Warning: There is nothing unbiased about this Apple Cup blog...I LOVE THE COUGS!!!
The Cougars are Apple Cup champions for the fourth time in the last five years...and they did it in dramatic fashion. It doesn't take away all the pain of a terrible season, but it sure does help (at least I think so).
Honestly, the game was pretty boring until the last minute of regulation and into overtime. Trailing 10-7, the Cougars needed to march 80 yards for a touchdown...a little less for a game tying field goal. The biggest play of the drive was a 48 yard pass play (to the UW 18) to freshman (and Ferris High graduate) Jared Karstetter with 24 seconds to play (a play that will go down in Apple Cup history). That catch set up Nico Grasu for a 28 yard field goal as time expired to send the game to overtime.
The two teams traded field goals in the first overtime. Then, the Cougar defense held Washington scoreless in the second. That allowed Grasu to come in and drill a 38 yarder for the 16-13 victory.
There was no better sight in the world. Paul Wulff was jumping through the air in celebration, the players were smiling and laughing, and the fans poured onto the field. I was bouncing all over the newsroom like an idiot...and I didn't care. No matter how crazy my day got at work (it was another busy Saturday)...nothing was going to prevent me from having a great day.
We are one of the worst college football teams in the country, but we are not the worst (sorry Husky fans)!
Before I move on...I just want to say that I loved the all crimson jerseys. Those were awesome!
Thank goodness Washington's kickers stink. The Huskies were just two-for-five on field goal attempts today. Jared Ballmer and Ryan Perkins both missed makeable kicks in the fourth quarter (Ballmer from 40 yards; Perkins from 28 yards with 3:24 left in regulation). Had they been on target...the outcome would have been much different.
The Cougar defense deserves a lot of credit today. The 13 points allowed was the fewest since the nine they allowed to Portland State on September 20th. Yes, Wazzu did give up 224 yards on the ground, including 112 yards by Willie Griffin (listed third on the depth chart). On the other hand, the Cougars allowed just 99 yards through the air. That's a stat to be proud of.
Offensively, Washington State looked better than they have in a while (especially on the ground). The Cougs picked up 171 rushing yards...a huge chunk of that was gained on Legwone Mitz's 57 yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Kevin Lopina also did a good job of running the offense (J.T. Levenseller didn't take a snap). Lopina still hasn't thrown a touchdown pass this year (he was intercepted once today), but he put WSU in scoring position when they needed to be there.
A couple of Apple Cup firsts were achieved today. Matt Mullenix (who was granted a sixth year of eligibility this year) became the first Cougar to win four Apple Cups. And, Paul Wulff is the first Cougar coach to win the Apple Cup in his rookie season since Jim Sweeney in 1968 (thanks Nate!).
Sorry...I think I'm rambling.
The season isn't over yet (even though I wish it was...I like going out on top). Washington State plays Hawaii next weekend. The Warriors beat Idaho tonight, 49-17. I don't like WSU's chances, but who knows?
I don't have anything else...GO COUGS!!!