What an Apple Cup huh?! This was a team win and a sweet victory. Coug fans as a group stuck with their team for really the first time this season during a 4th quarter deficit, everybody staying in the stadium, enduring a Husky onslaught that was caused by three straight Cougar turnovers. The Husky run began after Washington State held a 10-7 halftime lead behind their energized defense. Suddenly a “surprising” lead and possible upset looked like a Husky runaway after the gut-wrenching 3rd quarter flail, except to me and apparently the fans that remained in Martin Stadium. I texted my brother and we tweeted from @allcougdup that if the Cougs could just stop turning the ball over, they would Win. Sure enough, they did, and they did.
Carl Winston ended his Cougar career with a 3 touchdown performance, also picking up 2 or 3 very key short 3rd down conversions. He only rushed for 27 yards but he was incredibly tough, especially in pass protection, stepping up and hammering blitzers again and again. Andrew Furney kicked 3 field goals, including the game tying with 2 minutes and game winner in overtime (his first game winner as a Cougar). Remember this kid is coming off 3 straight misses, having 2 blocked 2 weeks ago against UCLA and missing one last week that deflated any Cougar hopes.
Jeff Tuel, who limped off on the play before half, threw no touchdowns but came back in the second half and found Dominique Williams and Brett Bartolone again and again to keep the Cougs in the game. On one particular play he scurried and avoided 2 sacks deep in the backfield and then had to put both hands and the ball on the field. Somehow he stood up and looked back down field a completed a huge pass, taking a hit to the face that added yards. A minute later it was 28-25 after he found Bartolone in the endzone for the 2 point conversion.
Gino Simone was the recipient of the scrambling throw and he made 2 more huge catches on the game tying drive, on one somehow stealing the ball from a Husky on a sure interception that would have all but sealed a purple and gold victory. And finally Travis Long didn’t play a single down, he didn’t even suit up but affected the game by just being on the sideline, imploring the Cougar defense to stand tall in just about every difficult situation that they faced. The defense dedicated their efforts to Long. The Cougar 4 year starter and warrior blew out his knee last week but had to be a part of his buddies picking off Keith Price on the first play of OT.
This was sweet for everybody, including the Apple Cup, which looks better in Crimson and Gray!