Apple Cup one to remember for another reason

PULLMAN -- The Apple Cup on Saturday was a down-to-the-wire heart-stopper that won't long be forgotten in this colorful series between Washington State and Washington. But for me, the lasting memory of the 103rd meeting between the rivals will be of Cougar receiver Daniel Blackledge, whose day was dedicated to his mom who couldn't be there to see his last game at Martin Stadium.

You see, Cynthia Blackledge, died a little less than two years ago after raising four sons, including an honor student and first-class ball player who took the field in crimson Saturday with his mom in his heart, but not in the stands.

The senior from Colorado Springs had the best game of his life, hauling in 7 receptions for 132 yards and the TD that brought the Cougs to within 21-14 late in the third quarter.

"That was to my mother," "Blackledge said of his TD. "She passed at the end of my sophomore year and I was definitely dedicating it to her. I had to get her one because she's out there with me.

After getting off the turf following his catch of Jeff Tuel's pass for the score, Blackledge pointed to the heavens in honor of his mom.

"Especially with the last game going out as a senior and her not being physically here it was really a special moment for me," Blackledge said.

"He played huge today," Tuel said of Blackledge's on Saturday. "He bailed me out a few times. There were a couple times I overthrew him but he can run a little bit. He's a great player, a real great player and I'm going to miss him."

Head coach Paul Wulff was equally effusive: "Daniel Blackledge had some great catches today. I couldn't be happier for the guy who played so well and I'm very proud of him. He finished his senior year extremely well."

Blackledge's Apple Cup work capped a stellar end to the season, which also included 4 receptions for 76 yards in the win over Oregon State. For the season, he had 30 catches for 456 yards and 3 TDs.

"I try to get better every week and fortunately I had watched a lot of film and was prepared for this game," Blackledge said. "I expected to have a big game but it's unfortunate we couldn't get this W. It felt right, but it happens."


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