Husky Head Coach Rick Neuheisel

Washington Head Coach Rick Neuheisel was ecstatic after his Huskies had defeated WSU by a 26-14 margin. He ran toward the tunnel, led cheers, and danced while the Husky band played Santana's "Everybody's Everything." It was a good day for the coach. Here were is comments on today's action.

General Comments:

We are thrilled with the Apple Cup victory. (The trophy) looks wonderful right here. It's nice to know we get to hang onto it at least for another year. It was a great week of football for us because we had to become introspective given the defeat in Corvallis a week ago. We had to have a gut check of sorts, from top to bottom, coaches all the way through players. We had to rise up and give a good accounting of ourselves today. And I thought that every guy and every person associated with our program did that. They gave their best effort today and it resulted in a great win for our program, given all that was riding on the contest and all the success our opponent had this year. I am excited as I can be about it, but we don't get to revel in it very long because we have another big game against Miami.

The bottom line is we are elated with the victory and are looking forward to next week's game and hopefully getting a great postseason bid as a reward for what I think has been a really great effort by our players. They haven't made a lot of excuses in terms of who is hurt and who is not because that really doesn't make any difference, you have to go out and play anyway. Knowing what I know, it was a gut-check by our entire organization and I am thrilled to be a part of it.

On the Huskies' goal-line stand: The goal-line stand was huge. Just as WSU's goal-line stand early in the game was huge. Maybe theirs wasn't on the one-yard line, but they kept us from scoring any points. Both defenses stiffened when they had to.

On Reggie Williams: He is a very, very good player. When you are going to try and cover guys like him by themselves, one on one without any help, you have to try to expose that if at all possible. I think their cover guys are very good, but they were on an island. So we tried to get Reggie matched up and see if we could make some plays.

On the play of the defense: Yes, they were aggressive. A week ago, we got out of our aggressive nature because we got beat with a couple of back routes out of the backfield that we didn't cover. Today, they were obviously much more assignment-conscious and were able to make plays on those types of plays. Simonton up the middle and Simonton out on the swing route were touchdowns against us a week ago. This week, we were able to corral that and were able to stay aggressive. I thought the whole defensive plan was great as far as applying pressure. I thought our cover guys, for the most part, did a great job. This was an offense that was averaging about 450 yards per game. It wasn't like the weather stopped them. The weather was perfect.

On the fumble right before half-time: Well, anytime you get a turnover, it should have an impact on momentum. We were fortunate that there was still a second left on the clock to allow us to kick that second field goal at the end of the first half. And obviously the fumble that resulted in a one-yard touchdown run, that was a huge play for us. Although there were a lot of fumbles that we didn't get. I'm not quite ready to say we were lucky, there were some balls on the ground that easily could have gone our way also. I think that was great tackling, a great intensity by our defense by stripping the ball.

On delay penalty to begin the game: We took too long introducing our players. Honest to goodness, the official came over and said, ‘You've got to stop.' And I had six seniors left. I said, ‘You've got to be kidding me.' Guys who have given blood, sweat and tears for four and five years, and I am going to stop introducing them? The official said it was our responsibility as a university to know how long it was going to take. I told the official that if you have to do it (penalize us), then do it, because I was not stopping. So we introduced the rest of our guys, including our captains.

On Pickett's rebound performance: I think it is fair to allow a guy who is playing in his first year as quarterback to have an off day. I don't know that we need to make any more of it than that. Certainly, his shoulder has not been 100%. It will be exciting to see when it is healthy and what he is capable of. There were some plays he made today that were great. There were some plays he made today that I know he wishes he had back. Ultimately, we are very pleased with his progress, disappointed about last week, but that is behind us and we are moving on.

On stopping WSU's running game: It was huge. You have to try to limit offenses to one dimension. And if you can do that, then hopefully you can try to suffocate the one dimension you have given them. Stopping them from running the ball was a huge deal for us. The other thing that was big was we were much better on third down. They were six of 13 on third-down conversions, which is still pretty good, but a week ago, OSU was 10 of 13. That is something we still have to get better at, we need to get better at getting people off of the field on third down.

On rebounding from OSU loss: I mentioned it last evening that to be a competitor, you have to be able to get off of the mat when you are knocked down. I reminded our team that we had done that every time since I have been here. There is a tremendous amount of character in this program and I expected nothing less. I was hopeful that guys would take advantage of their opportunity to participate in this kind of game by playing with everything they had.

On facing Miami next week: There has been a lot of talk about when it is better to play them. Obviously we have matured since early in the season, but we are also banged up. I don't know which is better because obviously Miami is on all cylinders. But, we are the University of Washington. We are going to go in there and play. It is a national stage, they are the number one team in the country. If you come to Washington, those are the kinds of stages you like to be on. You didn't come here because you want to hide out and play in those warm-up games. Top Stories