Notes from the Husky Stadium press box

It was an Apple Cup, which means emotions were running high. When two teams get after it with the kind of competitive drive that is fueled by the UW vs. WSU rivalry, it produces some great moments and some difficult ones. Here are some things I liked and some that I didn't from my view in the press box and on the field.

THE GOOD:

Reg-gie, Reg-gie: What else can you say about the 6-4 freshman wide receiver? In the first half he torched one of the best secondaries in college football for nearly 200 yards on fades, slants, and out routes. Facing three of the best Pac-10 defenders in cornerback Marcus Trufant, safeties Billy Newman and Lamont Thompson, Williams toasted them like a bagel left in the oven with the broiler on high.

Woah Nelly! - It's difficult to comprehend when you meet a true legend, and we met one today in the press box. Keith Jackson was about 30 feet to our right during the game. The goose bumps were running high in the Dawgman suite, and running into Mr. Jackson in the cat walk was a thrill of a lifetime.

Benn There, done that: When the seniors were announced as they ran through the tunnel for their last home game, the loudest cheers came for the popular tailback Willie Hurst and the affable defensive lineman Larry Tripplett. However, when senior center Kyle Benn, a three year starter on the Husky line was announced, a huge roar went up from the Husky Stadium fans. They were appreciative of the guy that has spent his career out of the limelight and in the dirty trenches. Hats off to the fans for recognizing Kyle.

Dancin' Machine: When Willie Hurst was announced to the crowd, he came through the tunnel and did his best Compton two-step, dancing between his teammates and having fun. The senior tailback is one of the most popular players on the team and it was great to see him have such fun at his last house party.

Goal line stand: When WSU had it first and goal on the Husky five in the first quarter with a chance to jump on Washington early. The defense stood tall and Ben Mahdavi's leap and collision with David Minnich and stopped him short of the goal line on fourth down. The Huskies would drive 99 yards to take the lead instead.

Kudos to Tim: Tim Hundley, defensive coordinator for the Huskies, took a lot of abuse and had a lot of nasty things written about him on internet message boards and letters this week because of the troubles his defense has had. Today Hundley's schemes confused Gesser, stopped Minnich, forced three turnovers, and held a team that had been averaging around 450 yards per contest to just 322. Gesser was 22 of 34 for 227 yards and Minnich was held to just 32 yards on 15 carries. The Husky defensive pressure was everywhere and WSU never figured it out.

THE BAD:

Way too personal: Once again Washington committed too many personal fouls but this time they took the cake. After the coin toss the Huskies were flagged for a personal foul before the two teams even took the field to begin battle. Of course it was no fault of the team but it was an ominous beginning. A Terry Johnson facemask of Jason Gesser cost the Huskies almost 40 yards in field position when he sacked him but made the tackle by grabbing the head gear. Rod Green delivered a helmet to helmet blow to Gesser very late to earn another flag, moving the ball deep into Husky territory.

Give ‘em the boot: Washington's punt protection team was a disaster once again. Washington State blocked two in the first half. Including those two feeble efforts, the Huskies have now had six punts blocked on the season, WAY too many. Both blocks today came as a result of poor (or nonexistent) blocking, no fault of the freshman punter McLaughlin.

Defense? Which one? Several times it appeared that Washington was running defenders on and off the field late into the play clock and having difficulty getting them set into position. When the defense is still running onto the field while the quarterback is already in his cadence, it's very difficult for linebacker Jamaun Willis to call the defensive signals.

Butch is dissed: Butch the Cougar, the WSU mascot, had just finished working his tail off cheering the Cougars out in the hostile environs of Husky Stadium. After a tough loss you'd figure that he'd be given some time to relax and put his paws up for a bit. Nope. After the WSU team had gone up the tunnel, Butch was schlepping equipment back up the tunnel and into the Cougar locker room. What kind of respect is that? Show some love for Butch, Cougs!

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