Now that was an Apple Cup to remember

PULLMAN – Washington State, wearing crimson head-to-toe for the first time since the 1931 Rose Bowl, may have had the ghosts of Hein, Edwards and Hollingbery on their side for the final 56 seconds of regulation play in Saturday's nailbiting, double-overtime Apple Cup.

As if channeling the name of another old Cougar -- the ultimate Apple Cup quarterback, Alex Brink – junior Kevin Lopina hit Devan Frischknecht for 9 yards and Brandon Gibson for 5 before freshman Jared Karstetter snuck behind a Husky corner and pulled in a picture-pass for 48 yards to set up Nico Grasu's game-tying field goal as time expired.

Just like that, the so-called Crapple Cup turned into a thriller to remember.

Who cares what the teams' records were coming into this one. The 101st Apple Cup game was a dandy. Two desperate teams fought desperately for a rare win and for statewide bragging rights.

Grasu -- aided by Zach Enyart's perfect snap and Reid Forrest's perfect hold -- converted from 37 yards out to secure Washington State its fourth Apple Cup win in five years in the second OT period.

"We kept fighting to the end," said Cougar head coach Paul Wulff.

"It's the best," he said on the field after the dramatic conclusion. "And the toughest ... We took a big step today as a team."

Like the thousands of crimson faithful who poured onto the field to celebrate, Wulff – whose sideline demeanor typically borders somewhere between stoic and calm – was jumping around like a kid after Grasu's third and final field goal of the day sailed true.

Cougars 16, Huskies 13.

The Huskies, the only winless team in the nation, will be dead last in the Pac-10 and if the lose next week will complete the first 0-12 season in Pac-10 history. The Cougars will have a springboard into the future.

"You can't imagine the feeling here," said WSU alum Richard Howard. "You'd think we just won the national championship. The thirst for a Pac-10 win, the thrill of beating your rival, regardless of their record or yours, in such a stunning way is downright liberating. This is a win which will live on for a long, long time."

Grasu, who had three field goals on the day, was matter-of-fact after the game when asked what was going through his mind while lining up for the game winner: "I just gotta do my job."

Wulff, who won two Apple Cups as a WSU player, clearly came into this one with the heart of a Mississippi gambler. He called, or gave the green light on, a glorious fake punt that Reid Forrest turned into a 28 yard gain. With fourth-and-one in the first overtime, he went for it and made it.

There was nothing to lose, and it turned into something unforgettable.

The phrase "turned the corner" seemed to be on the minds of many observers afterward. FSN's Barry Tompkins used it. Jim Walden used it. Bud Namek used it. Rich Howard used it.

* Cougar starting defensive end Scott Mullenix, a sixth-year senior due to a medical redshirt, now holds a rare place in WSU history. With the win, he becomes the only Cougar player ever to win four Apple Cups in his career.

* The 13 points WSU surrendered marks the defense's best effort this season – by a lot. The previous low they gave up was 28 against UCLA on Oct. 4.

* The Cougars are now 2-10 and will conclude the season next week at Hawaii. The Huskies are 0-11 and will wrap things up in two weeks against Cal.

* Karsetter came into the game with two catches for 21 yards. In surpassed that output in the final 30 seconds of the game, catching the 48 yarder and then a subsequent 7 yarder to set up Grasu's game-tying field goal.

* Logwone Mitz' 57-yard TD run late in the third quarter was made possible by immaculate blocking on the right side of the line and a critical block by fellow running back Marcus Richmond.

* The Cougar offense was well balanced: 167 yards through the air and 171 on the ground.


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