Six years. Six. Long. Years.
That’s how long it’s been since Washington State finished on top in the biggest rivalry game in the Evergreen State. We all know what it’s been like for the crimson and gray since that 2012 game: Loss, after heartbreaking, deflating, soul-crushing loss. Five straight, to be exact.
But even back in 2012, the game felt like it was heading toward another one of those patented heartbreaking, deflating, soul-crushing losses. But from there came one of the most incredible comebacks in the history of the rivalry.
This year, Washington State is looking to end that five game skid. So, in order to try and will the team to a victory and seal their first Pac-12 Championship game appearance, we decided to take a look back at that 2012 game... If only so we can remember that it is actually possible to win this game.
Washington State, in their first year under Mike Leach, was — to put it simply — a bad football team. The Cougs entered the week 13 matchup with Washington at 2-9, with victories over Eastern Washington (by 4 points) and at UNLV (by 8 points). The team was without their spiritual leader, Travis Long, who after suffering through the worst years in Cougar football history, missed his last game in college with a knee injury.
Wazzu was a 14-point home underdog to a Washington Husky team trending upwards. The Dawgs had won four in a row, including an upset over 7th ranked Oregon State at home (in CenturyLink Field during the Husky Stadium remodel). They were ranked in the BCS poll at number 25 and had a chance to finish third in the Pac-12 North with a win.
The Huskies were playing for bowl positioning and looking to finish the season on a five game win streak. The Cougs were playing for pride.
UW had something on the line... And it showed early on.
Washington State led at the half, taking a 10-7 lead into the locker room. It was their first halftime lead at the break in seven games, when they blew a lead against Colorado at home. But the third quarter, didn’t go quite as well for the home team.
Quarterback Keith Price threw a 15 yard touchdown to Cody Burns to put UW on top 14-10. Then, Spokane native and former WSU commit Bishop Sankey scored a pair of rushing touchdowns to cap off a 21 point quarter for the purple and gold.
And that’s when the comeback started. And from here, we’ll let the visual medium take over. Here are the highlights, courtesy of YouTube user “theWSUblog”.
Looking back, it’s easy to forget just how many things happened in the 4th quarter and in OT.
- Jeff Tuel’s amazing scramble and heave at 3:40 in the video
- Carl Winston’s two rushing TD’s in the 4th quarter at 2:01 in the video and at 5:00 in the video. (WSU had three in the entire season entering that game)
- Geno Simone grabbing a reception that looked like a sure interception for a big first down (7:13 in the video).
- Andrew Furney nailing a 45 yard kick to tie things up with 2 minutes to play (9:07 in the video).
- UW getting flagged for the 18th (!) time in the game at 10:41 in the video. This time, a false start that pushed them from the 15 yard line to the 20 yard line.
- UW Kicker Travis Coons missing a 35 yard game winning field goal (at 11:23 in the video).
- Toni Pole very nearly winning the game on the first play of OT with an interception on a terrible Keith Price throw-away at 11:53 in the video. (Seriously though, he was just 4 yards short of the single greatest moment in Apple Cup history.)
- Furney ending the game with his dead-perfect 27 yarder at 13:28 in the video followed by a field rush and pandemonium at Martin Stadium.
It was a great win, but back in 2012, it didn’t mean much. It was an introduction to the Apple Cup rivalry for first-year coach Mike Leach and a third win of the season for Washington State.
This season, the game means a whole lot more than pride. A berth in the Pac-12 title game for both sides is up for grabs, along with Washington State hoping to keep their long-shot playoff odds alive.
So here’s hoping the Cougs take the spirit of Andrew Furney and Toni Pole on the field at Martin Stadium this Friday... While avoiding any and all spirits related with the 2009-2011 and 2013-2017 contests...
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