What they're saying: Apple Cup quips

Mike Price on the sidelines during second half. (Otto Greule/ALLSPORT)

Carter Strickland, Spokesman-Review: "True to form, Washington State coach Mike Price put his own spin on things after the 26-14 Apple Cup loss. 'Well, it didn't rain,' he told the press. At least not until WSU wide receiver Nakoa McElrath got into the pressroom. Then it poured. The tempestuous wide receiver complained for 15 minutes about his lack of involvement in the offense and the play calling by the WSU coaching staff. McElrath's frustration and lack of production could be pinned to the fact that he has dropped four balls in the past two weeks two of them touchdowns and is, at best, a lazy practice player."

Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times: "So, Washington players were watching television Friday night when a news report showed practice footage of Washington State players prancing around at Husky Stadium, calling the place 'The Cougs' House' and jabbering about knocking Washington all the way to the Seattle Bowl. When will these kids from Pullman ever learn?"

Dale Grummert, Lewsiton Tribune: "It's only one loss. The Cougars are still 9-2 and bowl-bound. At 6-2 in Pac-10 play, they can still get a share of the conference championship if Oregon State upsets Oregon on Dec. 1. But the Fiesta Bowl is out, the Holiday Bowl is out, state bragging rights are kaput. It would be hard to imagine a more deflating loss, at least in this program."

John Blanchette, Spokesman-Review: "Let's see. First, Wazzu managed to rile up the sleeping Dawgs with some rather injudicious pregame posturing. Then the Cougars committed just about every self-destructive gaffe known to football-playing man. And then McElrath revealed a rather pronounced crack in the all-for-one concrete afterward, a distinctly sour postscript to a remarkable season."

Bud Withers, Seattle Times: "The reclamation of Washington's confidence began early in the week, when the Huskies came to realize every good program occasionally takes its lumps, as it had against Oregon State. It continued through the week. Thursday, offensive coordinator Keith Gilbertson provided the historical perspective, underscoring what the Apple Cup has meant to legions of players in the past. The clincher was Curtis Williams, the paralyzed safety, on the phone to the Huskies after their final practice."

John McGrath, News Tribune: "Thinking, as it turned out, was not a Cougars strength Saturday. Mike Price's decision to roll the dice in the first quarter and go for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal was not without wisdom, but the subsequent no-frills dive play call didn't exactly find the Huskies flummoxed. ‘You watch enough film, you see tendencies,' (Husky LB Ben) Mahdavi said. ‘You play off those tendencies. You're able to recognize what's happening.' At least the unimaginative handoff to Minnich gave the Cougars a 50-50 shot at a touchdown. More confounding was a third-quarter option-pass play designed for Minnich, at the UW 8, that was intercepted by Huskies cornerback Roc Alexander."

Craig Smith, Seattle Times: "It didn't take a football scientist to see the most obvious reason Washington State's dream of beating Washington vaporized yesterday. Three times they were on or inside the 6-yard line in the first three quarters. Three times they came away with zero points and twice they gave up the football. It was a trifecta of missed opportunities that put the cork in the Cougars' dreams of celebrating where they like to celebrate most Husky Stadium."

Carter Strickland, Spokesman-Review: "The Cougars did go to McElrath late in the Apple Cup. He caught four balls in the fourth quarter, five in the game, and was able to tie offensive coordinator/wide-receivers coach Mike Levenseller for the most receptions (67) in school history. Whether he will get a chance to pass Levenseller in a bowl game is another matter. ‘He may not catch another ball,' Price said half-kidding and half-serious. ‘If I'd of known that he was bad-mouthing me like that then we would not have thrown him the ball'…'He's not calling plays,' the coach said. ‘He just needs to do his job and keep his lid closed.'

Dave Minnich rushes the ball during the Apple Cup. (Otto Greule/ALLSPORT)

Jim Meehan, Spokesman-Review: "First down. Perhaps 4,000 Cougars fans roaring from their seats nearby in the end zone section. A chance to regain momentum and whittle UW's 19-7 lead to five points. Quarterback Jason Gesser goes to hand the ball off to Dave Minnich, but Minnich slips in the backfield. Gesser improvises and rolls left, but a Husky seals off the perimeter. Just as Gesser tries to cut upfield, safety Greg Carothers latches onto Gesser's arm and rips the football free. Linebacker Ben Mahdavi recovers at the UW 21."

Craig Smith and Danny O'Neil, Seattle Times: "How special is the Apple Cup? ‘It's not like any other football game,' said WSU sophomore tackle Billy Knotts, who played in his second game against Washington yesterday. ‘It's 100 percent intense. It's very personal. You remember every snap.' Knotts said yesterday's outcome was no mystery, considering Cougars mistakes and inability to score three times from inside the 6-yard-line."

Bob Condotta, News Tribune: "'They were saying, 'It's the Cougars' house, it's the Cougars' house,'" UW cornerback Omare Lowe said. ‘They probably do wish it was their house. It's a beautiful stadium. What they play in, I don't know if that's exactly a stadium. They thought it was their house and we showed them it wasn't. It was fun to show them it wasn't their house.'''

Ken Goe, The Oregonian: "WSU fumbled its shot literally by losing three fumbles and blowing three scoring chances inside the UW 10. But the Cougars' biggest mistake might have come at the stadium Friday night. A local television crew caught them staging an impromptu celebration. UW quarterback Cody Pickett saw it on the late news. ‘It's hard to go to sleep when you see those guys out there jumping on our field, 'Pickett said. "They were saying, 'This is our house.' That's all right if you can back it up. Take nothing away from them. They have a good football team. But that is for after the game.'"

John Sleeper, Everett Herald: "It wasn't that the Huskies didn't give the Cougars opportunities. WSU special teamers either blocked or deflected three Derek McLaughlin punts and the defense intercepted Pickett once. But off those chances, the Cougars could muster just seven points."

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