Nov. 13, 2006
Editor's Note: This is the second 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: The 1992 Apple Cup may be remembered just as much for the weather it was played in than for the game itself. On that snowy day in November, Martin Stadium turned into a Winter Wonderland for the Cougars while the Huskies found themselves buried under an avalanche of Cougar second half points.
Check back to wsucougars.com Tuesday for part three of the Apple Cup series.
By Cory Rice
WSU Sports Information
In the memorable year of 1992, Bill Clinton was elected president, Ross Perot ran for president, Nirvana and Pearl Jam were leading the Seattle grunge scene, and the Bosnian war was developing into a severe conflict.
For those on the Palouse, November 21 would become a memorable date in this memorable year.
This day marked the renewing of the annual Apple Cup showdown between Washington State and Washington. The game would emerge as yet another unforgettable quarrel between the Cougars and Huskies. Not only will this specific battle be remembered for the level of play, particularly a memorable third quarter scoring outburst by WSU, but also because of the extreme weather conditions.
At snowy Martin Stadium, the Washington State University football team defeated the defending national champion Huskies, 42-23, to give the Cougars their first win since the 1988 Apple Cup, which coincidentally was also played in the snow. In addition, the victory over No. 5 Washington marked the Cougars' first win over a top-10 team since their win over No. 1 UCLA, also in 1988.
As the 1988 Apple Cup win propelled WSU to an Aloha Bowl win over Houston, the Cougars defeat of the Huskies provided the squad with the opportunity and momentum to claim a 31-28 Copper Bowl victory over Utah the following month.
Snow and southeasterly winds approaching 20 knots set the stage for one of the most fantastic victories in WSU history. The nationally televised game drew a packed house at Martin Stadium, which no doubt felt the effects of a negative 18 degree wind chill.
According to Head Coach Mike Price, this Apple Cup was an all-time classic.
"It was the most fun I've ever had in the snow," Price said.
No player on the field looked more comfortable in the elements than quarterback Drew Bledsoe. Ignoring the fierce winds and icy conditions, Bledsoe threw for 259 yards and led a dominant 29-point third quarter scoring blitz from WSU.
The Cougars were down 7-6 at the half, but quickly took control of the game by scoring touchdowns on four straight possessions in the third quarter.
WSU running back Shaumbe Wright-Fair led the running game by finishing with 194 yards in 22 carries and tallied 3 touchdowns on runs of 3, 51 and 41 yards.
With Bledsoe paired against Husky quarterback Mark Brunell, this particular Apple Cup served as a precursor for showdowns the NFL-bound quarterbacks would have in the future.
"But when it snows and blows as it did Saturday, the difference between what two quarterbacks have on the ball in velocity, touch and rotation, is magnified," Harry Missildine, legendary sports writer of the Inland Northwest, wrote in his post game synopsis.
In the end, Bledsoe emerged as the victor over Brunell's Huskies with the help from his receivers, who were not only better than UW's on snow, but also on paper.
"UW's speedy running back Napoleon Kaufman was neutralized on the ice, Washington receivers looked intimidated amidst the snowflakes and only gritty Husky quarterback Mark Brunell looked up to the challenge," Missildine wrote.
On the receiving end of Bledsoe's wind-stricken passes were the sure handed wide receivers Philip Bobo and C.J. Davis, WSU's leading receivers in the game. Bobo snagged 93 yards on the day, but his 44-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter, which started the scoring onslaught, is what will be remembered for years to come.
"Bobo caught it at the back of the end zone and appropriately slid into a thick snow bank, accompanied by the diving Davis," Missildine recounted.
Despite playing through the frigid conditions, the Cougars gained 476 yards of total offense with the use of vertical passing and running.
"The snow was supposed to hamper the Cougs' spread offense. It seemed to enhance it," Missildine adds.
Current WSU offensive line coach George Yarno recalls how the 1992 Apple Cup was particularly memorable and important by virtue of the fact that the Cougars advanced to a bowl game and the snow made the contest unforgettable.
"It was one of those games where we played really well and things went our way," Yarno said. "Everything fell together for us that day, and the snow was exciting."
In a post-game article, Price stated, "We're a pretty good snow team. I thought it would be a negating factor for our defense because they're so fast."
This proved to be the case as the Cougar defense held Husky running back Napoleon Kaufman to only 45 yards and held the entire UW squad to 267 yards total offense.