Wilcox got overwhelmed by spread option offenses in Oregon and Arizona. The offense has taken clear steps back, with the O-line never looking worse. And Keith Price, where have you gone. The Washington pass attack was one of the strongest in the conference last season, but it has taken multiple steps back. All these deficiencies capped in a
There will be a lot of soul-searching this offseason for Washington, who now need to recruit like here and get the best players possible up to Seattle. Sarkisian still has yet to win more than seven games in the regular season at UDub. That type of record might not be good enough for the donors for 2013.