Huskies Insider Blog

Postgame talk: Cougars 16, Huskies 13 (2OT)

Here's a link to the bulk of our Apple Cup stories, along with this photo slide show.

Not surprisingly, the Huskies said this was one of their most disappointing games of the season.

Perhaps more surprisingly, they also said they're glad there's another game ahead. Maybe they have to say that. But they seemed to mean it. I might have thought that after all they've been through the last thing they would want would be two more weeks of practice leading to a game that they'll likely be two-touchdown underdogs. Maybe three. But they seem to really get that zero out of their win column, and that game at Cal represents their one last chance.

Meanwhile, the postgame meeting with coach Tyrone Willingham seemed more adversarial than usual. Willingham tried to ignore a question about whether he will stick around the coach the Cal game. Actually, it seemed a fair question to me. But Willingham simply started at the reporter who asked, and then on follow-up finally repeated his usual answer that he believes he remains the best man to coach this team through the end of its season.

Willingham also wasn't at his best when asked if he takes responsibility for this 0-11 team.

His answer: "Obviously, if you're the head coach at this time, you take responsibility for what's going on, but it should also be noted, the day that I arrived, what the situation of the program was."

In general I give Willingham a lot of credit for all the class and patience he has shown with an unending line of questions that mostly boil down to: Why are you and your team so bad? However, that wasn't a great answer. He took over a team was 1-10. Four years later he has one that is 0-11. He should have stopped at the first comma.

However, one of Willingham's players -- senior Johnie Kirton -- may have given the best answer of the night. A reporter noticed that Kirton had stayed out on the field a long while after the game and asked about it.

"I was thinking about all the years that I've seen the Apple Cup played," Kirton said. "That's how it's supposed to be played, it's supposed to be played down to the wire, and I felt privileged to be in this last one. Unfortunately we lost, but I hope the guys behind me understand what it feels like. The guys who haven't played here before. It's not fun losing over here."

Here are the highlight from TNT reporter Ryan Divish:

Turning point

With 31 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, WSU quarterback Kevin Lopina hit true freshman Jared Karstetter on a 48-yard completion putting the Cougars deep in Washington territory and turning a seemingly impossible last-minute rally into a possibility.



WSU player of the game

Nico Grasu. The WSU kicker booted three field goals, including the game-tying 28-yarder with two seconds remaining in regulation, and two more in overtime, including the winner from 37 yards.



UW player of the game

Willie Griffin. The freshman tailback ran for a game-high 112 yards on 26 carries and the Huskies' only touchdown. It was the most yards a Husky has run for in a game this season. Much of his production came early in the game as UW built a 10-0 lead. Griffin had 86 yards at halftime, but saw his playing time cut for some reason for much of the second half.



Not red, but crimson

The Cougs sported a different look than they have for any other Apple Cup. Coach Paul Wulff surprised the team with crimson helmets with the word "Cougars" in script on the side – the first time the Cougs have used that helmet. Before the week, the seniors requested to wear the crimson pants and jerseys as well, giving them a solid look.



Running Reid

WSU punter Reid Forrest had the second longest run from scrimmage in the game with his 28-yard scamper on a fake punt. With the Cougs facing fourth-and-18 from their own 30, Forrest took the snap and bolted right. With most of the Huskies intent on pressuring the kick, Forrest slipped by them with ease, running untouched until finally being pushed out of bounds. It was the fourth longest run for the Cougs this season.



Ground games going

Both the Huskies and Cougars looked to establish their running games after getting subpar efforts from their quarterbacks in recent weeks. The Huskies rolled up a season-high 224 yards rushing with Griffin getting 112. True freshman Terrence Dailey also had a solid game with 94 yards on 20 carries. WSU wasn't quite as productive, but did manage 171 yards rushing - the most against a Pac-10 team this season. Dwight Tardy ran for 80 yards on 19 carries and Logwone Mitz added 74 yards on seven carries, including a 57-yard run which is WSU's longest run from scrimmage of the season.



Fouch fails to reach 100

For the third time in seven starts, quarterback Ronnie Fouch failed to throw for 100 yards in a game. Last weekend against UCLA, Fouch threw for just 39 yards. On Saturday, Fouch threw for 99 yards on 11-of-16 passing with nearly a third of that yardage coming on a 38-yard screen pass to tight end Michael Gottlieb.



Injury report

Washington offensive lineman Jordan White-Frisbee was helped off the field by teammates and was favoring his ankle, but the Huskies reported no other major injuries. For the Cougars, Jeshua Anderson suffered a chest contusion and Tony Thompson had a mild concussion.



Extra points

Paul Wulff become the first WSU coach coach since Jim Sweeney in 1968 to win his Apple Cup debut. ... Receiver Brandon Gibson had five catches, moving him into second place on WSU's all-time receptions list with 181. He moved ahead of Hugh Campbell (1960-62), who had 176. Gibson now trails former teammate Michael Bumpus, who has 195. ... Cougars linebacker Greg Trent had 12 tackles, giving him 371 for his career and moving him into seventh place in WSU history.



Next

WSU wraps up its season with a trip to Hawaii for a non-conference game on Saturday at Aloha Stadium. The Huskies have next weekend off and return to the field on Dec. 6 when they travel to Berkeley to take on the California Bears.

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