Top 5 Apple Cup plays of the last 40 years

GREAT PLAYS have a way of staying awhile in the collective conscience of a fan base. But when you add the magnifying glass of a rivalry into the equation, such plays don't just linger in the mind's eye. They are permanently etched there.

So when the task is to pick the five greatest plays in Apple Cup history -- from the Cougar perspective -- the memorable moments come cascading down like they happened yesterday.

There's punter Glenn Harper laying out Danny Greene in 1983. And linebacker Scott Davis striping Casey Paus and Will Derting recovering the ball in the endzone for a touchdown in 2004.

Neither of those memorable moments made the top five. Nor did Mark Pleis' interception that secured the biggest upset in the history of the rivalry, 24-20, in 1982 -- the same game where Chuck Nelson missed his first field goal of the season late in the game.

The list goes on.

But without further adieu, here -- in ascending order -- is CF.C's VH1-style countdown of the top five plays in Apple Cup history:


The television series "Unsolved Mysteries" might have to be reprised to determine what UW quarterback Price was thinking in overtime. Instead of throwing the ball away or taking the sack, Price threw the ball up for grabs and Pole, who was listed at 277 pounds, intercepted the pass and rumbled 62 yards down the field before being tackled at the Huskies' 5-yard line by wide receiver Cody Bruns. Andrew Furney later kicked the game-winning 27-yard field goal for a 31-28 win. It was among a series of improbable events that helped the Cougars overcome a 28-10 deficit entering the fourth quarter for the largest comeback in series history.


Radio personality and WSU alum Jason Puckett once asked Gibson (pictured above) if he ever worried about dropping Brink's 35-yard pass because he was so wide open. But that was the only easy element about this play. Brink faked a handoff, which did not fool the Huskies, and under heavy pressure heaved the go-ahead touchdown with 31 seconds remaining. It was the culminating moment in one of the most entertaining Apple Cups. The contest featured three lead changes and two ties. Brink, who completed 27 of 40 passes for 399 yards and five touchdowns, became the first signal-caller to win three Apple Cups for the Cougars.


Jay Languein suggested to WSU special teams coach Dave Arnold that he step closer to the sidelines as Eric Canton prepared to punt for UW. Languein felt the blocker would follow him and free Shawn Landrum to pursue Canton. It was a risk that paid off as Landrum went untouched to block the punt, which was recovered by Languein with 10:42 left at Washington's 13-yard line. Quarterback Timm Rosenbach subsequently scored on a 5-yard keepr on fourth down with 9:06 remaining to propel the Cougars to a 32-31 win. One interesting subplot involved Canton and Languein. They graduated together in 1986 from South Kitsap High. Languein's mother also was the cousin of Jim Lambright, the Huskies' defensive coordinator at the time.


Jackson drew the wrath of coach Mike Price early during Apple Cup week when he famously said, "I don't have much respect for them as people or players." He backed up his talk on the field when he caught Leaf's pass down the left sideline, juked one defender and then ran over safety Tony Parrish, who later played nine years in the NFL, en route to the end zone for a 57-yard TD. That was the go-ahead score for the Cougars in the second quarter as they fended off the Huskies for a 41-35 win and their first Rose Bowl berth in 67 years.


Perhaps the most iconic play in Cougar history. Bledsoe faked a handoff, dropped back to midfield and hurled a pass toward C.J. Davis that Bobo's outstretched arms snagged just before the two collided and fell onto the snow-covered turf under the goalpost. The play started an onslaught for WSU, which trailed the Huskies 7-6 at halftime. The touchdown, which was followed up by a two-point conversion pass from Bledsoe to Calvin Schexnayder, started a 29-0 WSU run en route to a 42-23 victory over the Rose Bowl-bound Dawgs.

HONORABLE MENTION: It was painful to leave off Trandon Harvey taking a bubble screen from Brink 39 yards for the winning touchdown with 1:20 left to give the Cougars a 26-22 victory in the 2005 Apple Cup. And simply giving it a sentence in the preamble wasn't justice given how memorable the play was. So here it is as the lone honorable mention pick.

Scroll to 1:01 for Harvey's dash to paydirt

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