Huskies’ fifth-year seniors recall driving into enemy territory for the first time
Colin Tanigawa remembers his first bus ride to Pullman for an Apple Cup and the scene that still leaves him cold four years later.
Seattle Times staff reporter
10 years ago ...
Washington State had not won an Apple Cup game since 1997, when it beat UW in Seattle to clinch a Rose Bowl berth. What made this streak even more remarkable was that the Cougars had won 30 games from 2001 to 2003 without beating the Huskies during that stretch. But that changed in 2004, when WSU held on for a 28-25 victory in the Palouse in UW coach Keith Gilbertson’s last game. Isaiah Stanback rallied the Huskies (1-10), who trailed by 18 in the second half, but the Cougars (5-6) held on. There was no bowl game for either team that season, but WSU had nabbed an Apple Cup win.
Seattle Times staff
“I didn’t know that Wazzu was that far from UW,” said DiAndre Campbell, the Huskies’ senior receiver from Oakland. “It was just a really long ride. Really long.”
About two dozen UW freshmen loaded onto two buses four years ago to take part in their first Apple Cup in Pullman. It was a rare road trip for the Huskies’ redshirting freshmen. They weren’t going to play — the main part of the team was flying into Pullman — but then-coach Steve Sarkisian wanted the freshmen to get a feel for the rivalry.
“It was cool,” said Andrew Hudson, one of about a dozen current fifth-year seniors who made that trip across the state in 2010. “That allowed us to respect (the rivalry) more and appreciate what it was all about. There’s so much to this game, for the whole state, and it was cool to be there and experience that.”
The Huskies defeated the Cougars 35-28 in 2010. Campbell watched from the UW sideline and recalled Monday the pass from Jake Locker to Jermaine Kearse that won it for UW in the final minute.
Campbell also vividly recalls UW defensive lineman Semisi Tokolahi being pelted with snow and ice from fans as he was carted out of Martin Stadium with a broken ankle. For Campbell, that left a bitter taste in an already bitter rivalry.
“That’s stuck with me forever,” he said.
Including the 2010 win, this UW senior class has been part of three wins and one loss in the Apple Cup. The loss came two years ago in Pullman, when the Cougars rallied from an 18-point fourth-quarter deficit to stun UW.
The Huskies are bracing for a cold reception there again Saturday (7:30 p.m., FOX Sports 1). with temperatures expected to be in the upper 20s and low 30s.
“It’s definitely not too much of a loving relationship,” said Colin Tanigawa, UW’s senior offensive lineman. “It’s definitely important to me and the whole senior class, just to beat them one last time.”
As productive as the Huskies were on offense in Saturday’s rout of Oregon State, two problems persist: They lead in the nation in fumbles and, among Pac-12 teams, they’re the most inefficient offense once they reach the red zone.
Of their 31 fumbles this season, the Huskies have lost 10. They fumbled four times in the victory over Oregon State, losing one.
“It eats at you pretty good,” UW coach Chris Petersen said. “When the ball’s turned over, that’s the ultimate sin around here.”
They’re not helping themselves in the red zone, either.
All four of the Huskies’ touchdowns in their 37-13 victory over the Beavers were on plays of 34 yards or more. That’s a good thing. The Huskies, however, are too often settling for field goals once they are deep into opponents’ territory.
Three times Saturday the Huskies drove inside the Oregon State 25-yard line, and all three times settled for field goals by Cameron Van Winkle.
The Huskies have converted just four of their last 16 trips inside the 20 into touchdowns, and they have just seven touchdowns in 22 red-zone trips in eight Pac-12 games. That’s a 32 percent touchdown rate, worst in the conference.
“We’d like to be able to run the ball a little bit better down there,” Petersen said.
It’s worth noting that UW’s defense is holding opponents to a 46 percent touchdown clip overall in the red zone — best in the Pac-12.