Notes from the Press Box

It was an amazing and somewhat improbable win by the Washington Huskies this evening. WSU's Mike Price was miffed at how the game ended, the officials ruling Kegel's final pass as a fumble, but that was nothing compared to the melee that ensued following the 29-26 Husky win that came in three overtimes.

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  • THE GOOD:

    Hey diddle Biddle - On WSU's first play from scrimmage, starting free safety Owen Biddle made the interception of Gesser's errant throw. Washington used the turnover to score the first touchdown of the game. Biddle was in proper zone drop and made a nice break on a poorly thrown ball by Gesser.

    Your time will come - John Anderson's first four field goal attempts were wide left from 50, wide right from 52, bounced off the right upright from 39, and wide right from 39. Anderson was roughed on his fourth attempt so he got another shot from 35 on that same drive and made it. Coach Neuheisel told Anderson that he would still be needed and needed he was. Anderson was money when the game was on the line in each of the three overtimes, as he nailed FGs from 34, 46, and 49. After the game, his mom would have jumped for joy but she was nursing an injury to her toe, which had been pelted by a bottle thrown by an angry Wazzu fan.

    Trench Dawgs - The offensive line once again opened holes for Rich Alexis. They struggled a bit on short yardage, but they did look much more aggressive on run blocking than earlier in the season. Alexis ran hard for 72 yards and Cleman had some key yards in the first overtime. Sack yardage, however, negated most of the positive yards.

    Pickett on the money - Cody Pickett also had a lot of time to throw in the first half. As a result, Pickett was seven of seven in the first quarter for 74 yards. Unfortunately for Washington, Marcus Trufant and company did a nice job of bracketing Reggie Williams to prevent him from making the big play. He would get even in the second half, however, as he would haul down a 48-yarder over Trufant's guard.

    Hold that line - Washington kept themselves in the game with a tough goal line defense as the first half wound down. Despite personal foul and pass interference penalties, the Huskies were able to keep the Cougars out of the end zone on some tough tackling by Marquis Cooper. The half ended when holder Colin Henderson was called for grounding while attempting a fake field goal pass with Huskies all over him.

    Hold that line – part two: After Derek McLaughlin's Pele impersonation gave the Cougars the ball at the Husky two, the defense absolutely stonewalled the Cougars. Three plays netted minus four yards and they had to settle for a Drew Dunning field goal with just under five minutes remaining, keeping it a 10-point game.

    2nd half defense tough again - The Husky defense was outstanding in the second half this afternoon. They created two turnovers and caused two other fumbles that were recovered by Cougars. They held Mike Bush to two catches and Devard Darling to ZERO grabs. They kept the Cougars to just three points. That scoring drive went MINUS four yards and took four plays to accomplish. More importantly, it kept it a 10-point game.

    THE BAD:

    Short yardage woes - Washington looked like they had things rolling early in Martin Stadium, but on third and fourth down, only needing to pick up one yard, they were denied. The middle of the Husky line was unable to block neither Mulawi Davis nor Rien Long. On their third drive, on third and one, Alexis was slammed for no gain. The fourth down fake punt that followed also failed.

    First half short field - The Huskies gave the Cougars great field position. After their failed fourth-down attempt, the Cougars got the ball on their 38. After McLaughlin's pass to Hooks on the fake punt attempt went a little wide and Hooks dropped it as he hit the ground, the Cougars were given a short field again as they only had to drive 57 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. When Anderson missed a 49-yard FG attempt, the Cougars took the ball over at their 32. After another Anderson miss, the Cougars were in business at their 34-yard line.

    Nearly killed by the big play again - On the Cougars first scoring drive, the Huskies gave up 19 yards on a reverse to Jerome Riley and 23 yards on a screen. Second touchdown was a 67 yarder to Sammy Moore, which was the longest TD reception of the season for the Cougars. They ran another reverse to Riley for 35 yards in the 2nd quarter. Riley caught another 25-yard bullet just before the half. The Huskies were lucky to be down only 10 points at the half. After the Huskies skimmed the lead to seven in the third quarter, the next play for the Cougars was a 36-yard run for John Tippins. They were able to weather the storm and keep WSU from racking up the big points.

    Bad Dawg - Washington drew three personal foul penalties in the first half and finished the game with a total of 12 penalties for 88 yards. They nearly had a penalty on the defense for having 18-men on the field. What would the referee call that? With less than a minute left in the half, Washington attempted to substitute a goal line defense and wasn't able to figure out who was supposed to leave the field. They were able to call time out to avoid the flag. It was the third time the Huskies had trouble with a defensive substitution and all three cost them time outs. What were they working on in practice with no media present??? Washington loves to use situational substitution groups, but they need to get them onto the field faster.

    Somebody call AAA: The Husky offense moved the ball great until they neared the "crimson zone," then the stall was inevitable. Actually, they were having trouble even crossing the 30-yard line. In the first half, drives stalled at the 38, 43, 32, 34. In the second half, after Reggie Williams caught a 37-yard bomb down to the 29-yard line, the Dawgs were flagged for holding. They were bailed out by a roughing the kicker penalty on Anderson's 39-yard attempt. But not for long, the Huskies only went backwards on their new set of downs, but Anderson was finally good after missing three. After Mike Bush's fumble, the Husky machine stalled once again on the Cougar 39-yard line.

    THE EXTRA-CURRICULAR

    High Voltage - Before the game, Martin Stadium was rocking out to the live version of AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long," much to the pleasure of Dawgman. They followed that one with "Thunder," the number that the band from down under usually opens their shows with. When the Huskies entered the stadium, Guns N Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle" was blaring. Very cool pregame.

    The welcoming committee: When we landed in Pullman and headed through the doors at the airport, it was a sea of crimson. WSU Head Coach Mike Price and all of his assistant coaches were eagerly awaiting somebody to get off of our flight. We were arrogant enough to think it was our greeting party, until they walked right by us to embrace Mark Bradford, the stud wide receiver from Fremont High School in California, who was arriving for his recruiting visit.

    Post-Game Mayhem: After the referees huddled their final time and decided that Kegel's pass was a backwards pass, all hell broke loose. Husky fans, understandably, rushed the field to celebrate with their team. After several minutes, we looked up in the stands and the Cougar faithful had not left. They sat there shell-shocked over the events and watched the purple and gold celebration. It didn't take long for the WSU students to make life miserable for everybody, as they started hurling bottles towards the field. First, it seemed to be only water bottles, but then glass beer and liquor bottles followed. Tacoma News Tribune reporter Craig Hill, a WSU grad, was hit in the head and sustained a concussion. Another reporter from Q-13 Fox sustained a concussion as well. Reggie Williams was hit with a plastic water bottle but wasn't hurt. It was like Beirut out there. Not a good scene. Dawgman was pelted with an empty bottle of Myers Rum and has an egg-shaped knot on his shin to show for it. This place is a zoo, and was the worst display of sportsmanship we've ever witnessed. After this incident, combined with the booing of the injury to Onterrio Smith, WSU's fans are in rare company in terms of disrespectful behavior. It was a far cry from the 1996 Apple Cup when WSU celebrated their pending Rose Bowl date after beating the Huskies in Seattle. Amidst a "congratulations Cougars" by Husky Stadium announcer Lou Gellerman, the WSU faithful and their team were allowed to celebrate on the turf and were cheered. Tonight, Husky fans and their team were treated to a shelling of bottles and obscenities. To sum it up in two words, it was utter bullshit. WSU, grow up.

    No cheering in the press box please: Well, the press box here at Martin Stadium was quite an experience. There is supposed to be no cheering in the press box, but … well, that is not the case in the Palouse. As a matter of fact, it is downright a circus in here. It is loud. There are reporters screaming stats back and forth. If you need to know who made the play, all you have to do is ask, and ask loudly – somebody will be sure to yell the answer back. After McLaughlin's dropped punt and illegal kick, somebody yelled out, "soccer anyone?" On top of that, there are only four bathrooms for the entire press box. One high note was that we were delivered warm, moist chocolate chip cookies after the third quarter.

    Tight wad hill: Apparently, if you line stadium drive just behind the porta potties, you can view quite a game. And that is exactly what some die-hard fans did. The only problem was the portas were located inside the gates.

    A picture tells a thousand words: We've all seen the picture of Braxton Cleman and his infamous northwest rivalry T-shirt. Well, so had the Cougars. They had a picture of Cleman sporting his check-mark T-shirt plastered all over campus. This picture was in every sports information office, it was in every coach's office and meeting room. It will be interesting to see if they replace it with a new picture of Braxton's shirt, one with WSU checked off as well.

    We'll gladly send ‘em a copy.

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