Huskies Take Apple Cup 27-19
Nov 22, 2003
By TIM KORTE
AP Sports Writer
SEATTLE (AP) - One pump fake and a tight spiral to the end zone. That's how Cody Pickett salvaged Washington's turbulent season.
Pickett threw a 21-yard strike to Corey Williams with 1:10 to play, lifting Washington to a 27-19 win over No. 8 Washington State on Saturday night in another thrilling Apple Cup.
'It felt good. It was right there,' Pickett said. 'He did a great job because he caught it near the 2 and then got into the end zone. I didn't have the best view, but I saw the ref's hands go up. It was a great feeling.'
Pickett, ineffective most of the game, established a rhythm in the fourth quarter and directed a 73-yard drive that kept the Huskies (6-6, 4-4 Pac-10) from their first losing season in 27 years.
Washington denied the rival Cougars (9-3, 6-2) a chance at a third straight 10-win season. Washington State is assured of a bowl bid, but that only won't offset the disappointment of a sixth straight Apple Cup loss.
'It was not our day,' Cougars coach Bill Doba said. 'Things fell their way.'
Marquis Cooper sealed the win for Washington when he intercepted a pass by freshman Josh Swogger and returned it 38 yards for the final TD, touching off pandemonium in the crowd of 74,549.
'There was pressure on the quarterback and I followed his eyes,' Cooper said. 'When I made the pick, I knew I was going to take it back. All I thought about was scoring once I had the ball.'
When the game ended, the Huskies staged a lengthy celebration at midfield and students spilled out of the stands to join in the fun. The Cougars walked solemnly to the locker room.
Last year in Pullman, the Huskies erased a 20-10 deficit with four minutes to play and won 29-26 in overtime. This time, they trailed 19-14 after Drew Dunning's fourth field goal, a 26-yarder, with 4:43 on the clock.
Washington State's Jonathan Smith had 128 yards rushing, and Dunning's four field goals helped him become the school's career scoring leader.
But it was another sloppy effort by the Cougars, who committed seven turnovers - just as they did in victories over Oregon State and UCLA. This time, though, their good fortune didn't come through.
'Not against these guys,' Doba said. 'These guys came ready and played well.'
This win was sweet for Washington fans, who have endured one of the most turbulent years in school history after a tough season that followed the firing of former coach Rick Neuheisel last summer.
'A lot of the things we've encountered weren't just football things,' coach Keith Gilbertson said. 'And on the football side, we didn't have the year we thought we'd have.'
Smith gave the Cougars enough offense to win, breaking off runs of 28 and 19 yards on the first drive of the third quarter, leading to Dunning's 20-yard field goal. Smith added two 14-yard bursts in the fourth to set up Dunning's 26-yarder.
Pickett wasn't fazed, though.
He found Charles Frederick for a 15-yard gain to Washington State's 39 on fourth-and-4 near midfield with two minutes to play. Then he fired a shot to Williams in the right corner of the end zone.
'I thought I had it intercepted,' said Cougars free safety Erik Coleman, who was victimized on the winning play. 'I felt the ball go by my fingertips.'
Pickett completed 23 of 45 passes for 183 yards for two TDs with two interceptions.
Washington State quarterback Matt Kegel benched himself for the second straight week after taking a few hits on his sore throwing shoulder. Swogger was 10-of-23 for 107 yards with three interceptions.
Kegel was 6-of-12 for 50 yards with 1 TD and two interceptions before leaving in the second quarter.
Dunning made field goals of 33 and 34 yards and became Washington State's career scoring leader on a 20-yarder early in the second half. His 334 points eclipsed kicker Jason Hanson's scoring from 1988-91.
The Huskies were coming off a 27-22 loss at struggling Arizona and an abysmal 54-7 loss last week at California where Washington surrendered 731 yards.
'A lot of teams would have folded the tent and went home,' tackle Khalif Barnes said. 'I think our guys showed what kind of guys they are. They are very good football players, and I just can't say enough about how our guys played.'