What a finish, what a game. Who cares about how low both programs sunk to this year. Let the national media make fun of this game. Like we said earlier in the week, you can throw out the records and watch the kids compete, but it IS STILL the Apple Cup! It’s a game that still means a hell of a lot to a lot of people, and in particular the players on both teams. So I think we all knew the kids would sell out today and play hard, and while not the prettiest game in the world, the effort on both teams certainly didn’t disappoint.

We could try to break down this game, and look at what happened. But I don’t want to get too deep into it, but for a few things:

  1. How the HELL does UW not score more than 13 points in this game? They had one running back in Griffin go well over 100 yards and almost had another with Dailey, and as a team they had a net rushing yard mark of 225 yards. Anyone watching that game knows that UW’s front line, for the MOST PART anyway, had control of the line of scrimmage. And with that running game, they also dominated time of possession, holding the ball for over 35 minutes combined to just 24 minutes and change for WSU. So it was set up for UW to grind our young skinnies into the ground with their big fatties, but they just never seemed to be able to kick down the door.
  2. I was impressed by our ability, at times, to run the ball ourselves. 171 yards rushing is a good day. Dwight Tardy wasn’t 100%, but he sure ran tough, 76 yards on 4.2 yards per carry. He came to play today. And Logwone Mitz, WOW, what a time for a big play! That 57-yard TD definitely got some extra juice in their step, no doubt, and suddenly it was a 3-point game. I heard Wulff on the radio after the game, and he said they really stressed the idea of sticking to the run at halftime, and that without it, “we were not going to win this game.” He was right too. If they don’t stay committed to running the ball, they probably wouldn’t have pulled this sucker out.
  3. The little things just killed UW today, a microcosm of their season. Mitz’s TD was great, but there were two UW players totally out of position on that play. And on the big throw from Lopina to Karstetter, the free safety made a horrible play on the ball. But both the safety and the corner bit incredibly hard on the fake to the flat, and Lopina pumped fake just enough to freeze the corner, and Karstetter got free.

    And the missed field goals, JUST WOW. You make any one of those in regulation, you probably win the game. But again, when it mattered most, they couldn’t close the deal. It’s the same thing as what went down vs. BYU, where they could have at least forced OT but had an extra point blocked. The situations were a little different, sure, but the outcome is the same.

To win games, you HAVE TO DO THE LITTLE THINGS (listen to me, like we’re “used” to winning around here all of a sudden! πŸ™‚ But you can move the ball between the 20’s all you want, the name of the game is scoring points. We used to be the kings of the 300-yard passing games and very little to show for it the last few years, so yes UW fans, we know of what we speak. Whether on missed field goals or sudden surges by the Cougar D, UW just couldn’t get it done.

Anyway, enough of the over-analysis. Somehow, the Cougs found a way, for the first legit time in 2008. They fought through the adversity and when the chips were down, made some plays that did the job.

I think some hearty congratulations are in order, for many of these guys who never gave up.

TO Greg Trent, kissing that trophy in the pic above, congrats to you. You busted your butt all season long, you tried your best to lead with pride and passion, and even though the season was lost a long time ago, you never gave in. A team-high twelve tackles today to cap your career in style in your home finale. You deserve every accolade you can get this year, for you must have felt truly alone in the middle. You had very little help in front of you, as the defensive tackles were eaten alive from the first game of the year vs. Okie State, to even today vs. UW. You had converted safeties in Louis Bland and Myron Beck on each side of you at linebacker, both 200-lb youngsters just learning to play the game. But still, you stuck you neck out there and fought with all you had. So kiss that trophy, coddle it, change it’s diaper. You deserve it.

TO Kevin Lopina, way to hang in there. A rough game by any standard, just 167 yards and again, no TD passes. But you never gave up, you took some huge shots, and you kept getting in there. That throw to Karstetter was FLIPPING MONEY. As “Atlanta Coug” said in comments, it doesn’t matter what happens in the future or whatever, but you are now forever alive in WSU history. And speaking of Karstetter, how big a play was that for the true frosh? Karstetter had THREE, count ’em, THREE CATCHES IN 2008 coming into this game, yet he saves his best for last. They say he’s got a big heart and that we are really going to like Karstetter’s future, but way to step up and make a play when WSU nation needed it the most.

TO Nico Grasu, great job! A perfect 3-for-3 today, 2-for-2 on field goals and one XP. Grasu hadn’t made a field goal since October 4th vs. UCLA, so to calmly step up and nail those big kicks from the right hash, just huge, huge, huge. GREAT JOB.

Congrats to coach Wulff. This season has been a nightmare in terms of injuries and playing kids who clearly weren’t ready. But you also fought against the resistence of the older, lazy players who were used to floating around the pool at Club Doba. So you pulled your boys through, and you deserved to dance like a little kid at the end. Maybe, just maybe, this will be a turning point??

Finally, to the FANS WHO WERE AT THE GAME TODAY, CONGRATS! It was awfully easy to decide to opt out and miss this game. The game was on TV, the weather forecast was awful, the teams were at historic lows, but yet you still made the trip and cheered these guys on to victory. You deserve to storm the field and celebrate. You played a part in this thing, so to you, congrats.

So there you have it. 2008 is in the books. That’s now four out of five, the first time ever in the 101-year history of the series where WSU has done that well. And what do you know, for the third time in the last four Apple Cup wins, WSU came from behind in the fourth quarter to win this thing. So much for “cougin’ it”. Maybe it’s more like “UW dawged it”?


17 Responses to “Congratulations”

  1. Portland Coug Says:

    Well put all the way guys. What a frustrating season but what a way to wind it up. I passed on the game this week and will regret it forever.

    I say thanks to you guys for keeping interest in this year. This is as good a college blog as I have seen and I am not the first nor last to say that to you. You could have closed shop and quit like the others but you kept me coming back. I will have a shot for you tonight. Thanks.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Wow, Washington sucks.

  3. LouisianaCoug Says:

    Well said Portland.

    And to anybody who cares, this Wulff nonbeliever may very well have been won over today. Not just because we won, but because of how he prepared and coached this team. It was nice to see a Cougar coach not be the guy who choked in the Apple Cup (Mike Price anyone?).

    Most importantly, 4 of 5.

    Go Cougs.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    2008 is in the books? Where the fuck are you going Sedihawk? We have one more game!

    Christ almighty, what a day…

  5. Brinkhater Says:

    No need to drop the f-bomb or go negative on the blogfathers..

    In Brinkhater’s book, this is the #5 rated Apple Cup victory of all time.

    This is lifetime sweet folks, lets just enjoy it–as I hope you enjoyed reading the fragmented ups and downs of the game as we and me saw it.

    Also too: Congrats to the Beavs and their kicker. What a great season for Beaver nation. As we know from 1997, the thrill of a rivalrly game for all the marbles is something to remember forever.

    Today, Washington got all the marbles.

    You are one week away from being the Defeateds forever,

  6. kaddy Says:

    Two reasons I hope the Beavers lose:

    1. All 5 of my bro-in-laws will never stop talking about it.

    2. They want Gino Simone, and a trip to the RB might turn him.

    This is the one and only time I will EVER say this – Go Ducks.

  7. Sedihawk Says:

    I’m not going anywhere Hooty. I meant to say the 2008 Apple Cup is in the books. But this was clearly the capper to this most miserable season of was it not? I hope they can win next week vs. Hawaii and you never know, but getting a W today sure feels great.

  8. wazzulu Says:

    It was a good day, it almost made up for sitting through the three home blow-outs and Az

  9. Nittany Cougar Says:

    How about some kudos to Lewis Bland? That guy was all over the filed making incredible plays on D. He gets my game ball.

  10. Nittany Cougar Says:

    Sorry, Louis Bland.

  11. Sedihawk Says:

    Great call on Bland, he was all over the place. He might have saved the game for us actually. His solo tackle in OT, on 2nd down and goal from the 7, there was nobody behind him. If he missed on that one UW goes into the end-zone and we lose. He’s going to be one hell of a player with some more weight and experience. But even Chima made a great play on the next one too, he came up hard and made a nice stick at the five yard line. The seniors stepped up but the youth played pretty well (Mitz, Karstetter, Norrell).

  12. Hooty McBoob Says:

    Ouch, Hawk. I appreciate the attribution but I’m innocent!

  13. OK Coug 2 Says:

    Bland was awesome…I remember a small-ish LB (not as small as Bland)from earlier this century who was all over the place like that as a sophmore, making game saving plays and grew into a Coug legend…
    I’ve got hope again and, like others have said, I am turning the cornver from a CPW non-believer.

  14. bamacoug Says:

    Hooty, I want to hang out with you at the next Apple Cup. You sound like a blast.

  15. bamacoug Says:

    Louisiana, we need to meet up in Baton Rouge for the BBall game in Dec.

  16. Hooty McBoob Says:

    I’m a total drag, bama. No man can be the life of the party with his wife and kids in tow πŸ˜‰

  17. Lucas Says:

    I was coming on here to say that Louis Bland needed some mention as well. I thought he looked great at the game, and when I got back to my hotel (Nendells) has a cable feed from Siberia that was broadcasting the AC at 4:00pm. So of course we watched it again and that kid was everywhere!!

    I can’t wait for three more years of Bland!!

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