Nov. 19, 2006
WSU HEAD COACH Bill Doba
"I'm proud of our kids. They battled. We gave up some big plays and you just can't do that in that game. We gave up a kickoff return right when we had them, when we scored on an interception. Some of the guys on the interception were gassed and we put their backups in. We learned a lesson there, I guess. The kid makes a great catch. The ball is behind, hits his foot, pops it up, he catches it and he goes 60, 70 yards. And then the run in the third quarter. They made the big run on his. I thought 32 points would surely be enough. The kickoff return, the pass play and the run, those three big plays is what killed us more than anything else. We drop one in the endzone too.
My hats off to them. They came to play and they played a hell of a game. They have been through a lot of adversity. I said before it is kind of like last year. We were on a seven game skid and managed to beat them. They came out and did the same thing to us. That is why it is a great rivalry and that is why it is the Apple Cup.
(Big play capabilities) No. I knew the kid was quick, I knew they were fast and the kick returner was fast. It was kind of a lucky thing in a way because it was behind him and hit his foot, bounced up and a corner tried to go for the interception. Bingo, off it went. The run was an awesome run. We bit inside, he hit it and bounced it outside. He found the crease and outran our secondary.
(Special Teams play) It killed us. The blocked punt, there's another one I didn't mention. And then the kickoff return. Those two things hurt. We started squibbing it instead of kicking it deep. (if even in special teams would you have had a chance to win) If they don't block a punt obviously, We have a shot at it. But of course there's no guarantee they wouldn't take it down and score anyway.
(which big play killed you) All of them, all of them hurt. I think probably the kickoff return as much as anything because we had momentum. We just intercepted one for a touchdown and boom, that put them down on the seven yard line or whatever it was, 12 yard line. A they punched it in again and tied it up. And then we are battling back again and they blocked a punt to go up 10 I think it was at that time. That put us in a hole. It changes your whole game plan and you have to start throwing the thing.
(Did you see WSU losing three like this) Yah, I did. I said that a long time ago that we could win the rest or lose the rest. I didn't think we would lose these last three, I thought we were going to get this one, obviously.
I really feel bad for our seniors. They battled and we really wanted to get that seventh win so that we could insure a bowl game. Now that doesn't look too good.
(does team deserve to go to a bowl game) Yes, as I look around at different games and different teams, yah, I think we are good enough to go to a bowl game. The way they played tonight, yes. They played their fannies off and just made a couple of errors.
(any common thread over last three games) Defensively, I think we struggled defensively. We got a couple of guys back this week but... I think they played well enough except the big plays. The long run and the long pass, at times we just stoned them and then we would have either an assignment error or a kid would jump inside and not hold leverage and bingo, they made plays.
I thought their defensive front did a nice job. I thought so going into the game. It was hard to run against them. Their kid did a nice job of beating our kid off the outside edge.
(did you ever have a comfort zone between blitzing and not) I know on one blitz that is where they got the long touchdown pass. We came after them and there was no help behind. We thought there personnel was going to be an empty set and number 9 was a back. We made a mistake and he was in the backfield and that gave them protection, time to throw it. We just didn't think we could put our corners, our DBs out there one on one.
WSU DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR Robb Akey:
(Did you feel like their offense out-played your guys today?) "I think it was the big plays. When a big play hits you, obviously you take a look at how that happened and is it fixable or a weakness? At halftime we felt like we really could take control of this thing. There were two scores against us but we really felt like we could handle things and then they'd get a cross or out-run us at the beginning at the second half. We ended up with a couple of our own with interceptions and (thought) maybe we can get that "mo" swinging our way but we weren't able to. They obviously they won the game and they did a great job and you cannot take that away from them. I'm not saying that. I think our kids left it out there. I think our kids went out there and played hard. I just feel sick for our seniors that we just couldn't get the job done for them."
WSU TE Cody Boyd
(on Special teams) "Whenever I'd look up right when we'd come off the field for a punt or after we scored on a kickoff it seemed like they always got those extra yards that really helped them out in the long run."
(on remembering last year having less time to score the winning touchdown) "We tried everything that we could. We were confident and then they got a good rush on the last couple snaps and it turned out for the worse for us this game."
WSU RB Dwight Tardy
"The first thing the goes through my mind is you've got to step up. Some guys get down, some guys step up. We need the whole team to step up to make the big play and we just didn't have it today.
It was just big play after big play and you kind of have to get yourself motivated to make a big play for our team. It's frustrating after they keep making the big plays. You kind of ask yourself can I really do this, it's hard for all of us because some guys lose their poise, a lot of guys telling other guys to get up, we're arguing and we are frustrated with ourselves, it's kind of like a mess. Everyone is in a big scramble and we couldn't find a way to get it done."
WASHINGTON HEAD COACH TYRONE WILLINGHAM
"There's really not a lot for me to say. Our kids, our young men just did a heck of a job. A week before we were written for dead and our young men just continued to battle, continued to fight. And even when it got tight they never lost their confidence, never lost their will and just kept battling and battling and were fortunate enough to come out with the win."
"This is a huge win. You always want to finish the year with success. It carries over into the winter and, for our seniors leaving the program, they can feel like they did something. They started something and this year was a much improvement over the last couple of years, so it's a step in the right direction."
On Cody Ellis' touchdown: "Cody Ellis made a spectacular catch. The ball was thrown behind him and he still found a way to catch it and once he catches it he can run pretty well. We just saw it thrown slightly behind; their guy tried to make a play on it; Cody was able to get something on it; the ball kind of rebounds just a little bit; he makes the catch and then it's off to the races. The thing about Cody is that Cody just has a knack. You just get the ball around him and he seems to make plays. If you're looking at the number of passes thrown to him and the number of catches, it's probably pretty high."
On the biggest play of the night: "I would probably say the punt block was as big as any because we had given them the interception and now all of a sudden you're able to turn the tables a little bit and get a punt block for a touchdown and that's a huge play."
On Marlon Woods' kickoff return: "Marlon has been playing at a very high level over the last four to five weeks. He has been unbelievably aggressive and so much so that sometimes I want to close my eyes and don't want to watch it. But that was a huge play. It was just one of those nights where we had a lot of big plays and that was one of them."
On quarterback Carl Bonnell: "He's still hurting. He's had a concussion over the last couple of weeks, a shoulder over the last few weeks, probably a hip in there someplace that he's probably not said anything to anyone about. He's been a warrior. I have praised our quarterbacks all year because they have displayed a lot of courage in their play all year, and it's not easy. So he's been a real tough warrior for our football team."
On the direction of the program: "I don't think anyone gave us a lot of credit this year to start with and yet we played some of the better football teams in this country toe-to-toe. That's something that you can say is a positive sign. We didn't get what we wanted, we didn't win, but I think there's still some positive signs. I've said all along I'm not into moral victories but still I think you have to acknowledge some of the things this team has done."
On the victory tonight: "A win makes everything a lot better. It helps, but we've got a lot of work to do and a lot of growth that still has to take place with our football team. But this gives you a little more pep in your step and tonight when we board the plane it'll be a quicker flight home."
SENIOR OUTSIDE LINEBACKER SCOTT WHITE
On recovering from last week's loss against Stanford: "The magnitude of this game just got everybody's mind off Stanford and on Washington State. Coming in here we knew were going to have to play four quarters of football because that's what always happens in this game. It always comes down to the last couple of minutes and, again, it came down to the last drive and this time fortunately we stopped them."
On the program as a whole: "We're making improvements. We had two wins last year, we had five this year. We're on the brink. We really are. We had a ton of overtime losses this year. We're playing everybody tough with the exception of a couple games, but I think definitely the best days are ahead."
On Cody Ellis' touchdown: "It just seemed like every time they started to get momentum, somebody on the offensive side just decided to step up and make a big play. From Marcel's [Reece] big play, Cody Ellis' big play, then Louis Rankin put us ahead for good. Just every time they started to get something going it seemed like we were right there to counter them."
JUNIOR WIDE RECEIVER CODY ELLIS
On his one-handed touchdown reception: "It got knocked up. I grabbed it with one hand, I turned around, and all I saw was green and I just took off. I'd never made a catch like that in a game before. I think it kind of sparked everything. We got pumped up and were like 'Hey we can do this.' We just all started believing."
"I was telling everybody on the sidelines that the ball was coming in behind me at regular speed and then, when I kind of got my two hands on it and it kind of flipped up in the air, I said it just completely slowed down. I saw it and I put my one hand out there, my left hand, and grabbed it. And then as soon as I turned around, bam. We got back to normal speed and I just took off and I saw all green. I saw all of our fans down there in the end zone and I just wanted to get down there and celebrate with them."
On how the Cougars are feeling: "I don't know if we shocked them, but I definitely don't think they thought we were a good team. They were probably like 'They're the Huskies. They just lost six in a row and just lost to Stanford.' They probably thought they had it easy. Cake. Just walk right into a bowl game. They've got to be a little bit shocked.
SOPHOMORE OUTSIDE LINEBACKER CHRIS STEVENS
On blocking the punt: "It was great to contribute like that. Special teams is just something we've been focusing on and it's great to show that the work we've put into it paid off. We block punts in practice all the time. It finally just showed up in the game. It was great to see everything just mesh together like it was supposed to."
"I just remember going through the guy and then the next thing I see is the punter right next to me. I stick my hand out to feel that block and I'm scrambling around to look for that ball and I just go and pick it up."
REDSHIRT JUNIOR QUARTERBACK CARL BONNELL
On what the win means to him personally: "Personally it's pretty important. I came here so there were a lot of people focusing on me in this game. But for the most part, it's this team. We've struggled the last month and a half and it seemed like there was really nothing to play for, but this week the team found a lot of pride and competed. We competed all week and had a lot of fun and that's why you play football. To experience times like this."
On tonight's big plays: "When they come, you can't do anything about it. We had a couple short passes that broke for 70-plus yards, a run play that broke down the sideline at a critical time. So when they're coming, we'll take them. Our defense got a couple of balls and the punt block team got one in the end zone. We just played all around, made some big plays and came out with the victory."
On the fans: "After the game when our fans got on the field there were a lot of positive things [being said]. One of the fans kept yelling '11 and 44' and I had no clue what it meant. He did it for four quarters and pregame. It was worse a couple years ago. Their fans were pretty classy today and made a lot of noise."
WSU SAFETY Eric Frampton
(on UW's big plays) "They made big plays. I mean anytime an offense can make big plays like that and make them fast, as fast as they did, that is a heck of a blow. Even our defense, we are resilient most of the time but it takes a blow and takes something out of the team."
(on expecting UW's capability) "You know we didn't expect it. We have been game planning all week we knew what we were going to expect. In the game of football you never fully know what to expect from the other team and they just made some big plays."
"You can blame it on a number of things. You can blame it on injuries, you can blame it on whatever you want to blame it on but without things falling the way they did we are not here today. We are not six and six. It's football, the nature of the beast. It's a group of guys that come together and everybody is not always going to want to do the same thing as a team."
(On how tough the loss was) "It is tough, but considering the fact that guys were injured. We played hard but a lot of guys kind of figured it was a gimmie. We talked about it and we turned it around, but too little, too late."
WSU WR Brandon Gibson
(On Two-Point Conversion) I was supposed to let the backer go by and Al (Alex Brink) saw me a little late but he still threw it. I caught it the first time and he got it in the air and tried to get it. Somehow I muscled it away from him.
(On UW's big-play ability) Their offense played really well today. I think we have one of the best D's around and we can play with anybody. They really made a lot of big plays and they really hurt us today...that's what's football is about you make plays and things happen.
(On effect big plays had on WSU offense) It didn't affect us at all. We knew the game would come down to us. At the end we had a tough time trying to get it into the zone. We played with confidence all year and we believe we're tough to stop. Things happen and it didn't turn out our way.
WSU DE Mkristo Bruce
(On game) It was a crazy ballgame but you want those rivalry games to be close, be interesting. It was probably one of the most fun games I've ever played in.
(On bowl possibility) That would be a blessing. I would really love another game, we'll see what happens.
(On seeing this coming) I didn't see this coming at all. A lot of us were surprised. We feel like the only team that could be the Cougars is the Cougars. There were a lot of little mental mistakes, just one person where they are not supposed to be and it's a 70-yard run. We just didn't come together on a few plays. The whole game we battled and we fought and I was proud of everybody.
WSU QB Alex Brink
(On big plays) I don't know how much it changed what we were doing. We were still moving the ball up and down the field. We couldn't run it as much as we like, we were running it pretty well in the third and fourth quarter. When you get down by a couple possessions you have to start throwing the ball. You could see they were getting a lot of pressure with three or four guys because they knew we were throwing the ball.
(Feel like starting to press down the stretch) With the shortened game and what not you are going to lose some possessions but I thought we handled it really well. We scored two late touchdowns when they knew we were throwing the ball.
(On bowl possibilities) I have no idea that's for somebody else to decide which is unfortunate because we could have controlled that. At the same time we put on some good shows and played well...I don't know. I hope somebody gives us a shot but that is not up to me.