Nov. 17, 2006
Editor's Note: This is the final installment of a six-part series featuring the most memorable games of the Washington State-Washington football rivalry, universally known as the Apple Cup.
The 99th meeting in the series, which dates back to 1900, will kickoff at 3:45 p.m., Saturday, November 18, at Martin Stadium.
Today's Feature: For Cougar fans, the 1982 Apple Cup is the landmark game in the history of the series. In the first Apple Cup to be played at Pullman in 28 years, the Cougars, who were 2-7-1 entering the game, extracted a measure of revenge over their in-state rival by shocking the fifth-ranked Huskies and thereby preventing UW a trip to the Rose Bowl. A year earlier, UW thwarted WSU's drive to Pasadena with a 23-10 victory at Seattle. The win was the first for WSU over UW in nine years, and it was the highest ranked team WSU had ever beaten up to that point.
By Ashley Walker
WSU Sports Information
A day full of ironies and heart proved to be the key to Washington State's shocking 24-20 victory over the fifth-ranked Washington Huskies in the 1982 Apple Cup.
A field goal kick that sailed wide and an all out effort by the Cougs provided the payback needed.
The 1982 Apple Cup wrote the book on how to bring back the fierce competition once supplied by the Apple Cup before Husky domination swept the better half of the decade prior to the game. The Cougars' game plan was not a planned attack as the day was full of surprises. The Cougars played all the cards they could find from inconveniencing their opponent to the date of the game and wearing all crimson for the first time since the 1931 Rose Bowl.
Even before the game, the team from the Palouse put the Huskies in a position they weren't familiar with. The Cougars took inconveniencing to a whole new level during this match-up, moving the annual meeting back to Pullman after 28 years of competing in Spokane.
Husky coach Don James had never played in Pullman, and the UW team had no idea of where they would even stay upon arriving in the Palouse. But the decision of moving the game back seemed to be successful as the crowd and stadium turned out to be the 12th man.
The date was also chosen wisely as the last time the two enemies had met in Pullman was also on Nov. 20, 1954. That meeting resulted in a 26-7 victory over the Huskies. The date seemed magical to Cougs as they played with the same intensity as they did almost three decades earlier.
Head Coach Jim Walden then took it another step as he took all of his basic instincts and threw them out the window. Walden had been operating the whole season with a two-quarterback offense. Clete Casper and Ricky Turner had been rotating nearly every few possessions throughout the whole season, but when the band started playing and the Cougars took the field, Walden decided to go a different route.
Walden said, "Something emotionally told me that I was going to win with Clete Casper or I was going to lose with Clete."
One of the most important keys in the victory over the Huskies was the revenge factor. The 1981 season was one of great success for the Cougars leading up to the annual Apple Cup meeting, which would be in Seattle. A win for the Cougars would have provided Washington State with their first Rose Bowl bid since 1931 while the Huskies were looking to make their second Rose Bowl appearance.
The Cougars' hope was shortly destroyed as the Huskies defeated the Cougs 23-10. When the 1982 match-up came around, a third Rose Bowl was still in the cards for the Huskies while the Cougars disappointing 2-7-1 record wasn't providing much hope in Pullman.
Even head coach Jim Walden didn't expect much when he stated that the Huskies shouldn't be favored to win by 18 points; they should be at least a 28-point pick.
When that first whistle blew, the Cougars did not care what anyone was saying or what the spread was. They had one thing in their mind, and that was revenge. Payback from the 1981 season was the goal, and payback they achieved.
Martin Stadium was clad in crimson that day from the shirts in the crowds to the Cougars jerseys, and, in the end, the color of the Huskies faces. When the clock finally hit 0:00, a sea of Crimson was unleashed. The crowd went wild and rushed the field with the taste of sweet revenge in their mouth.
They all seemed to be on the same page, as within minutes of the horn, the steel goal posts that were crucial in deciding the game, were down on the field. The very goal posts that seemed to be just a little off for Husky kicker Chuck Nelson; the very goal posts that John Traut's 37-yard field goal sailed through with just 59 seconds remaining to ice the victory for the Cougs. The crazed fans took the goal posts out of the stadium and down the streets of Pullman celebrating their victory. Soon enough they were stopped, and the goal posts were put in the river, but the dream and passion that was the 1982 Apple Cup lived on.
To this day, the 1982 Apple Cup remains as one of the greatest games played between the in-state rivals. The fire and passion were reignited and hope for the Cougars was brought back. Now nothing seemed impossible or out of reach.