Photo courtesy of Annie Symons
Before the big game last Friday, Nov. 29, the atmosphere inside Husky Stadium was buzzing.
Every year, the location of the Apple Cup game alternates between Husky Stadium in Seattle and Martin Stadium in Pullman, Washington. This year, the game was in Seattle, and Annie Symons, an SPU student and Huskies fan, and her family attended the game for her fifth time. She considers the game to be a great bonding experience for her and her father.
“The rivalry definitely heats up more on game day than it does throughout the year, cause this is a really high stakes game, especially this year because both teams had the same record,” Symons said.
Both teams entered the game with the same record (6-5); the Huskies lost to multiple conference opponents on the season that many expected them to beat. Meanwhile, the Cougars offense has the ability to put up lots of points over the course of a game, but their defense also gives up lots of points.
By the end of the game, The University of Washington Huskies defeated the Washington State University Cougars 31-13 in the Apple Cup game.
When the game began, The Cougars showed their offensive power as they received the first quarter kickoff and drove 81 yards down the field, scoring a touchdown when sophomore Max Borghi plunged into the endzone from one yard out.
The Huskies answered later in the quarter, showing why the Cougars defense gave up thirty points a game this season, as the Quarterback Jacob Eason ran into the endzone from the three yard line. The biggest play on the drive was Eason’s 57 yard pass to sophomore Terrell Bynum.
With a 14-10 lead, big pass plays sparked the Huskies next two touchdown drives as Eason found sophomore tight end Cade Otton for a 25 yard pass play, and junior tight end Hunter Bryant on a 39 yard pass play on separate drives. Running back Richard Newton found the end zone at the end of both drives, pushing the Huskies lead to 28-10
The Cougars, sensing they were running out of time, then seized the momentum, forcing a fumble and taking the ball away from the Huskies. Slowly and methodically, the Cougars drove to the Huskies’ nine yard line. Gordon took the snap and completed a pass to running back Deon McIntosh, but Trent McDuffie hit McIntosh as soon as he caught the ball, forcing a fumble that was recovered by the Huskies.
McDuffie again stepped up on the next drive, intercepting a Gordon pass that put the game to bed.
Symons was sitting behind a few Cougars fans the entire game, and found it funny to observe their reactions.
“It was really funny to see them so hyped up when the Cougars would have a nice drive or make a good pass or whatever, and watch them just deflate when the Cougars messed up,” Symons said.
Eason finished with 244 passing yards and one touchdown, while junior Salvon Ahmed led the Huskies in rushing with 85 yards, and Hunter Bryant caught six passes for 96 yards for the Huskies.
On the Cougars side, Gordon had 48 passes for 308 yards, and Max Borghi had 50 yards rushing. Junior Renard Bell led the Cougars in receiving, catching nine passes for 86 yards.
The Huskies fans’ cheers soon turned to shock on Monday morning when Huskies Head Coach Chris Petersen announced that he will be stepping down from his coaching role at the end of the season. The 55 year old Petersen cited the need to recharge as his reason for the change, and the Huskies current defensive coordinator, Jimmy Lake, will step into the role at the end of the season.
Both the Huskies and the Cougars have six wins and are both bowl game eligible, so the seasons for both teams will likely continue. But with Petersen stepping down, and Cougars head coach Mike Leach’s future uncertain at Washington State, the rivalry could be entering a new chapter as soon as next season.