BY SPNW Staff 11:30AM 11/23/2011

Apple Cup: 10 Best Games — If You’re A Husky

We have recapped 10 memorable University of Washington victories in the Apple Cup. Help us select which of these Husky victories ranks as the most memorable.

Don James (1975-92) won more Apple Cup games (13) than any coach in the history of the Washington-Washington State rivalry. / DR Collection

Washington has defeated Washington State 66 times in 103 meetings (the schools have played to six ties) and currently sports a two-game winning streak over the Cougars, whom they meet for the 104th time Saturday at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

Trying to narrow down the list of Washington’s most memorable wins is difficult, but not impossible. Here are 10 from the modern era (since 1960) that Husky fans still talk about.

They are presented chronologically. We ask you to vote on the one most memorable for you. If there is a game memorable for you that we have not listed, please add it to our comments section.



Heading into the final period, neither team had scored. But WSU struck quickly when Melvin Melin threw a short TD pass to All-America receiver Hugh Campbell. On Washington’s next possession, the Huskies drove to the WSU one-yard line and Kermit Jorgensen took it in for the TD. UW coach Jim Owens could have opted for a tie. Instead, he instructed quarterback Bob Hivner to attempt a two-point conversion. UW halfback Don McKeta, playing on a leg sewn up with 13 stitches from a gash he’d received in the first half, caught the pass that gave Washington the win and a berth in the Rose Bowl.

UW 28, WSU 27 / NOV. 22, 1975 / HUSKY STADIUM

No Apple Cup ever had a wackier windup than the 1975 renewal at Husky Stadium. With 3:01 remaining, Washington State held a 27-14 lead and seemed on the verge of a significant upset. The 3-7 Cougars also had the ball on the UW 14-yard line, staring at fourth and one, and needed only a field goal to clinch the contest. WSU coach Jim Sweeney initially ordered a run, but his players wanted to pass. Sweeney, in what would become a classic blunder, reluctantly acquiesced. After the snap, WSU quarterback John Hopkins threw toward his tight end, but Washington’s Al Burleson stepped in front of him and intercepted the ball.

After two steps, Burleson was on his way to a 93-yard touchdown. After the Husky defense held, Washington got the ball back with 1:58 left and WSU clinging to a 27-21 lead. With the Huskies positioned deep in their own territory, UW quarterback Warren Moon, playing only because of an injury to starter Chris Rowland, launched a “here’s-hoping” bomb in the direction of wide receiver Spider Gaines, running free behind the Cougars’ secondary.

Moon badly underthrew the ball, and a trio of Cougar defenders converged at midfield to intercept it. But WSU’s midfield committee botched the job. The ball bounced off WSU’s Tony Heath and ricocheted into the arms of Gaines, who ran into the end zone for a 78-yard touchdown. Steve Robbins’ extra point gave the Huskies an improbable 28-27 victory, which led to Sweeney’s resignation.

UW 23, WSU 10 / NOV. 21, 1981 / HUSKY STADIUM

The 74th renewal of the Apple Cup marked the first (and last) time the Pac-10 title and Rose Bowl berth were on the line for both teams. Washington, ranked 17th by The Associated Press, won with Ron Jackson rushing for 103 yards, Jacque Robinson adding 93, and Paul Skansi making a difficult catch of a 15-yard Steve Pelluer pass in the end zone that put UW ahead. The Huskies went on to Pasadena, where they defeated Iowa 28-0 in the Rose Bowl. The 14th-ranked Cougars accepted a bid to the Holiday Bowl in San Diego, and lost to Brigham Young, 38-36.

UW 56, WSU 21 / NOV. 23, 1991 / HUSKY STADIUM

Not only did the Huskies complete their first perfect regular season – 11-0 – in modern history, they established a single-game scoring record against the Cougars, as Billy Joe Hobert tossed three TD passes and Mark Brunell threw for a TD and ran for a TD. The Cougars amassed 430 total yards on offense, but gave up 460 to the Huskies and also committed 16 penalties, sending them 169 yards in reverse.

UW 33, WSU 30/ NOV. 18, 1995 / HUSKY STADIUM

Despite a 212-yard, two-TD day by Rashaan Shehee, the Huskies could not shake the Cougars. In fact, the UW trailed 7-0 and 14-6 in the first half and 22-15 in the fourth quarter before rallying to take a 30-22 lead with five minutes to play. But WSU needed just 2:46 to march 80 yards and score the game-tying touchdown and two-point conversion, making it 30-30 with 2:17 to play. Washington PK John Wales finally decided the issue with 1:02 to go by making a 21-yard field goal.

UW 31, WSU 24 (OT) / NOV. 23, 1996 / MARTIN STADIUM

After racing to a 24-0 lead, Washington weathered a frenzied WSU rally orchestrated by Ryan Leaf and defeated the Cougars in overtime when Brock Huard threw a three-yard touchdown pass to Jerome Pathon. It marked Washington’s first win in the Palouse since 1990 and also its first OT win over the Cougars, who literally came up a foot shy of sending the contest into a second overtime when Leaf’s pass to Chad Carpenter was caught just out of bounds to end the game.

UW 51, WSU 3 / NOV. 18, 2000 / MARTIN STADIUM

While Washington celebrated a Pac-10 title, a 10-1 season and a pending Rose Bowl invitation, the Cougars were left to stew over the worst loss in Apple Cup history, the worst WSU loss in 24 years and the worst WSU loss at home in 45. To make matters even more entertaining for UW followers, WSU running back Deon Burnett, who predicted he would rush for more than 200 yards, managed just 20.

UW 29, WSU 26 / Nov. 23, 2002 / MARTIN STADIUM

Given their erratic play throughout much of the 2002 season, there seemed little reason to suspect the 6-5 Washington Huskies could topple No. 3-ranked Washington State in the 95th Apple Cup, especially with a Rose Bowl berth at stake for the Cougars. The notion of a UW win appeared even more unlikely with 4:30 remaining and Washington State sporting a 20-10 lead in front of an approving Pullman throng.

But UW quarterback Cody Pickett marched the Huskies 92 yards in the next minute and 28 seconds, culminating the six-play drive with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Paul Arnold that pulled the Huskies within a field goal. On the ensuing drive, UW freshman cornerback Nate Robinson intercepted a pass by backup WSU quarterback Matt Kegel, who was playing in place of starter Jason Gesser, sent to the sidelines in the third quarter after getting sacked by Washington’s Terry “Tank” Johnson.

Until that point, Husky kicker John Anderson, who endured a less-than-distinguished afternoon by going 0-for-3 on field goal attempts, hit a 27-yard field goal to send the game into just the second overtime in Apple Cup history. Anderson and WSU’s Drew Dunning exchanged threes in the first two overtime periods. In the third overtime, after Anderson gave Washington a 29-26 lead with his fifth field goal of the game, the Huskies won when defensive end Kai Ellis batted down and recovered a disputed backwards pass by Kegel.

UW 27, WSU 19 / NOV. 22, 2003 / HUSKY STADIUM

No. 8 Washington State seemed to have the game wrapped up with 1:10 to play and the Cougars holding a 19-14 lead at Husky Stadium. But WSU wilted in the final 70 seconds, finally losing when Cody Pickett threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to freshman Corey Williams, and Marquis Cooper scored on an intercepted pass moments later.

UW 30, WSU 0 / NOV. 28, 2009 / HUSKY STADIUM

After losing four games in a row, Washington entered the Apple Cup on a downer. But Jake Locker and an energized Husky defense seized the day. Locker threw for 196 yards and a touchdown, ran for 94 yards and another score, and the UW defense knocked Cougar quarterbacks out of the game on three different occasions. It marked Washington’s first shutout in the Apple Cup in 45 years. Chris Polk ran for 130 yards and became the first Washington freshman to crack 1,000 yards in a season. To the delight of UW fans, Washington State did not run a play inside the Huskies’ 33 all night.

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