Friday, November 23, 2012
Final: Wash. State 31, Washington 28 (OT)
By Ted Miller
There is a term Washington State fans often use on their own team. "We Coug'ed it," they will say with considerable bitterness after a bad loss. Of course, other Pac-12 teams say it with a smirk.
Yet in the 105th Apple Cup, it was Washington that "Coug'ed it." Or "Husky'ed it," if you prefer.
Or just call it what it was: A massive choke.
Washington State overcame an 18-point fourth quarter deficit to force overtime against the Huskies, then used a bumbling Keith Price interception on the first play of overtime to set themselves up for Andrew Furney's game-winning 27 yard field goal.
So that's 21 unanswered points in the fourth and overtime for a team that entered the game averaging 19.5 points per game, one that was playing without its two best players: wide receiver Marquess Wilson, who quit the team, and outside linebacker Travis Long, who was injured.
Perhaps it shouldn't be looked on as a Washington choke. Perhaps it should be about the Cougars showing some grit against the rivals. Probably it's a little of both. In fact, Washington State fans might enjoy thinking of it both ways.
The win ended the Cougars' (3-9, 1-8) three-game losing streak in the rivalry series and an eight-game overall losing streak. The Huskies (7-5, 5-4) saw a four-game winning streak end.
It was a horribly sloppy game. The Cougars had four turnovers, the Huskies two. The Huskies also were flagged 17 times for 127 yards.
The Huskies, who didn't have a first down in the fourth quarter until their final possession, had a 35-yard field goal to win the game in regulation, but Travis Coons pushed the kick wide right.
In overtime, the Huskies got the ball first, but Price was intercepted on the first play by defensive tackle Kalafitoni Pole, who nearly rumbled the other way for a score before being tackled inside the 10-yard line.
The Cougars then calmly set themselves up for the winning kick, knowing Furney, who had tied the game at 28-28 with a 45-yard field goal with two minutes left, is the best clutch kicker in the conference.
Cougars quarterback Jeff Tuel completed 33 of 53 passes for 350 yards.
The Huskies, who had won 11 consecutive games decided by 10 points or fewer, were outgained 366 yards to 269. They trailed 10-7 at halftime but seemed to take control of the game with 21 unanswered third quarter points.
This means state bragging rights belong to the Cougars, even though they suffered through a miserable first year under new coach Mike Leach.
The Huskies get a bowl game -- though likely a lesser one -- in which to try to put a positive cap on their season.
But this one figures to hurt the men in purple for a bit.