Washington State has already made Apple Cup history merely by keeping Luke Falk healthy and able to play on Friday

STOP THE PRESSES! Washington State has already made Apple Cup history! The Cougars' starting quarterback is healthy and ready to play! OK, Wazzu having its starting QB healthy in late November might not equal, say, the Cubs winning the World Series. But it is damned noteworthy. Since the start of the millennium, WSU has seen its No. 1 quarterback start and/or finish the Apple Cup -- well, how many times would you guess?

The painful answer is six times in 16 games. The Huskies haven't had to face WSU's best quarterback 62 percent of the time over that stretch (much apparently to one Husky DL's chagrin, see end of article). Here's the list:

2000: Jason Gesser. Missed the Apple Cup with a broken leg.
2001: Jason Gesser. Broken thumb on his throwing hand in the second quarter.
2002: Jason Gesser. Syndesmotic ligaments sprain in third quarter.
2003: Matt Kegel.  Separated shoulder in second quarter.
2004: Josh Swogger. Lost earlier in season to a broken foot.
2008: Gary Rogers.  Rogers (neck) and Marshall Lobbestael (knee) both lost earlier in season.
2009: Jeff Tuel.  Lost earlier to a knee injury. In Apple Cup, Lobbestael and Lopina lost to concussions. WSU finished game with walk on punter Dan Wagner under center.
2011: Connor Halliday. Lost earlier to a lacerated liver.
2014: Connor Halliday. Lost earlier to a broken leg.
2015: Luke Falk. Lost earlier to a concussion.

There have been a few crimson bright spots in the face of all the injuries. Alex Brink stepped in as a freshmen to beat UW in 2004, the first of his three Apple Cup wins.  Lopina, who surely still holds some kind of record for throwing zero touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 2008, somehow found a way to beat the Huskies that year as the backup, and all but guaranteed UW would finish 0-12. Tuel, after missing most of 2012 to a knee injury, upset the Huskies in his final game in a WSU uniform.

So yes, it's Apple Cup time and thank God, record-shredding Cougar QB Luke Falk is still healthy. UW defensive tackle Elijah Qualls said this week he's glad Falk will play unlike in 2015.

"That always frustrated me (that Falk didn’t play), because all the Cougar fans, they’re like, ‘Oh, if we had Luke Falk …’” Qualls told the Seattle Times. “Come on, man. I’m not going to lie: The dude is good. But 35 points? I don’t know about that."

Meanwhile, UW secondary coach Jimmy Lake apparently told KJR's Dave Mahler he didn't think much of the Air Raid offense Falk plays in under Mike Leach.

"Its basketball on grass and not tough hard nose football," Lake said.

A healthy WSU quarterback and the Huskies are chirping.  What more could you want?

The Apple Cup kicks off Friday at 12:30 pm (TV: Fox).

* Injuries weren't the problem here but Cougar fans would have loved to have seen three more Apple Cups from these guys. Cougar QBs Ryan Leaf, Drew Bledsoe and Timm Rosenbach ended their WSU careers early in favor of the NFL Draft. 

* The QB who started last year for the Cougs in the Apple Cup, Peyton Bender  is headed to Kansas, per Bender left WSU after being ruled academically ineligible and spent the 2016 season playing at Itawamba Community College (2,733 yards, 21 TDs, 4 INTs).

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