Apple Cup: Crimson & Purple don't mix

PULLMAN — You won’t see Jeremiah Allison wearing any purple this week, or any other week. The Cougar linebacker says he has never worn that color in his life. Another Cougar linebacker has a different perspective. Peyton Pelluer (pictured above) grew up a Husky with plenty of purple in his closet.

“When I committed here, I had more purple in my wardrobe than I did crimson but I’m blessed to be here and I’m thankful to be here -- and I’m in the right place,” Pelluer said. “I basically grew up a Husky. My dad coached, I grew up running around the facilities, and I grew up watching every practice of my brother, every game... I basically grew up a Husky -- but now I'm a Coug, so that's all in the past.”

The MIKE linebacker’s brother, Cooper, played at Washington. His dad, Scott, played linebacker for the Cougs (1977-80) and later coached at UW. His uncle Steve played quarterback for the Huskies during the early 80’s. Peyton's grandfather, John (Arnie), played end for the Cougs from 1953-55 and, his great great grandfather, Carl Gustafson (Scott's mom's father), played flanker at WSU from 1925-27.

Pelluer, being so familiar with the rivalry, was asked if he "felt the hatred" between the two schools.

"I really do. Obviously I respect the Huskies a lot... some people really don't know what it's about until they experience it first-hand - some of the California guys on our team, out of state guys," said Pelluer. Jeremiah Allison is one of those guys, hailing from Los Angeles.

“Coming in as a freshman, I really didn’t know the tradition of the Apple Cup. But playing in a couple of them, having won one and lost one, it’s a really big game to people around here -- and it means a lot to a lot of people around here. So we just want to play with our hair on fire and come out victorious,” Allison said.

And Allison is now a third-year junior.

“The guy in the other color, that won’t be mentioned, they don’t like you. And you have to take on that mentality as well: We don’t like you as well. After the game, it’s all love -- or lack thereof. But on the field, it’s something totally different,” Allison said.

Allison also described the atmosphere when visiting his godbrother, former Dorsey High teammate and current UW receiver Jaydon Mickens in Seattle during the summer last year following the Cougars' win in 2012. Allison said he found out that rocking crimson wasn't appreciated, saying everybody looked down on him and made him feel invisible.

"After I felt the disrespect, (laughs) it is what it is," said Allison.

“I think it provides huge momentum going into the offseason," Joe Dahl said about what a win would mean. "Two years ago, we won that Apple Cup, and it launched us into a great offseason. I think it just gives you great momentum going into spring ball and into offseason workouts, and we saw it last year how we doubled (the) wins after we won that (2012) Apple Cup,” Joe Dahl said.

Allison said linebackers coach Ken Wilson "really harped on" the importance of winning on Saturday, saying it was for year-round bragging rights. Pelluer echoed the thought.

“We’re not bowl-eligible so we’re treating this as our bowl, (the) state championship so to speak,” Pelluer said. “It’s bragging rights for the whole year. For the seniors, it’s their last game, so we’re trying to send them out with a bang, and with as much momentum as we can into the offseason.”

Mike Leach said it’s important not to let distractions take hold this week, and that there is no such thing as playing any harder in this game than any other during the regular season. However, Leach did acknowledge the magnitude of the rivalry.

“This is one of the most intense ones I’ve been a part of. All rivalries have their own quality to it. It’s really another game, but this is an intense rivalry and everybody gets excited about it, and you hear somebody or another talk about it year-round,” Leach said.

The Cougars up front defensively have created significant pressure in their last two games against Oregon State and Arizona State, something Pelluer said needs to be replicated against the Huskies. A strong front seven helps out the defensive backs with pressure up front, Pelluer said, and the secondary tries to reciprocate with help on the back end. They all play as brothers on the field, Pelluer said, and when pressure is brought to bear, it’s because of what is going onside the helmet.

“It’s a mental mindset that we can’t be stopped, we won’t be stopped. In Arizona State, coming out off turnovers, sometimes our mental mindset wasn’t what it needs to be. But when we’re playing together, playing with each other, trusting in each other to do... their job, then it all comes together... it really comes down to doing your job and trusting the guy next to you,” Pelluer said.

Kache Palacio put on his reporter's hat late in Allison's presser and had a question for his fellow linebacker. Allison didn't miss a beat.

"Losing that ping pong game five minutes ago - to Kache Palacio - has that affected you in any way?" asked the Cougar BUCK.

"Marshawn Lynch answer: No," quipped Allison.

NOTABLE:
  • Leach was asked Monday if Kristoff Williams would participate in Senior Day. (A Lewiston Morning Tribune article last week reported Williams asked Leach in late October if he would be included in activities like Senior Day and the team banquet and that Leach said no.)

    “As far as I know. I haven’t talked to him, and haven’t paid attention to it. It’s fine with me. Here’s the thing I get a kick out of you guys. There’s nobody in the nation that a month and a half before Senior Day plans what’s going to happen at Senior Day. I haven’t planned one my entire career, and I’m not now,” said Leach.

    Leach was then asked if Williams was ever told he couldn't participate in Senior Day.

    “Not by me," said Leach. "Not by me. I’ve talked to him once in three months so we’re excited for what he’s done, and we wish him the best."  

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