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Cougar Confidential: Former players agree Cougs didn't bring their A game to the Apple Cup

IN THIS FINAL regular season edition of Cougar Confidential, former WSU players offer thoughts and insights on the Apple Cup loss to Washington. They understand the magnitude of what it's like to win an Apple Cup as well as the aftermath of a loss. Read on for analysis from guys who know this game.

Mkristo Bruce (2002-2006) Two-time All-Pac-10 & Holiday Bowl Champion

Thoughts from a spectator: "Our team was out played, out performed and out managed. We played the same football as we did in the Game One loss to Eastern Washington. Once again it was dropped passes, bad angles, missed tackles, and zero pressure on the quarterback. We had a national opportunity to make noise and put our school on the map by continuing to march toward a Pac-12 championship and we folded."

Thoughts from a player: "There are games that you are supposed to win. Then there are games that change history books. This Apple Cup game was the biggest game that most of the players on this team will get a chance to play in. Where they prepared? Did they understand that this represented the history books and our state?"

"I was always taught that, 'Piss poor preparation promotes pain.' This hurts and I believe that we were out prepared."

"We need sense of urgency!"

"Be proud of the way the season turned out after EWU and Boise State losses. Learn how to start fast and finish faster."

Joshua Duin (2002-2006) Holiday Bowl Champion

"Well that was a dud. I will state first and foremost that these guys are much more talented than I ever was. I appreciate the ride this season has been, but I sure am upset the morning after."

"We got punched in the face and didn't respond. We just didn't have any swagger."

"For most of the game play calling was fine. I have no problem with our game plan, we just couldn't execute. Drops on top of drops, bad turnovers, and the inability to get one yard when we need it, well, that's a game plan for an ass whopping."

"Tip of the hat to UWs defense. They are fast, and our guys might not like this, but they are faster than us. We kept trying to take the edge and they just ran our boys down. Given UW was missing two key players from their front seven I thought we would have run behind our Outland Trophy candidate. But we just kept bouncing outside the tackles where yet another defender was waiting after dropping seven and even eight against us."

RELATED: CFC TV: Cougs didn't deserve to win says Marks

"Lastly I feel for these seniors. My last college game was a loss to UW at home. I was fortunate to beat those Dawgs twice in the four Apple Cups I played in, but these seniors are 0-4 against them. I hope they take the time between now and the bowl game to soak it all in and finish with a win."

"On a different subject, but totally related, I sit up in the club seats. You have to be a season ticket holder and CAF member to sit there. There were more Huskies up there yesterday than I could have ever imagined. It was very disappointing to see "loyal" Cougs selling their tickets to the Apple Cup to UW fans so they can stay home. This team deserved better."

Deron Pointer (1991-1993)

"Tough loss for the Cougs but not due to lack of effort. A couple of turnovers and fourth down conversions (one of four) along with a few dropped passes won't get it done against the No. 5 team in the country."

"The receivers played well overall with Gabe Marks turning in yet another great game. Unfortunately, we are not the same corps of receivers without No. 21 (River Cracraft) in the middle."

"Looking forward to going bowling. Hopefully we get something with some good temperature."

Kyle Basler (2002-2005) MVP 2003 Holiday Bowl

"Special teams-wise there was nothing bad. Jamal Morrow had a heckuva punt return and I really think having that second return man on punts threw UW off as they were only focused on the deep guy."

"As far as the game, in the first quarter when UW was on fire it looked as if the wind had been knocked out of our guys."

"After the first quarter, we started to get on track but we were not capitalizing on opportunities (getting stuffed on the goal line after Morrow's big return) which is a must against a team as strong as UW.  Going into the second half it looked like there was some life being pumped back into our guys but we simply could not slow down their offense and put pressure on Jake Browning which is key to disrupting their game (see what USC did to them)."

"Overall, I was confident going into this game but when a team jumps out to that kind of a lead, you really have to answer back quickly and not give them a reason to get back on their wagon (UW goal line stands and an interception in the end zone)."

"Go Cougs!!"

Sam Lightbody (2000-2004) Sun Bowl & Holiday Bowl Champion

"This Apple Cup was a rough one. It stings more because of the position the team put themselves in at the end of the year. They played well enough this season that this game meant more than usual."

"It seems that alumni and people in the state of Washington are the only ones that the Apple Cup means something to. Down here in California most people don't think about the Apple Cup. I'm proud that this year it was front and center on a national stage with drama the whole country was interested in. The chance to play for the Pac-12 Championship was on the line, but the Huskies were much more ready than the Cougs."

"I saw a lot that I could talk about that I think we could do better and some good things about the Cougs, but I think it's time to focus on the bowl game. A lot of time passes from now until then and it's easy to lose focus when you get back to the grind of bowl practice."

"I hope the Cougs will come out firing to help us all get rid of the Apple Cup hangover."

"Can't wait for the next game! Go Cougs!!!"

Gino Simone (2009-2012)

"Rough game for the Cougs. You can't spot a team four touchdowns in the first quarter and expect to be in a real close game."

"The one bright spot was watching Gabe Marks go to work against UW's Kevin King. Gabe had him on skates the entire Apple Cup. Love watching his competitiveness on the field. No time to dwell on the loss. Time to get ready for the bowl game!"

"Go Cougs!"

RELATED: RADIO: Is the Apple Cup just another game?

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