Nov. 24, 2007
SEATTLE (AP) - Very quietly, the entire football squads from Washington and Washington State walked through the archway of purple, gold, crimson and gray balloons, then shuttled off in separate directions, exchanging only brief glances.
No trash talking. No little elbow shoves. Pretty much no acknowledgment of each other.
"I didn't really like it," Washington center Juan Garcia said. "You could tell people were looking at each other."
Friday's rally at the Qwest Field Events Center to celebrate the 100th playing of the Apple Cup went off without any bottles being thrown, tables overturned, no run-ins whatsoever between the two squads.
The closest thing to an inflammatory statement came from Washington State receiver Michael Bumpus, who said, "It will be nice to beat up on the boys in purple for 60 minutes Saturday."
Everything else was almost too complimentary.
UW President Mark Emmert noted he is from a broken home -- his brother went to Washington State -- but that 364 days of the year the two schools have a great partnership. New Washington State President Elson Floyd failed to say one disparaging thing about the Huskies.
Washington coach Tyrone Willingham and Washington State coach Bill Doba lauded each program. Even when some of the players had the opportunity to speak on stage -- including Washington defensive tackle Jordan Reffett, who made some fiery comments earlier in the week -- all was calm.
This is supposed to be a heated rivalry?
"This is like the Super Bowl to us," Washington running back Louis Rankin said.
More than 1,000 Cougar and Husky fans donned their school colors to attend the gathering, greeted by music from both bands, with the event center cordoned off by rooting party. Officials at both schools started working a year ago to develop a celebration honoring this year's commemorative game. Washington State athletic director Jim Sterk said Boeing signed on as the presenting sponsor of the game, helping underwrite much of the cost of the rally.
"Our staffs work together really well," Sterk said of his UW counterparts. ^Notes:@ There was one piece of sports news to come out of Friday's rally. Washington reserve cornerback Jordan Murchison suffered a high ankle sprain of his right leg and was on crutches and wearing a walking boot. Willingham said Murchison would not play on Saturday. ... In terms of the top plays in Apple Cup history as voted on by fans, Drew Bledsoe's 44-yard touchdown pass to Phillip Bobo in the snow at the 1992 game in Pullman, won by Washington State 42-23, was the top choice for Washington State. For Washington, it was Corey Williams' late touchdown catch from Cody Pickett that gave the Huskies the lead for good in their 27-19 win in 2003.