History shows that the Apple Cup doesn’t need two quality teams (or even one, for that matter) to produce epic games. Part of the event’s lore—as with all rivalry games—is when more of the oppressed of both teams rise when they can’t be expected to wreak havoc on the other team’s aspirations.
Think back to 1982, when a 2-7-1 Washington State team stunned Washington by a 9-1 score, denying the Huskies a third straight Rose Bowl appearance. Or 2003, when the Huskies came out 5-6 from a 54-7 loss to Cal Shocked the Cougars 9-2, ranked eighth 27-19 to end their Rose Bowl hopes.
Other examples abound with gratifying and painful memories on every side, depending on the Sunnah. However, I would contend that the best Apple Trophies are the ones where both teams are good and have a great deal to play for beyond annual standards, such as statewide pride and bragging rights.
That’s why this year’s edition of the Apple Cup, set in the frigid climate of the Palouse on Saturday night, is so enticing. Both Washington State and Washington starred under the coaches in their first full season, and both entered it with many questions to answer. And they both did so positively, Washington brings a record of 9-2 in the game While Washington State is 7-4. The Huskies own a five-game winning streak, and the Cougars have won three in a row. Both play for tangible rewards beyond sentiment — a (still long) berth in a Pac-12 game or a potential New Year’s bowl sextet for the Huskies, and a higher-caliber bowl in the case of WSU.
There are other aspects to spice up this game, such as the chance of cold and snowy weather in Pullman. Nothing like a little inclement weather to produce a ball of mayhem, like Legendary Ice Bowl in Pullman in 1992, when WSU knocked out the defending national champion Huskies 42-23. The image of Cougars receiver Phillip Bobo sliding into a blizzard in west end zone while catching a 44-yard touchdown pass from Drew Bledsoe cannot be erased. So did the snowflakes at Martin Stadium more recently in 2018 when No. 16 UW dominated #8 Washington State 28-15 on its way to the Rose Bowl.
The other element that raises the hype level significantly on Saturday is retaliation, always a welcome wrinkle in the Apple Cup. not only this The Cougars defeated Washington 40-13 last year — at Husky Stadium, no less — marking WSU’s largest margin of victory in Series annals. Thus ended, in spectacular fashion, Washington’s seven-game Apple Cup winning streak, which it won by an average margin of 22.7 points.
It’s the poignant memory of Cougars fans celebrating at home, particularly since-departed quarterback Jayden DeLaura planting a crimson flag on the Washington pennant, which leads the Huskies. The photo was ubiquitous in her setup this week.
“I take it personally, the whole thing is raising the flag on our banner,” Washington receiver Jalen McMillan said Tuesday. “We don’t take it lightly. We play it all over the weight room. Wherever you walk in that building, you’ll see that image. So we take it personally.”
Michael Bennix Jr., the Huskies’ great quarterback who is the source of his impressive accomplishments, was in West Lafayette, Indiana, that weekend, watching injured from the sideline as his Indiana Bucket Old Oaken team lost to Purdue, 44-7. But he displeased his new colleagues due to osmosis.
“For the people who were here last year, I understand how they feel about the whole flag-raising thing,” he said. “Obviously it was kind of disrespectful, so whatever my brothers feel, I’ll feel the same way, because I’m behind them. I’m a Dawg now, so whatever they feel, I’ll feel it, and we know what we need to do this week to make sure we don’t feel that way again.” other.”
DeBoer also took up the cause despite the fact that he wasn’t hired to replace Jimmy Lake until just days after the 2021 Apple Cup. Huskies quarterback Edvuan Olofushio noted Tuesday that DeBoer didn’t wait long after taking over to prioritize a win over Washington State. .
“What I remember was in one of his first meetings, he just said he watched the game. We got to get that back,” said Ulofoshio, and one of his priorities was, Ulofoshio said. “That was, like, priority number one — not the national championships, not any of that. The Apple Cup is the hottest match in Washington. We have to get it back.”
All the elements are in for the classic Saturday. With Washington only a two-point favorite, it wouldn’t come as a huge surprise no matter what happens. But it will be very satisfying for the winner.