BY Art Thiel 08:02PM 11/24/2014

Thiel: Student mayhem an Apple Cup tradition

Huskies coach Chris Petersen is new to the Apple Cup, so perhaps he’ll get a snowy, freezing night in Pullman to really understand the high standards of the rivalry.

A member of the Washington State band needed a splint after being struck by an ice ball thrown from high up Martin Stadium during the 2010 Apple Cup in Pullman. / Sportspress Northwest file

In his first Apple Cup week, Chris Petersen flirted with honesty. No, the newcomer Huskies coach didn’t that say it was a shame the cows don’t have a Washington State team of which they can be proud. But he did say the traditional game was a far bigger deal for fans than players, which has always been true but usually talked around by coaches disinclined to dismiss fan foolishness.

“The fans are the ones that are so intense about this,” Petersen said Monday. “We’re intense about the game anyway. So to say,  ‘OK, now we’ve got to really play extra hard.’ I mean, really?”

Really. Some fans like to imagine that players care as much they do. Rivalry games are like that, able to warp sensibilities. Generations of fans get on their tribal allegiances once a year in order to justify disparaging the wrong-colored varmints from the wrong institutes of higher education. It’s inane, but if logic were applied to college football, the sport would have been banned years ago.

So there’s a considerable buy-in to the entire mythology. To which Petersen subscribes — he has no choice.

“I do think they’re fun,” he said. “I think they’re fun for the universities. I think they’re good for the fans and all those type of things. But sometimes I’ve got a little bit of a hard time saying, ‘OK, now we’ve got to really go.’”

Asked whether he had been debriefed about the mayhem that frequently attends Apple Cups in Martin Stadium, site of this year’s disputation at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (Fox Sports 1), he deferred.

“We haven’t talked a whole lot about that,” he said. “The only thing we can do is control what we can control. Hopefully there aren’t too many snowballs they can throw.”

Sounds as if he has heard a few things. Like maybe the Apple Cup in 2010. If he would like to know more, fifth-year senior WR DiAndre Campbell can fill him in. A freshman using his redshirt year, he was on the sidelines for QB Jake Locker’s final UW regular-season game, which Washington won 35-28 to become bowl-eligible.

“If you’re not from Washington, you don’t understand the rivalry and how intense it really is,” said Campbell, a 6-2, 205-pounder from Oakland Tech. “Being in a hostile crowd, talking smack, that whole vibe. It was pretty cool.”

Then it turned cruel. The culprits were drunken students, their weapon of choice was ice.

Before the game, the stadium had to be cleared of snow. Left behind was slush that refroze into ice balls. Before halftime, some in the announced crowd of 30,157  launched the frozen missiles from sections containing WSU as well as UW students, striking other fans lower in the stands, as well as band members from both schools assembling for the halftime show.

In the fourth quarter, Semisi Tokolahi, a UW defensive tackle, broke an ankle. As he was taken off the field on a cart, he was pelted by ice balls.

“I’ll never forget that,” Campbell said. “That will forever stick in my mind. He got hit. That was the utmost disrespect for a player who had a season-ending injury.”

News reports following the game said 34 people were treated at a stadium first-aid station by paramedics and eight were taken to the hospital. Campus police reported 18 arrests and 30 ejections, although some were for fighting.

“In that moment, I really understood the significance and hatred between the schools,” Campbell said.  “A defining moment. They don’t get along.”

WSU police chief Bill Gardner released a statement on behalf of his police department following the game condemning the violence, saying he “was disappointed in the fans’ behavior on both sides” and calling their actions both “inappropriate and dangerous.”

Fortunately for attendees Saturday, the forecast is for chilly weather, but any precip likely is modest and will start as rain in the morning and perhaps snow by evening. But no glacial activity.

Then again, the weather was decent in 2012, when the Cougars upset the Huskies 31-28 in overtime. UW’s Travis Coons missed a game-winning field goal in regulation, QB Keith Price lost a fumble in OT that was returned nearly the length of the field, then WSU kicked the game-winning field goal. Hundreds of fans poured onto the field to celebrate, including one Cougars fan who discovered Huskies TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins walking off the field without his helmet and sucker-punched him in the face.

We could go on, but suffice to say that there’s nothing like college football tradition.

“You always hear ‘throw out all the records,’ all that stuff, but I think there’s some truth to that,” said Petersen. “I just think things even out and crazy things happen.”

Hoo-boy. He has no idea.


  • 1coolguy

    Basically Art, you are describing incidents that take place at WSU. The Husky fans are not as caught up in the game, as we have many other things to focus on.
    The bottom line is the Pullman cops and the WSU cops need to DO THEIR JOBS. The students are drunk and rowdy and need a few night sticks to the head to come around. It’s long, long over due.

    • NeverAgain

      ^^^^ *IDIOT* who’s never been inside Husky Stadium.

      • art thiel

        Name calling should fix that.

      • 1coolguy

        Season ticket holder, actually.

    • art thiel

      Thank you, Sean Hannity. Just knock a few heads.

      Actually, 30,000 mostly drunk fans is never a good match even if you have 300 cops.

      • 1coolguy

        If I had his money, I’ll be him! Sure thing. The players and UW fans being pelted, esp with ice balls and other hard things just doesn’t cut it. I don’t know why but WSU and Oregon fans just seem to go over the line a lot. I haven’t seen the same degree of out of control crowds elsewhere in teh PAC-12, so I know it can be different.

        • art thiel

          Fat, drunk and stupid, as Dean Wormer informed Bluto, is no way to go through life. But I don’t much care, as long as they don’t throw stuff that injures/maims fans and players.

  • jafabian

    To be fair, there’s been a fair share of questionable incidents at Husky Stadium as well. Such is rivalry week which brings out the best and worst in players and fans. Lately the Ducks have surpassed the Cougs as the team UW wants to beat but I think finally both schools have coaches that can bring them to the heights of the James/Walden era. I do miss Rick Neuheisel’s Northwest Championship concept though.

    I’m fully confident that UW will be keeping the trophy at Montlake, though rivalry week makes the odds even. As I say that I hear Chris Chandler saying “At least we don’t have to go to Pullman.”

    • NeverAgain

      “To be fair, there’s been a fair share of questionable incidents at Husky Stadium as well.”

      That’s putting it mildly. I’m convinced that Art has never attended one.

      • art thiel

        Actually, I’ve been to too many. Yes, Huskies sections include many knotheads. But I truly hate it when fans throw crap toward the field. So stupid.

    • art thiel

      Last 10 games, Apple Cup is 5-5.

      You’re right about fans on both sides egging each other on. But the last two ACs in Pullman were noteworthy in the mayhem dept.

    • 1coolguy

      It would seem you haven’t “experienced” Pullman. I suggest you do, then write.
      Also, whenever I have seen a rowdy fan @ UW stadium those people are always taken out by security. At least in the South Stadium seats.

      • jafabian

        It wasn’t my intent to single out WSU. Based on your statement are you suggesting that all shenanigans are on UW and that over the years WSU fans are largely blameless?

  • 3 Lions

    Let’s hope Pete doesn’t have to manage the clock w a minute and a half left…

    • Tian Biao

      Leach’s clock-management skills are equally questionable, as in, New Mexico Bowl (don’t ask, the cougs will take any bowl they can get) 2013.

    • art thiel

      If the Cougs are behind late, it’s advisable for all players and coaches to take knees. Smaller targets.

    • 3 Lions

      “But geez, the PAC 12 is so hard”

    • art thiel

      With Leach as the opposing coach, he should be OK.

  • Greg

    Art, good one as usual, as I laugh through the tears. And, whoever the geniuses are that schedule football to start at 8PM can almost guarantee that those barley soda drinking folks will have a full head of steam for kick off. In my cynicism, I assume the late starts are all about the almighty $.

    • art thiel

      Not cynicism. It’s fact. No thinking adult at either school wants a 7:30 start, but they sold their souls years ago to the Pac-12 Nets monster. The problems with late-game starts in November for players, coaches and fans are far secondary to revenue.

  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    I read a Jim Moore piece a year or two back and he was describing a game in which he smuggled a 5th in as a student and by the 3rd quarter was too blitzed to care that Oregon was up by 3 Tds… he had really?Oregon? Thoughts for most of the 1st half…but by the 2nd half he was almost docile concentrating on drinking his cares away.

    Unfortunately in this rivalry game instead of its just a game(docile thoughts)… It turns to violent thoughts for too many of these characters. Cant expect the Pullman security to be you know….efficient but it looks like checking students at the door better could be a start.
    It could produce all of the booze they would need at the Pullman PD Christmas party.
    Very funny last line , Art. He doesn’t even know. Well the savior from Boise is about to find out.

    • art thiel

      Security upgrades are many since Jim’s days as a smuggler, but if the weapons are already in the stands, kinda hard to check that.

  • NeverAgain

    After my hospital visit, I’ll never visit Husky Stadium and it’s seats full of Seahawks fan for an Apple Cup again.

    • rosetta_stoned

      Why don’t you provide some specifics instead of leaving your deposits all over the thread?

      • art thiel

        I would like to hear verifiable stories.

  • Xavier Cougit

    Pre-game kegger? Check.
    Bud Lite warm-up toss at Bailey-Brayton Field? Check.
    Bottles of piss filled up and ready? Check.

    Tradition. It’s almost as good as extradition.

    • art thiel

      Not to mention it’s a degree program.

  • WestCoug

    I was at 2010 version. Saw the ice throwing and WSU students intimidating anyone in UW gear up close (triage for victims was right in front of us). Was thankful I and son got out of place without injury. Drunken WSU students everywhere and NO police attempting to keep control.. I’m a double WSU alum and was embarrassed and outraged. Wrote letters to Gov. on down. WSU President should have been fired for what happened there that day. Haven’t bought season tickets since.

    • art thiel

      Thanks for the eyewitness account, WestCoug. I remember hearing/reading similar accounts after that game. The new tradition: College sports as bacchanal.

  • dawg fan

    I was at the Apple Cup in Pullman the year they cleared the stands because of a pipe bomb. Not cool.

    • art thiel

      Ah, but the kids are just having fun, right? It’s why “Animal House” worked as a movie: Authenticity.

  • Jeff Shope

    The wet behind the ears students just use it as an excuse to be stupid they have no idea what this rivalry has been in past before they were born most have never seen both teams good at same time and playing in an apple cup that really meant something