Play word association with any self-respecting Cougar fan and you can bet two words -- Trandon Harvey -- will illicit one response: Apple Cup touchdown.
It's like Butch and Sundance. Burger and fries. Brad and Angelina.
Trandon Harvey and the Apple Cup. The two are inextricably linked.
If true, Harvey said the other day in between preparations for Pro Day workouts in front of NFL scouts Wednesday in Pullman, "I would be honored."
Would be honored?
There is no would be here. Would be implies something that could be possible, something that may or may not happen.
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National City, Calif. (Sweetwater High '01)
Three months after his final act, video links to Harvey's dramatic score still pop up on the CF.C message board. Photos of the triumphal touchdown are on display everyday from posters so moved as to make Harvey their permanent "signature" icon.
Three months after his final act, you still find kids' bulletin boards -– as well as office cubicle partitions -- adorned with sports pages proclaiming the Cougar win and featuring Harvey's photo.
Three months after his final act, Trandon Harvey has seared himself into the collective Cougar conscience.
He is permanent. Like Don Sweet against Stanford in 1971. Tim Stallworth at UCLA in '88. Or Ryan Leaf, Kevin McKenzie and Shawn McWashington at USC in '97.
There are others, to be sure. Many of them – such as Glenn Harper in 1983, Shawn Landrum and Jay Languein in '88 and Drew Bledsoe and Philip Bobo in '92 -- came through in Apple Cups, too. In each of those seasons, the contest came with luster, unlike this one featuring two teams with a combined five wins.
But therein lays the magic of Trandon Harvey and his moment -- indeed, our moment as Cougar partisans.
His catch and run -– in the literal twilight of the game and the season, no less -- were the elixir to a maddening affliction. Seven straight weeks of losses -- most of them coming in heartbreaking, head-scratching fashion, each more mind-numbing than the last.
Harvey hits paydirt
With just 80 ticks left on the clock, the same guy who earlier had fumbled a punt that Washington turned into a momentum changing touchdown, grabbed a pass from Brink ran into immortality. The Huskies were slow to lineup and Greg Prator leveled a key block. Thirty-nine yards later the Cougs were up 26-22 and Harvey, with his lone TD of the season, was destined for every highlight show from Anacortes to Zillah.
This wasn't victory. It was catharsis. It was vindication. It was a reason to cheer.
"All I know is he (Brink) threw the ball and everything just went blank as I was running. I just caught the ball and kept running. The only reason I stopped was because I was about to run into the band," Harvey said at the time.
So how does it feel, three months later, to know people will vividly remember that play 20 years from now?
"If I accomplished something in my career people are talking about five years from now, let alone 20, I would feel honored," he says. "If I'm still acknowledged for that play I know I would feel incredible."
There are a lot of ifs in that comment, Trandon. So let's be perfectly clear: Do you realize you've done something that no Cougar will forget?
"I'm so happy that my last memory of playing for the Cougs is that one," he says. "Hopefully Coug fans remember me for that accomplishment."
There he goes again.
Harvey salutes adoring Cougar sections at Husky Stadium.
HERE'S A VIDEO LINK TO HARVEY'S BIG TD: