What a ride this College football season has been. Last week we saw two teams who everyone by all counts had already penciled in the national title game fall, Johnny Football attempt his first Collegiate PAT and the National Title game is now lined up to once again play host to an SEC power house. Week 13. For some it’s about pride, others it’s about position.
Apple Cup week. Nothing like it and I love it when it’s in Pullman! It’s a batman vs the joker kind of match up, we hate each other but we need each other to be who we are. I believe it’s what drives us, even during a hard season like this, one game will never lose value, Ladies and Gentlemen, this is that game. Who can forget the great emotional highs we’ve felt at these games and the tears we’ve shed. One thing about this game, it has never mattered which team is ranked where, who is headed to what bowl, on one day when these two teams both set foot on the field, that field becomes even.
I would like to state a few words of encouragement to the Cougar family at this point. 3-8 (0-8), 3-9 (2-6), 4-7 (2-6)… Sound familiar? Well those are the years leading up to the 2001-2002 10-3 Sun bowl year for the Cougs followed by the 2002-2003 Rosebowl year. The most notable is the final year before prominence which is a year that saw the Cougars fall to IDAHO at HOME! Jason Gesser, Marcus Trufant and Marcus Williams. All of us look back and think “If only we could have them back!” but I will remind you at the end of that season ALL OF THEM were playing on that team and we went 4-7 that year lost to IDAHO and lost to Washington by the biggest deficit in Apple cup history 51-3! I mean to show some similes to this year our all conference running back quit the team at half of that apple cup game, sound familiar?
Well Cougs to take from the dark knight once again, the night is always darkest before the dawn. At the end of that year we (the fans) were on a witch hunt to fire Mike Price. We heard the names Jason Gesser, Marcus Trufant and Marcus Williams and thought “This can’t be our future”. But at the end of that long painful season Jason Gesser said something that has left me an unbreakable Coug fan ever since, he said stick with us, we’re all putting in the work, and I promise you I will lead you to the rose bowl. Well the next year with Mike Price still at the helm (who I will remind you was controversial much like Mike Leach) the Cougs posted a 10-2 record and went to the sun bowl, the next year, 10-3 and yes, the Rose Bowl. So don’t jump ship yet Coug fans, remember this is the team you love, through the good and the bad we have to stick by this program. Stay behind Leach and enjoy the rewards when they get here but I warn you, this does not happen overnight.
So on to all matters, Apple Cup!
What the huskies Bring:
Well we’ve all seen it. The Huskies have posed their biggest threats on Offense with an unforgiving arial attack led by Kasen Williams and Keith Price. Keith Price opened the year going 25-for-35 for 222 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions vs. SDSU and posted his most impressive performance this season vs Colorado going 22-for-29 for 248 yards, no interceptions and the five scores, which went to five different receivers which tied the School record for most TD’s thrown in a single game. The most threatening thing to the Cougs however this week with a struggling offense is the much improved Husky Defense. Desmond Trufant has had a great year and is a huge threat to shut down our air raid assault. The Husky line has solidified and the Linebacking crew led by Jamaal Kearse is making plays at the right time this year which smells a lot like millions and millions of sacks given up by the Cougs with our line.
Protect the Quarterback!!!! All year we have struggled with this and it is a HUGE reason for our demise. Dang near every play you can see our Offensive line cleaning up their pathetic mess and scrapping either Connor or Jeff off the ground. GET A BLOCK!!! In my opinion this will not be solved by this game so we need to protect the Quarterback more with our offensive schemes, I’m talking short passes, roll outs for longer passes and a well placed draw here and a screen there and we should be able to have some offensive production.
On Defense we have shown we can play with the big boys at times this year. It’s important we put a whole game together against the Huskies. We have to minimize the damage. Keith Price and friends are going to make plays, they’re going to score points, they’re going to drive the ball… Lets minimize this and shut down big plays! No blown coverage leaving a wide receiver completely open all the way down field on a simple go route. Wrap up, minimize missed tackles. Play hard, don’t be out worked by this team and we should have a decent shot and minimizing what these guys can do.
Last for all aspects of this game. Play with pride… This will most likely be a small crowd in terms of the Apple Cup due to break and the game is on the day after thanksgiving but you have to play with pride. Fight until the end, never hang your head and never give up. Fight for your school and show that we are significant in the state of Washington as well… This is an important game for building something solid. We need a good showing. All the pain this year this team has suffered all the let down and regret has a chance to be thrown out on the field tomorrow afternoon. The only question is… How bad do you want it?
This has been a ton of fun writing these this year and I’ll be back next Football season writing your inside perspective and preview week to week. Thank you so much to my supporters, friends and Family for reading and of course Coug fans! I have received great feedback on these trend articles from you guys and I will continue next year! I am always tweeting on twitter so follow me @allcougdup and thank you for the opportunity to be a part of this great program at Washington State. For the last time this Football season I’m signing off and as always, GO COUGS!!!!!
The Classy Coug in me also would like to say Eff the Huskies :)