Apple Cup Reaches The Century Mark

Nov. 16, 2000

PULLMAN, Wash. - For a freshman making only his second start, MattKegel has a good handle on Washington State's Apple Cup game againstWashington.

'We don't really have anything to lose, the Huskies have everything tolose,' the Washington State quarterback said Thursday.

'This is our bowl game, so we're going to play it as if it was our ownRoseBowl. 'I look at this game as a great opportunity to do something big.'

No. 6 Washington will go to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1993ifit wins and No. 8 Oregon State beats No. 5 Oregon.

'Whatever happens in that game, it still was a great season for us,'Huskies quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo said. 'But if everything works outSaturday, we will go to a pretty good place, no matter what. I just want towin. That's all I care about.'

While the Huskies (9-1, 6-1 Pac-10) hope to represent the Pac-10 in theRoseBowl, the Cougars (4-6, 2-5) are trying to make up for a disappointingseasonin the 100th anniversary of the series.

Tuiasosopo, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound senior, has passed for 2,356 yardsandrushed for 400 this season, producing 17 touchdowns.

Kegel, the cousin of former Washington State quarterback Ryan Leaf,threwfor 242 yards and a touchdown last week in the Cougars' 33-27 victory atSouthern California.

The Huskies came from behind in the fourth quarter in five of theirconference wins, while the Cougars were beaten four times on opponents' lastpossessions, including three in overtime.

'Coach (Mike) Price has done a great job there having a team thatcontinuesto play hard despite tough, emotional setbacks,' Washington coach RickNeuheisel said. 'Three overtime losses could take the gas out of a lot ofteams, but not this team.'

To win, Price said he must rely on his improving defense to stopTuiasosopo.

'We'll need to try to get the ball out of his hands by stripping, orpunching it out, or doing something,' Price said. 'If there's anything, thatis to get after him. That would be the case.'

Tuiasosopo can hurt opponents with either the pass or the run and Pricesaidhe hopes his defense can contain the Huskies quarterback.

'I'd rather see him sitting on the bench there, watching Matt Kegelconsistently move the ball down the field,' Price said. 'I think he doesbothvery well - pass and run.'

The Huskies can be expected to try to pressure Kegel, who was coolunderfire at USC, Neuheisel said.

'Inexperience is always a factor, but sometimes, as the old sayinggoes,what you don't know doesn't hurt you,' he said. 'After beating a verytalented USC team in the Coliseum, his confidence level ... has got to beimmense. He's a very dangerous quarterback to be playing at this time.'

Asked if he thought the Huskies might be keying on him, Kegel replied:'Bring it on.'

Price said he has shrunk the playbook to make the offense easier forKegel,who was not intercepted by USC.

'I need to make sure I don't give him too much,' Price said. 'I want towin this game real bad.'

Associated Press Writer

Now on Pac-12 Network
4:30 AM PT

Airing on:

  • Pac-12 Network
Get Pac-12 Networks
Pac-12 Networks Channel Finder