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One Saturday A Year It's For All The Apples
Release: 11/17/2006
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Nov. 17, 2006

By Justin Chartrey
The Daily

On a cold day in 1900, the players of the University of Washington and Washington Agricultural College crossed paths for the first time. The game was not exactly one for the ages, as the two teams ended the contest in a 5-5 tie.

Since that moment, though, the overall record is nowhere near even. The Huskies have dominated the historical series with a record of 63-29-6. The Dawgs' longest winning streak over the course of the rivalry has been eight games, which they achieved twice, from 1959-1966 and from 1974-1981. Meanwhile, WSU has never had a streak longer than two games.

In 1962, the powers-that-be from each school decided to up the stakes by creating the Apple Cup trophy and naming the rivalry after it. Today, after every contest, the winner takes home the trophy and holds it for the entire year.

"Its pride," said senior Stanley Daniels. "Against Washington State, it's for state pride. It's always about who is going to win the Apple Cup and bring home the trophy."

For the most part, it has been Washington that has owned the rights to the Apple Cup trophy, with wins in 31-of-44 tries. For the first five years of its existence the trophy never left Seattle.

Memorable Games

In the history of the Apple Cup series, there have been multiple games that defied reason. Whether it is one team ruining the other's chance at national greatness or some unbelievable comeback, team records go out the window on that date late in November.

1975: UW 28 WSU 27
Coach Don James' first Apple Cup looked to be a bust as the Huskies trailed 27-14 late into the game. With 3:01 remaining, the Cougars had the ball deep in Washington territory.

Rather than run out the clock and put the Huskies out of their misery with a field goal, WSU coach Jim Sweeney tried to put the ball in the air in an attempt to rub in the win.

However, UW defender Al Burleson jumped in front of the ball and picked it off. Ninety-three yards later, the score was 27-21.

On the Cougars' ensuing possession, a rejuvenated Husky defense held fast and forced a punt. With 1:56 showing on the clock, quarterback Warren Moon fired a pass from his own 22-yard line that went into a crowd near midfield. After bouncing around, wide receiver "Spider" Gaines came down with it and ran the rest of the way for the game-winning touchdown.

Afterward, Sweeney took responsibility for the pass that led to the UW comeback, telling the media that the kids wanted to try the pass, and that he "stupidly" agreed.

1982: WSU 24 UW 20
The '82 game was perhaps the most shocking Apple Cup ever.

Leading up to the game, Washington was 9-1 and ranked No. 1 in the nation, while the Cougars stood at a lowly 2-7-1. The Huskies had won two straight games against top-10 opponents and looked to steamroll Washington State for a ninth straight time.

Instead, the UW got a shocking reality check. After trailing late in the fourth quarter to 21-20, Washington looked to its near-automatic kicker Chuck Nelson. The All-American had made 30 straight field goals, but inexplicably missed the attempt.

The Cougars would add a field goal before winning. It was the first Apple Cup held in Martin Stadium since 1954, and the home fans celebrated by ripping down the goal posts and floating them down the Palouse River.

The '92 Apple Cup will probably be remembered more for its driving snow than for any last minute drive.

A year after winning a national title, the Huskies were on a roll again, ranked No. 5 in the country. However, in front of a home crowd the unranked Cougars surprised Washington.

WSU quarterback Drew Bledsoe threw for 260 yards and two touchdowns against the UW secondary, and running back Shaumbe Wright-Fair rushed for 193 yards and three touchdowns.

Meanwhile, the Husky offense looked lost in the blizzard, prompting some fans to joke that the Huskies played like Seattleites drive in the snow.

2002: UW 29 WSU 26
This time, the script was flipped against the Cougars. Leading up to the Apple Cup, WSU was the No. 3 team in the nation, its only loss to No. 1 Ohio State. A win against the Huskies would definitely have gone a long way toward moving them up to the second spot.

Washington State led late in the game with a score of 20-10, but Husky quarterback Cody Pickett led a late drive highlighted by a 48-yard heave to Reggie Williams and ended with a touchdown pass to Paul Arnold.

Cougar signal-caller Jason Gesser had already gone down with an injury and back up Matt Kegel could not close out Washington. While trying to kill clock, he was intercepted by Husky hoops legend Nate Robinson --then just a freshman -- on the UW 35. After moving it to the 12-yard line, kicker John Anderson hit the game-tying field goal.

The game moved into overtime, and after swapping field goals through the first two, Anderson was again called upon to take the lead. He hit his fifth field goal for 49 yards.

On the Cougars drive, Kegel again had a costly miscue. Washington defensive end Kai Ellis put pressure on the quarterback, who threw a backwards lateral that ended up as a fumble, and Ellis pounced on it, ending the game.

Cougar fans and players maintained that it was a forward pass, but in the end, the call was made, and the Huskies spoiled what could have been a shot at a national title bid for WSU.

East-West dynamic
The Apple Cup is the perfect east versus west contest. More than just two teams, it is a fight between the dueling philosophies of a state that has been divided for decades.

"When I arrived here, I was told that this was the game," said current Washington coach Tyrone Willingham. "There are no split loyalties. It's either Washington or the Cougars; there is no confusion."

For this reason, both sides look for any edge they can find. Last year that meant the top of the Space Needle up for grabs. Trying to raise funds for Hurricane Katrina relief, officials from both schools decided that whichever student body raised more money would have their logo painted on the top of Seattle's most iconic building. The Cougars won.

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